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Home Bound Growing up with a Disability in America by Cass Irvin

Home Bound Growing up with a Disability in America


Home Bound Growing up with a Disability in America by Cass Irvin

'When I was growing up, I learned that if you were a girl you went to school and college, then you married, became a wife and had a family...When I became disabled, my journey, I was pretty sure, was not going to take me in those directions. What was I supposed to be? What kind of life was I supposed to have?' Once polio had made her a quadriplegic, Cass Irvin didn't know where she fit in or what would become of her. Neither did her parents, teachers, counselors, or rehabilitation therapists. And so began her search for a place to call home. In this memoir, Cass Irvin tells of the remarkable journey that transformed her from a young girl too timid to ask for help to a community activist and writer who speaks forcefully about the needs of people with disabilities. As a young girl she was taken to Warm Springs, Georgia, where she learned about living as a disabled person and found a hero in Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the famously if silently disabled president. Bright and inquisitive, Cass soon began to question the prevailing assumptions of a society that had no place for her and to question her own meekness. In time, her keen sense of injustice gave her the courage to fight for a college education. That personal victory emboldened her to find the means to live independently, but it also persuaded her that political work is the key to enabling all people with disabilities to live fulfilling lives. This book, then, is testimony to the importance of community building and organizing as well as the story of one woman's struggle for independence. Cass Irvin lives in Louisville, Kentucky. She is Executive Director of Access to the Arts, Inc. and is a frequent contributor to The Ragged Edge .


a fascinating description of growing up with a disability. Review of Disability Studies: An International Journal Irvin's book is destined to become a classic in disability studies, disability history, and disability policy. Written with eloquence and humor, it provides convincing examples of the key concepts of the disability rights movement. While this book reads like an autobiography or a novel, it is a book to be revisited many times. The Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare Home Bound is a very important book. It's greatest strength is the political message that it delivers about disability. Breaking out of the familiar genres of disability books such as history, autobiography, inspirational, or catastrophe narratives, Irvin's book sets out a rhetoric of protest and consciousness-raising that mobilizes elements from more conventional disability books to create a fresh discourse of disability from inside the movement. She clearly and convincingly lays out the arguments for seeing disability as a sociopolitical issue, for recognizing its connections to the civil rights and women's movements, for disability pride, and for building community and a politicized consciousness. No other book that I know of attempts what this ambitious volume does. --Rosemarie Garland-Thomson, author of Extraordinary Bodies: Figuring Physical Disability in American Literature and Culture Home Bound delivers a slice of history that is relatively well known to the public-at-large--Roosevelt, Warm Springs, JFK--as well as a slice that is relatively unknown--the disability rights movement. There is a remarkable ring of 'truth
and authenticity. There is also a freshness and honesty

. [Irvin] writes with a certain rawness and enthusiasm. I loved the energy of this book and the people I visited and revisited as I read. Home Bound speaks across 'disability lines.
It is powerful, well

-written, and hard to put down. --Dr. Fred Hafferty, Department of Behavioral Sciences, University of Minnesota

The author's courage to overcome obstacles makes this book an inspiration for readers living with any kind of disability, and non-disabled adults will gain increased understanding from her remarkable story. --ForeWord

Home Bound is like no other disability book I've ever read...this book is candid...interesting with the little details that make up the cornerstones of disability culturalization. --Albuquerque Tribune

...more than a life story, [it] is also a meditation on the experience of disability in America...It is not the remarkable life of the author that sets this book apart, it is the unembellished way that she writes about it. --Disabilities Studies Quarterly

A hard life lived well. This is what makes it an important book. --RALPH: The Review of Arts, Literature, Philosophy, and the Humanities

About the Author

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Book Info

Publication date

9th December 2003


Cass Irvin

More books by Cass Irvin
Author 'Like for Like'


Temple University Press,U.S.


232 pages


Coping with disability
Disability: social aspects
Coping with illness & specific conditions
Biography: general



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