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Staff Picks Category: Disability

How Lucky by Will Leitch []



On the surface, this novel is a mystery story about the disappearance of a young college student. Mystery novels are obviously numerous, but it is the narrator (Daniel) that sets this book apart and above other typical mystery stories. Confined to a wheelchair and virtually non-verbal, the novel is told through Daniel’s curious, sharp, and often hilarious point of view. He watches the world go by from his front porch and, after witnessing the abduction already mentioned, works with a loveable and quirky cast of characters to solve the crime. While entertaining from start to finish, this book also gives a unique look into the world of those that suffer from degenerative diseases, and gives a voice to those that are often overlooked or underestimated.

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Lives Worth Living []



When I went to the Northampton Senior Center for a special Northampton Commission on Disability screening of Lives Worth Living I didn’t know anything about the film or its subject the disability rights movements. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the film was not just informative, but a well-crafted and incredibly moving introduction to the subject that left me eager to learn more.

At just 54 minutes in length, Lives Worth Living is too short to be more than an introduction to the story of disability rights (which it traces from the polio epidemics of the early twentieth century and the treatment of disabled veterans up to the passage of the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990), but it makes excellent use of the time it has. We briefly learn about the discrimination and negative attitudes faced by the people with disabilities who were too often assumed to be without potential or worth. We briefly learn about the shocking maltreatment of people with mental disorders and about the Willowbrook State School and the abuses that occurred there and at similar institutions throughout the country. We learn about the Architectural Barriers Act of 1968, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and other early legislation, but more importantly we learn about the advocates who pushed to expand protections for the disabled, unifying diverse groups (associations for the blind, the physically handicapped, mental patients and others), and how disability rights became recognized as civil rights. And we learn about the protesters—the individuals who occupied buildings, locked themselves to bus shelters, and even crawled and pulled their way up the capitol steps to make their message heard.

Lives Worth Moving is a powerful film, well worth watching and relevant to us all. I cannot recommend it enough.

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