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Exile and Pride: Disability, Queerness, and Liberation

4.28  ·  Rating Details ·  1,152 Ratings  ·  88 Reviews

The Mountain
1. Place
Clearcut: Explaining the Distance
Losing Home
Clearcut: Brutes and Bumper Stickers
Clearcut: End of the Line
Clearcut: Casino
2. Bodies
Freaks and Queers
Reading Across the Grain
Stones in My Heart, Stones in My Pockets

An Excerpt from Exile and Pride By Eli Clare

Draft Version: Please do not quote


I: A Metaphor

The mountain as metaphor
Paperback, 147 pages
Published September 1st 1999 by South End Press
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Jun 10, 2009 Tinea rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Tinea by: many people over time, i forget who
Exile and Pride reads like two books in one. The first, a personal unraveling of experiences growing up poor and genderqueer with cerebral palsy in a rural white logging town in Oregon, and the second, a deeper and more theoretical analysis of ableist oppression, cultural constructions of disability, and disability activism for self-determination, also grounded in thoughtful examination of Clare's personal experience.

Clare writes ambivalently about his ties to rural land and the values espoused
Apr 06, 2007 Colin rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Exile and Pride changed my life and transformed my political outlook at age 23. It provided a critical analysis of ableism that helped me finally understand how my experiences as a queer with cerebral palsy fit into a radical social justice framework. His writing on language, the body, history, class, and the environment is engaging, hopeful and personal. I felt his race analysis was problematic overall, though the chapter on the freakshow is excellent. A must-read for everyone concerned with ...more
Dec 16, 2007 Nomy rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people with disabilities, survivors, activists, queers
melodie got me this book for chanukah. i've been hearing about it for years and finally got to read it. eli is a deep thinker and takes readers along with his train of thought (from what i know, eli uses masc. pronouns now - at the time of the writing he was butch-dyke identified). the theme of exile has to do with the home he loved and left for lots of reasons - queerness, abuse, general lack of options. the descriptions of his lost rural northwest logging town are full of emotion but not senti ...more
Sarah Sawyers-Lovett
Really smart and well-written. Academic and referential in ways that could have been more accessible, but overall one of the best essay collections I've ever read.
Naphtali Gaither
Feb 13, 2013 Naphtali Gaither rated it it was amazing
This book saved my life.
Sep 06, 2016 Laura rated it it was ok
Probably ground-breaking when it was first published, Exile and Pride is nonetheless on the underwhelming side of average. It’s part essay and part poetry. It discusses theoretical concepts related to many interrelated forms of oppression, and also depicts the personal lived experiences of author. However, Exile and Pride is trying to be too many different things at once and it does not fully succeed at any.

Firstly, the book's academic writing aspirations. Although the author references many co
Apr 12, 2010 E rated it liked it
I expected to have strong feelings about this book. For some time I'd avoided reading it because I find some of Clare's subsequent work rather off-putting; I think he drastically oversimplifies the relationship between pride and shame, and I cringe at the suggestion that people who can 'pass' as 'normative' have an ethical responsibility to forfeit their privacy for a variety of liberation that they may not desire. But as I was struggling to come to terms with my own chronic pain this winter I f ...more
Jan 15, 2012 Katie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone who is willing to take it with an open mind
Read this for class. I found some things (though they were minor, petty things in all honesty) hard to latch onto on a personal level but what this book says is so important. Clare is fearless and funny, strong and stubborn in the way that a good example of critical thought on society should be. I enjoyed the book and the discussions had on it very much. One of the most vital ideas contained within this book is the idea that nobody is a perfect all-righteous activist. Things in life will contrad ...more
Sep 26, 2011 Allison rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Clare uses language to articulate the complexity that is being working class, disabled and queer among other identities, such as survivor. I did not expect such a long history of logging or freak shows, but she needed that to connect us with her entire lived experience.

I appreciated the questions weaves throughout the prose, but I also appreciated how Clare herself did not back down from answering them.

It was also nice to see a writer from Ann Arbor.
I read this at the wrong time. The focus on having empathy for the white working class was unexpected and something that I'm having difficulty with right now.
Ariel Chesed Kestenbaum
Just read it, goddammit. Don't make me write a review, especially one that you'd be reading when you can read the book!
Abbie JAS
Sep 07, 2012 Abbie JAS rated it it was amazing
Exile & Pride purports two separate accounts in a single book. Within the first half of the text, Eli Clare deconstructs his experiences growing up gender-queer with cerebral palsy in a rural, predominantly white, logging city in Oregon. The second half of the text is a theoretical analysis of ableist oppression and cultural constructions of disability.
Clare describes his ties with the rural community he grew up in and the values espoused within that community. He describes the solace and
Oct 06, 2016 Masha rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfic, audio, 2016, lgbt
I created the following Book Club Discussion Questions for this book:

1. In her foreword, Suzanne Pharr writes, “The books that move us most are the ones that help us make sense of our experience… enabling us to form a fresh vision of ourselves and our lives” (vii). What fresh vision of yourself did you gain from this book?
2. How does society’s praise of “supercrips” affect disabled people?
3. Was Eli right to give up climbing Mount Adams? In looking at the mountain as a metaphor, what do we gain
PhebeAnn Wolframe
Feb 18, 2017 PhebeAnn Wolframe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
So good. Exactly what I needed to read right now. Artfully blends anti-racist, queer, crip, feminist, environmentalist and mixed class/working class/poor politics with personal narrative. Works on your head and your heart. I <3 Eli Clare so much!
Dec 27, 2007 lia rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people who avoid books on gender because they bash you over the head.
When I was in college, I took a class about place, and about the complexities of 'home' and 'work' and the economy of place and all sorts of other things. This was in the pacific northwest, and in my class, you guessed it, were a lot of hippies. It was exciting for many of us to look at how being against something like clearcutting shouldn't make you unable to think about what it means for the economy, for the people who cut the trees, mill the trees and pulp the trees. How caring about spotted ...more
Jan 05, 2016 Lauren rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir, non-fiction
Exile and Pride begins with The Mountain, which is wonderfully written. Unfortunately, I found that the rest of the book falls short in comparison. Where The Mountain was able to convey many interconnected idea through its images in a way that tied them together well, the rest of Exile and Pride just heaps a lot of ideas on you in a way that was slightly overwhelming. It wasn't as bad in the first section of the book, but I found it got worse in the second and third parts. The writing works best ...more
I am very grateful for this text for a variety of reasons. I read it in 2016, and it is still relevant despite being written in 1999. It is poetically well written. It tackles issues and perspectives all too often left out of the focus and politics of young middle class white suburb and city dwelling folks.

This book also helped me see how much internalized ableism I deal with. I constantly apologize for my existence and struggle with my identities. It does focus a lot on visible disabilities, b
Jan 06, 2013 Shaya rated it it was amazing
One of the best books about intersectionality I've ever read and one of my favorite books of the summer. Eli Clare does a masterful job of weaving together theory and stories to explain how questions of identity and environmental destruction are incredibly complicated. He does an excellent job of explaining the misconceptions that activists and liberal people interested in social justice have of people from the community he grew up in. He writes about how working class clear cutters are often po ...more
Jan 03, 2017 Chris rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
Yet another book from college that I finally got around to reading. Like most books of that category ("old college assignments"), it was a great deal more interesting than I expected.

Normally, I shy away from books about environmentalism, but the first half of this book was the most thoughtful and useful bit of political discussion I think I've ever read. It centered on the tension between preservationist-environmentalism on the one hand and the interests of those who work for the commercial in
CJ Platenkamp
Apr 17, 2016 CJ Platenkamp rated it it was amazing
I greatly enjoyed this book. I had to, however, put it down for days or weeks at a time. Some of the subject matter was challenging for me because of how it relates to my own self-narrative or the story of how I've grown into myself thus far. I started with the old edition, then bought a copy of the new edition for myself. I would recommend the new edition because Clare offers some reflection and notes on the essays that are decades old. The afterward by Dean Spade is helpful as well for thinkin ...more
Feb 27, 2016 Jen rated it really liked it
This book has a lot in it that made me think of my own life, about being queer and genderqueer, being disabled, being rural and working class. Not everything is the same, of course, but some things I read and felt known in a way that most books can't do for me. For example, I push my physical limits pretty often, and the question of whether I'm doing it just to be supercrip is a useful and important one.

I appreciated the historical aspect of this book in a couple ways. The book covers the histor
Lui Ramirez
Mar 03, 2014 Lui Ramirez rated it it was amazing
THIS BOOK, I SWEAR. I recommend it to anyone who likes reading, honestly. I know it is a broad, vague thing to say, but seriously: I want everyone to read this book.
If you are interested in beautiful literature and storytelling, if you are interested in queer literature, if you are interested in disability literature. If you are interested in expanding your worldview and have the words that were all scrambled in your head put neatly and clearly on a page while also having some words you didn't k
Leandra Vane
I think personally I rate this book 3.5 stars but gave it the 4 stars because the writing is at times very striking and he makes his points in a very clear manner which I appreciated. The overall form of the piece was hard to place as he tackles topics ranging from disability to clear cutting, dyke identity to sexual abuse. I found myself going back and forth, being gripped to the core as he details an experience that could have been lifted from my own memory as a person with a disability to bei ...more
Dec 01, 2011 Ricky rated it it was amazing
This book is like a meandering walk in the woods. It's a little long winded in some points and hard or uncomfortable or sweaty at some points. It even overdoes the metaphor like I'm doing right now. But the author has a *powerful* voice and brings complex, honest questions and thoughts and research about disability, queerness, gender, history, environmentalism, activism, etc. a fantastic book to follow after reading Dean Spade. This book, its complexities and realities, is part of the history ou ...more
Jun 13, 2008 McLean rated it it was amazing
A thought-provoking meditation on equality, liberalism, and social justice. Eli Clare examines the complicated nuances of many issues that are often treated in very black-and-white terms, discussing the moral complexities of reconciling environmental responsibility with our responsibility to rural communities whose economies are based on fishing or logging, analysing the changing attitudes towards disability in our society, and trying to tease out the relations and differences in urban / rural d ...more
This book was amazing and beautiful, thought provoking and devastating, all at once. Eli Clare’s essays are written in a way that makes you feel you are almost intruding on something so personal it wasn’t meant for observers. So many times, I found myself nodding in agreement with his assessment. Even in essays centering on things like logging and deforestation. His writing makes a very strong case that gender can not be examined alone, but must be seen in concert with race, class, origin, abili ...more
Jan 10, 2012 Lance rated it it was amazing
This book was like coming home.

At a certain point, the word "intersectionality" stops resonating, and starts sounding like academic queer theorists trying to sound smart.

Reading a book that says so much in so few words, doesn't coin any new terms, avoids jargon, and tells a story in plain words was the best present I could've given myself. This book is about so many things -- ask me what the theme was, and I couldn't say. Still, it never feels aimless.

As an urban, Mulatto, (temporarily) able-
Spicy T AKA Mr. Tea
What a wonderfully written and engaging work. I was totally engaged by the way that Eli was able to tease out the nuances and conflicts that have been apart of his life. He never quite resolves things--do we ever?--but his capacity to weave together many different and conflicting stories of his life is amazing. It's a pleasure to read authors who have the ability to make connections across boundaries--authors who actively seek to break down the separations in life and show--with brilliance--the ...more
Danni Green
Dec 30, 2016 Danni Green rated it it was amazing
A powerful, moving, deeply haunting collection of personal essays addressing environmental and class issues as well as disability and queerness. I really appreciated reading this; it gave me a lot to think about and stuck with me in some very memorable ways. I would have appreciated some content warnings (which I'll note below) so I could have prepared myself for some of the violence I was going to read about, and maybe would not have read this one on public transit if I'd been ready for that.

"The body as home, but only if understood that the stolen body can be reclaimed. The bodies irrevocably taken from us: we can memorialize them in quilts, granite walls, candlelight vigils; remember and mourn them; use their deaths to strengthen our will. And as for the lies and false images, we need to name them, transform them, create something entirely new in their place, something that comes close and finally true to the bone, entering our bodies as liberation, joy, fury, hope, a will to refi ...more
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White, disabled, and genderqueer, Eli Clare lives in the Green Mountains of Vermont where he writes and claims a penchant for rabble-rousing. He has written a book of essays Exile and Pride: Disability, Queerness, and Liberation and a collection of poetry The Marrow's Telling: Words in Motion and has been published in many periodicals and anthologies. His newest work, Brilliant Imperfection: Grapp ...more
More about Eli Clare...

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“Laugh and cry and tell stories. Sad stories about bodies stolen, bodies no longer here. Enraging stories about the false images, devastating lies, untold violence. Bold, brash stories about reclaiming our bodies and changing the world.” 20 likes
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