Care, respect, fighting for our proper representation and rights: that’s what’s necessary.– Keah Brown
Summary and Thoughts
In The Pretty One, Brown gives a contemporary and relatable voice to the disabled—so often portrayed as mute, weak, or isolated. With clear, fresh, and light-hearted prose, these essays explore everything from her relationship with her able-bodied identical twin (called “the pretty one” by friends) to navigating romance; her deep affinity for all things pop culture—and her disappointment with the media’s distorted view of disability; and her declaration of self-love with the viral hashtag #DisabledAndCute.
By “smashing stigmas, empowering her community, and celebrating herself” (Teen Vogue), Brown and The Pretty Oneaims to expand the conversation about disability and inspire self-love for people of all backgrounds.
Reading Brown’s work was essentially delightful — powerful, insightful, and relatable yes, however, the piece was clearly written with the intention of joy, which is something I can deeply appreciate in a memoir. Though some of Brown’s writing felt circuitous and indicative of a debut author, the content of her pieces still shone through it all. Her analysis on how religion can be used to humiliate and ostracize those with disabilities was especially noteworthy, as was her personal journey through unlearning internalized ableism and how this affected her mental health growing up. Though some may find her overemphasis on cheesecake a bit grating after the first few mentions, I’d still recommend this book for anyone curious on learning about Brown’s nuanced perspective on disability, race, and gender. Her story is an important one and I’m excited to see what she writes next!
For Those Who Enjoyed
- This Will Be My Undoing by Morgan Jerkins
- Hunger by Roxane Gay
- Invisible: How Young Women with Serious Health Issues Navigate Work, Relationships, and the Pressure to Seem Just Fine by Michele Lent Hirsch
4/5 (3.5 for writing, 5 for content)