My Withered Legs and Other Essays
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My Withered Legs and Other Essays

Title Details

Pages: 152

Trim size: 5.500in x 8.500in



Pub Date: 03/01/2024

ISBN: 9-780-8203-6590-9

List Price: $23.95


Pub Date: 03/01/2024

ISBN: 9-780-8203-6592-3

List Price: $23.95


Pub Date: 03/01/2024

ISBN: 9-780-8203-6591-6

List Price: $23.95

My Withered Legs and Other Essays

Essays that explore disability, queerness, aging, and the creative spirit

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  • Description
  • Reviews

My Withered Legs and Other Essays is a collection of personal essays by Sandra Gail Lambert that reflects upon her experience becoming a writer alongside discussions of disability, queerness, and aging. A seventy-year history of disability is threaded throughout these essays and intertwined with writing that celebrates lesbian love, explores the slapstick moments of life, and shares the obstacles and triumphs of becoming a writer later in life.

The essays chronicle times of interruption and then adaptation as the disability skill of always just figuring it out becomes tested with age and with illness. Throughout the book, Lambert engages with topics of ageism and ableism through storytelling rich with wit and contemplation.

From childhood Lambert believed as a disabled person she was “ice floe material” rife for abandonment, and during the pandemic she ticks off the additional comorbidities—age, fatness, cancer, a heart attack—that groups her with the expendable. In the essay "Gimp Humor," she is threatened with a ticket for not coming to a full stop while strolling along in her wheelchair. Underpinning the humor is an analysis of whiteness and the wariness that can be lodged, or not, in a body.

Other essays reimagine the meaning of "Old Lady Dabbler," recount kayaking among a hundred alligators, and tell the romantic, laden-with-power-dynamics tale of two lesbians in their sixties who fall in love. Another essay explores the family story, truth embellished with fiction, of Lambert’s mother finding an unexploded bomb nestled in her parents' bed. This tale of the London Blitz delves into the increasingly common experience of "emergence" after a disaster and the necessity of becoming, especially for marginalized communities, our own first responders.

This is a must-have collection by Sandra Gail Lambert, one that draws together disability, community activism and political analysis, friendship and queer community, aging, love, and the minefields of family—all with deadpan humor and the occasional creek filled with alligators. More than merely timely, these essays offer the gift of stability, radical perspective, and a reminder of activist lineages and how we survive: together.

—Sonya Huber, author of Pain Woman Takes Your Keys and Other Essays from a Nervous System

Lambert has the rare ability to make you feel invited into her life despite the fact that she is so thoroughly pissed off. At the heart of these essays you’ll find camaraderie, humor, raw honesty, and cathartic anger toward an ableist infrastructure, and an ageist one. While this anger gives the collection a political heart, and an analytical dimension, it is Sandra’s life, loves, adventures, and reflections that give the collection its grace and style. The emotional range of the book is impressive—the narrator cares for her aging mother, falls in love with her wife, gets sick (in an almost Tig Notaro-esque cascade of calamities), becomes a successful writer, reflects on childhood disability, moves through the outdoors, and laughs uproariously with her friends. There were too many moments to count when I felt just utterly charmed by the narrator’s heart, by her sense of humor.

—Aisha Sabatini Sloan, author of the Lambda Literary Award-winning Borealis

Sandra Gail Lambert's My Withered Legs and Other Essays is a wonderful collection of gripping, moving, occasionally lusty, always empowering observations that ring with truth. Lambert's storytelling style is sharp, vivid, and propulsive. This is the sort of book you won’t soon forget.

—Ben Mattlin, author of Disability Pride: Dispatches from a Post-ADA World

This collection of essays by a deft writer evoke the challenges and comical moments of turning to writing later in life, while also dwelling on many other things: mother-daughter relationships, awkward dinner dates, queer identity, climate activism, rejection letters, patronizing ableists, a cancer diagnosis and so much more. Spend time with Lambert, whose wit and buoyant charm might just shift your perspective.

—Brinda S. Narayan

About the Author/Editor

SANDRA GAIL LAMBERT is the author of the memoir A Certain Loneliness, which was nominated for the Krause Essay Prize and the Lambda Literary Award, and a novel, The River’s Memory. Lambert’s writing has been widely anthologized, and her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Sun Magazine, The Paris Review, Orion, LitHub, and The Southern Review. She was a 2018 NEA Creative Writing Fellow.