Iamshadow's Reviews > Little People: Learning to See the World Through My Daughter's Eyes

Little People by Dan    Kennedy
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U_50x66
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Aug 15, 08

bookshelves: autobiography, nonfiction, history, dwarfism

I'd recommend this book to anyone who's interested to know what it's like living with a difference.

Becky Kennedy was diagnosed shortly after her birth with achondroplasia; the most common form of dwarfism. This book, written by her father, is part memoir, part history lesson, part exploration of what it means to be a dwarf, and raise a happy and healthy child with a difference in a modern world.

Now, I'm not achondroplastic, nor do I have any other form of the nearly two hundred identified kinds of dwarfism, but I saw a lot of myself in this book. Unlike Becky, people don't recognise I'm different until they have a conversation with me, and it clicks that I'm 'a bit weird'. Most autistics don't 'pass' as well as me. It's not conscious on my part, I just don't have tell-tale 'stims' or unusual gait or a monotone voice, or any of any number of behaviours or traits that scream 'autistic'. My brother is much more obviously autistic than I am. Neither of us are as visibly different as any of the people Dan Kennedy talks to and about in this book, but there is that sense of kinship all the same. Both Becky and I are living in a world that on one hand is making an effort to embrace diversity, and on the other, is trying to assimilate and stamp out forms of difference entirely, regardless of whether a 'cure' is necessary, or even wanted.

Now, there is something extra special about this book. Rodale printed it in a lovely hardback back in 2003 (a copy of which I own), and it very quickly went out of print, despite it being one of the few non-medical books on dwarfism on the market. In the hopes of sparking interest from publishers to get it produced in paperback, Dan Kennedy has the book, in its entirety, up on his website with updated notes here and there, such as in the introduction, but otherwise intact. It is laid out well and easy to read, and certainly well worth the time. He also has a link to a Flickr account, where you can see the photographs from the book (plus a few extras), all in full colour. (The photographs in the book were black and white.)

So, if anything I've said about this book interests you, if you want to read about a whole assortment of people living their lives, in all different professions, with a variety of abilities, disabilities and personalities, who happen to be under four and a half feet tall but who are no less human than you or I, go to Little People on Dan Kennedy's site (http://home.comcast.net/~dkennedy56/l...) and click 'online edition' on the right-hand side of the page.
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