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Friday, January 18, 2013

The Lives of Dwarfs

I read this book by Betty M. Adelson over the summer, starting it soon after we got Belalu's diagnosis. While J was online researching all the medical info he could find, the first thing I did was look for blogs, and the second was place an order on Amazon. This is her first book about people with dwarfism, and she recently came out with another one that is on my "to read" list.

As suggested by its secondary title, Their Journey from Public Curiosity toward Social Liberation, the book looks at the status of dwarfs in society from Ancient Egypt through the end of the 20th century. Its subjects include history, anthropology, medicine, art, literature, and theater and film. 

Adelson is a psychologist whose interest in the subject is personal: she has a daughter with achondroplasia. When I started the book, I found some of the writing awkward, to the point of being distracting, but I eventually got used to her style. She spent many years doing research, and it shows. This is the only book of its kind available; one that aims to encompass so many different aspects of dwarfism throughout history. Given my field of study, I found the history, art, and literature chapters the most interesting. I like that there are lots of potential role models mentioned for Belalu. The way the book is written, you don't have to read it all the way through in order, though I did. You could, rather, skip to which sections interest you most, as each one pretty much stands alone.

As I read this book, I found myself wanting to know more about the people, books, or movies mentioned. I think it is a great resource to have in our family library.


1 comment:

  1. I like the way she writes, I really enjoyed the few articles I read about her and this book is on my list to read in the near future, like in 2 years. I tried explaining to the kids the other day why I didn't like books about evil dwarfs, didn't go down very well. I wish you were a bit closer and we could chat. Hope we get to meet in the summer.

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