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In Sickness and in Health: Love, Disability, and a Quest to Understand the Perils and Pleasures of Interabled Romance
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In Sickness and in Health: Love, Disability, and a Quest to Understand the Perils and Pleasures of Interabled Romance

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  81 ratings  ·  20 reviews
A frank, humorous exploration of interabled dating, love, and marriage

Ben Mattlin's wife, ML, recalls falling in love with his confidence and sheer determination. On one of their earliest dates, he persuaded her to ride on his lap in his wheelchair on their way home from an Elvis Costello concert. Thirty years later, they still travel like this from time to time, undaunted
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published January 30th 2018 by Beacon Press
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I was really excited to read this book. It's relatively rare to find writing about disability from the perspective of people with disabilities, and this book covers a topic I've never read an entire book about: relationships between people with disabilities and their non-disabled partners.

However, this book turned out to be an enigma. Despite the fact that he is a professional journalist, Ben Mattlin is...not a good interviewer. At least, not in this context. There is simply too much of him in t
Feb 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best relationship books I've ever read--for anyone, interabled or not. While the book describes numerous couples in which a disability was either there from the beginning or occurred during the relationship, the key to the survival of the relationship seems to be in the commitment of the parties. (It goes without saying, but things change drastically over time: you don't have one marriage so much as you have multiple marriages to the same person, all of which are a bit differe ...more
Jestina Ricci
Dec 20, 2018 rated it liked it
Mattlin shares the stories of interabled couples that he meets through interviews. Most of the stories have a common theme: that interabled relationships tend to be closer and more dynamic than relationships between able bodied couples. Throughout some of the interviews, he polices the language of how disabled people view their own disabilities and makes some incredibly insensitive statements about young people with disabilities, stating that young people aren’t concerned nowadays with disabilit ...more
Feb 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
This is a topic that comes up frequently enough where I work that I was happy to see a book discussing it. I've worked with people with all the conditions described, but I highly appreciate the way the author makes the medical information understandable and relatable. I learned more about the difference in experience between someone with a congenital disability (e.g. SMA) vs can acquired disability (e.g. SCI), a topic I've only explored a little. I'd be interested to hear a TBI perspective.

May 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Author Mattlin, who has spinal muscular atrophy, takes the reader through the stories of interabled romance: the joys, the trials, the highs and the lows of couples where one is able-bodied and the other is disabled. From raising a family to the perceptions of outsiders to the financial costs to the decisions they make, Mattlin strives to give the reader the stories of these couples that is beyond the "inspiration porn" or other awful tropes the media sometimes uses.

Divided into 3 parts the book
Nov 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Reading an advance copy of this book was a privilege.
Remember when people only associated with others of their own race, attending school and socializing only with their own “kind”? Mixed relationships were rare.
Well, until the law and society mandated that disabled people be permitted access to the outside world, including obtaining an appropriate public education with non-disabled students, they were hidden away, rarely had peers who weren't similarly disabled or had romantic relationships wit
Leslie Jonsson
Nov 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Compilation of stories about able bodied people who love disabled people. Love comes in all forms and ways.
Oct 23, 2019 rated it it was ok
In his new book Ben Mattlin addresses inter-abled relationships in all their complexity and normalcy, fighting the idea that interabled couples are either tragic or noble. The book consists of fourteen interviews with inter-abled couples, including himself and his wife Mary Lois, which should create quite an objective picture of the "perils and pleasures" of interabled relationships. The text is however crowded with Mattlin’s presence, him thinking, realizing, mentioning, pointing out, suggestin ...more
Nov 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: giveaways-won
I received a copy from Beacon Press in a giveaway. Time to leave my honest review!

Wow, I just put the book down. I loved it! I myself am in a hearing-deaf relationship (I'm the hearing half), which is what drew me to this book about inter-abled romance.

To be honest, I did not know much about SMA before picking up this book, and I have to say, the author does a marvelous job describing it in scientific detail as well as his experience. Each chapter consisted of stories/interview of disabled peop
CoffeeTimeRomance andMore
I love to expand my horizons by reading books from different genres. I must say this is the first book I went into reading for understanding and instead found a new point of interview through the lives of fascinating people. Mr. Mattlin tackles a subject some would find difficult but asks the questions which provide the biggest impact on the readers. I love how the romance of interabled couples is discussed and the emphasis on how both parties in the relationship choose to stay and no one consid ...more
Nov 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I received an advance reading copy of this book from Beacon Press via a Goodreads giveaway. Thank you for the opportunity to read and review.
Honest, conversational accounts regarding the lives and relationships of interabled couples: trials endured, joys celebrated and everything in-between. This book provides intimate insight, introducing readers to new perspectives and situations that they may not otherwise have the opportunity to encounter and thus, gain a knowledge and understanding of, in
Jun 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
I picked this up mostly based on knowing some interabled (as the author calls them) couples. The author has used a wheelchair most of his life, and his wife does not. He compares their experiences to those of other interabled couples, including topics like romance, kids, travel, personal care, finances, and aging. Some couples have always had one partner with a disability, and for some the disability occurred during their relationship. Although each couple faces their own unique challenges, the ...more
Justine Myers
Jan 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Ben Mattlin is a dynamic and witty narrator throughout the book. I appreciated the openness of the various people telling their stories, and the weaving of tales of love with the necessities of care for those with disabilities and how people’s everyday lives/health are managed.
I easily and quickly read through the first 2/3 of the book, but by that point it became a bit redundant so getting to the end took more effort. Still, it was a worthwhile read and a good start to learning about interabled
Jane Night
Oct 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book is a series of interviews with couples where one member has a disability. They talked about things such as how the disability effects the relationship as well as how the able-bodied person does or doesn't take on caregiver roles.
I thought this was interesting but would have enjoyed seeing a wider variety of disabilities. The majority of the couples featured had a member in a wheelchair.
Apr 08, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: to-read-someday
Will continue reading the rest of this novel -starting from Part 3 of the 3 part divided novel- on a later date.
This was a quick, interesting need. As much as I work with people who have disabilities, there's much I'm not aware of and prejedices I haven't unpacked.
Jul 21, 2018 rated it liked it
I didn't love the first-person perspective and speculation on others' relationships. I did enjoy the look at how couples communicate and move through the world.
Phyllis Searles
Apr 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
I’d recommend it.
Feb 25, 2018 rated it liked it
This book was exactly what I was looking for. Again, Goodreads has provided the book that I wanted, and enjoyed. It was relevant to my needs.
Laxman Keshava
Oct 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
The tone of the book is pretty much a conversation between the reader and the author. That's all I can say about it.

On a personal note, the stories of real life interabled couples are eye opening, bittersweet and end with hard hitting lessons.
Ben Fultz
rated it it was amazing
Aug 03, 2019
rated it it was amazing
Jan 05, 2018
Charlotte Russell
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Mar 29, 2018
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Mar 20, 2019
Stephanie Bialek
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Jul 22, 2018
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Dec 27, 2019
rated it it was ok
Jun 03, 2018
Diana Bennett
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Mar 26, 2019
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