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The Pretty One: On Life, Pop Culture, Disability, and Other Reasons to Fall in Love With Me

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3.73  ·  Rating details ·  858 ratings  ·  180 reviews
From the disability rights advocate and creator of the #DisabledAndCute viral campaign, a thoughtful, inspiring, and charming collection of essays exploring what it means to be black and disabled in a mostly able-bodied white America.

Keah Brown loves herself, but that hadn’t always been the case. Born with cerebral palsy, her greatest desire used to be normalcy and refuge
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Paperback, 256 pages
Published August 6th 2019 by Atria Books
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Average rating 3.73  · 
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 ·  858 ratings  ·  180 reviews


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Roxane
May 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
What does it mean to live at the intersections of blackness, womanhood, and disability? In her admirable debut, The Pretty One, Keah Brown answers this question with heart, charm, and humor. Across twelve finely crafted essays, Brown explores the matter of representation in popular culture, the vulnerability of facing self-loathing and learning to love herself, the challenge of repairing fractured relationships with family, the yearning for romantic love. Through her words we see that Brown is n ...more
Erica
Lemme just...
Ok.
This is going to be a life-changing book for some people. There are those who need to hear what Keah Brown has to say. I imagine those people are or have recently been young, unsure of themselves, and they don't like their bodies and/or skins. They may also be hopeless romantics.
I want the audience that needs this book to find this book and I hope it is their everything.

I knew of Keah Brown from her #disabledandcute. She is not wrong in that hashtag; this lady is totes adorbs an
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Andria
I think I understand what happened here... This is one of several books I've read recently where the blurb mentions that the author started a popular social media hashtag and the subtext is that perhaps that's the origin of the book deal... I mean I get it. As a publisher, even if you think a small percentage of a person's followers might buy their book, you're still looking at a certain number of guaranteed sales. It's a safe bet. However, the books that come out of these types of deals tend to ...more
Tyler J Gray
This book is a memoir/essays by a black disabled woman with so much honesty, truth and power in the pages! Honestly I wish I knew how to describe it, but all I can say is the affect it had on me, an afab (nonbinary) disabled person. I don't know what it's like to be black, i'm white. I learned a lot from this book, from where I didn't relate personally but also from where I did, with being disabled (though with different medical issues) as well as the talk about depression and suicidal ideation. ...more
Kelly
A really powerful and moving essay collection about being disabled, about being black and disabled and being invisible in and to the world around you, and about learning to fall in love with yourself. Keah's voice is really great and she's wildly vulnerable. She also invites you, as reader, to be vulnerable with her.

Finding essay collections about disability -- and writing about it more broadly -- from the voice of a person of color is so rare. This book is a necessary one, as much as it's a tr
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Bookaholic
Aug 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019, dnf
This is a tough book to rate.

On one hand, this is such an important topic that it should be explored by everyone. If I could, I’d give this book to entire communities of people for free. I’d translate it in every language. I’d make it a mandatory reading in schools.

The author is a beautiful person not only on the inside but also on the outside. We definitely need more role models like her in this inhospitable and judgmental world.

There are some chapters in this book that will stay with me for
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jo
In disability and race activism there is a very important place for rage. Keah Brown shows us that there is also a place for youth and playfulness. Brown is as clear-eyed about the nuances of many-fronted discrimination as any disability/race/gender intersectional activist. She is also aware of the injuries her life has inflicted on herself and her relationships. But she makes the political choice to tackle this pain and ugliness with cuteness. With her smile, her youth, her #disabledandcute has ...more
Kelly Hager
Jul 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I initially accepted the pitch for this because I am obsessed with all things pop culture and because this is a voice that I don't really hear that often. (I read books about and by Black authors, but I don't know off the top of my head how many books by disabled authors I've read. Which means I don't read enough of them. I would like recommendations.)

I'm so glad I did. Keah Brown and I have a lot of pop culture in common and I got almost all of her references. I had that sort of giddy "ME TOO!"
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Suzanna
Apr 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a great read! She writes honestly - and hilariously - about being a black woman with cerebral palsy. It was refreshing to have a different point of view, but also relatable in the things she shared that she has struggled with. She is a delightful writer, I hope she writes more!
Jennifer
Sep 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Keah Brown changed my life. Well, that may be a bit dramatic, but her memoir The Pretty One completely transformed my perspective on disability from a narrative of brokenness in need of fixing to a theology of a purposeful state of being. “Disability is not monolithic...we should be seen as human beings with our own autonomy.”

The Pretty One held the mirror up to my own biases and introduced me to ableist discrimination, a distorted sense of perfection of the human body and discomfort caused by
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sallanvaara
Undoubtedly helpful and necessary to many, but this didn't do much for me. The topics were mostly interesting and important, but the writing was repetitive and often very long-winded and drifted away from the point a lot. I enjoy my essays a little tighter and less blog-ish, so this got quite boring and distracting at times. I respect and enjoy Keah's perspective on disability and the many issues faced by the disabled and POC communities, but honestly I just really can't stand taking this kind o ...more
Katie Tamola
Jun 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I can’t say enough good things about this memoir and about Keah Brown. I was so excited to read this and she did not disappoint. Heartfelt and funny, this is one of those books that feels like a best friend. I’m excited to be sharing this one with my friends!
Lorena
Aug 01, 2019 rated it it was ok
As a middle-aged white disabled woman, I don’t think I was part of the target audience for this book. I think it is aimed more at young black disabled women. It might be helpful for a tween girl struggling to accept herself, but I didn’t get much out of it and wish I would have spent my time reading something else.

I thought this book was more boring and repetitious than wise and witty, and I couldn’t relate to the author’s pop culture references, but your mileage may vary. It sounds like the aut
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Never Without a Book
Aug 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Born with cerebral palsy and the creator of the viral hashtag #DisabledAndCute, Keah Brown is not one to let her disability slow her down. In her debut collection of essays, The Pretty One, Brown tells her story of what’s it like to be Black and disabled. This read was truly an experience outside of my own. I laughed, cried and couldn’t get enough of Brown’s positivity and determination. I am so happy this book exists. This is a must read!

Thank you, Atria Books & Netgalley, for gifting me a cop
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Alyssa M
Jan 03, 2020 rated it did not like it
DNF - boring and repetitive.
Samantha
We need Keah Brown to be in all the writers’ rooms, please and thanks. I have never given much thought to pop culture—probably because as a white able-bodied cisgender straight women I see myself represented EVERYwhere so I have never had to think twice?!—so I really appreciate Keah’s take on media and representation.

She covers all things light and all things heavy, writing as much about her favorite movies as she does about her relationship with depression. In doing so she offers a glimpse int
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Natasha (jouljet)
Oct 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
A memoir from Keah Brown, a young American black woman with cerebral palsy, who is an advocate for her intersectional experiences.

Told as individual essays, each chapter tackles one aspect of Keah's journey of self acceptance, her love of TV and music, her search for love - being romantic, social and self - and her dark days of low self-esteem and suicidal ideology.

The advocacy sections are the most powerful, from reviewing her own internalised ableism, to seeking representation of her black dis
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Nathan Shuherk
Jun 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this. The strength of it is the internal questions and debates with ones self about being disabled. Physical disabilities and mental illnesses have a lot of differences, but there is a commonality in the internalization of how we are perceived and how we perceive ourselves that I found really helpful to think about while reading.
Laura
May 07, 2021 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars.
This book was a good memoir, however it got quite repetitive after a while. I'm also not a religious person, nor am I someone who knows a lot about pop culture, so those parts fell a bit flat for me.

Still quite a decent read, although it could have been shorter so it wouldn't be so repetitive. Highly recommend it to abled bodied people and white disabled people!
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Alex (Pucksandpaperbacks)
Trigger Warnings: bullying, ableist slurs, disordered eating, depression, suicidal thoughts, self-depreciation, grief, loss of a loved one, graphic depiction of a suicidal attempt.
*This book contains spoilers for the movie Love, Simon

I truly wish I had a physical copy (and will probably get one at some point) because I wish I could've tabbed and highlighted the HECK out of this book. I resonated with so much of it but damn it has so many important conversations inside.

This book taught me a lot
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Morgan Schulman
Jul 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reader-s-copy
I received an advanced readers copy in exchange for an honest review.

This is exactly the book we need right now. Not only does it inform and challenge stigma against people with disabilities, it is a meaningful story of the author’s journey to see herself as cute AND disabled. In a world that does not always love us, we need to love ourselves. We need to celebrate our own beauty in order to have the strength to fight the world’s ugly
Melanie Page
Jul 13, 2020 added it
Shelves: sjcpl, dnf
I was eager to read this book after I watched the documentary Crip Camp. Books by people who have disabilities don't often make it on my reading list because I've failed to seek them out. However, Keah Brown's writing style didn't work for me. Her first chapter is about her best friends, chairs. She personifies types of chairs -- her couch, cinema seating, mall benches -- to the point where I was straight up confused. If I don't understand her relationship with chairs first, then her making them ...more
2TReads
May 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
These essays were a joy to read. You can feel the author's authenticity and spirit on every page. Ms. Brown does not shy away from showing us her inner most thoughts and experiences as a black, disabled woman who does not let her disability define her as a person. She takes us through the experiences that have had the most impact on her life, and have helped her develop her most authentic self.
I especially loved her use of literary devices such as metaphors, to talk about certain things; like ho
...more
EllenZReads
Nov 23, 2019 rated it liked it
Keah Brown is a black female writer, an identical twin, a sister, a daughter, and a friend, who also happens to have cerebral palsy that affects the right side of her body. She is the creator of the hashtag #disabledandcute. The Pretty One is a collection of essays on disability, friendship, unrequited love, pop culture, music, and seeking representation in a world where people only see you if you're white, beautiful, and able-bodied. I thought her best essay was "I Like Me Now, Too," the final ...more
Kate Kaput
I was excited to read this book, a series of essays by a young Black woman with cerebral palsy. The book is important, this author's voice is important, & it's important for people without disabilities to read books by people with them. There are lots of good nuggets in here - thrilling glimpses of beautiful writing - but (God, I hate saying this) the book, taken as a whole, felt like a very rough first draft. It needed a better editor, someone to trim & rearrange & focus - & without it, some of ...more
Melissa
Aug 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
A very well-written essay collection about living as a disabled woman of color - how these intersections affect personal relationships, self-worth, internalized ableism, seeing one’s self (or not, as is the case) in books, film, and TV, and mental health. She writes so bravely about self-destructive thoughts and the plan to end her own life in a way that I think we don’t often “allow” in disability literature and she credits books by Sarah Dessen and Toni Morrison to helping her. Brown has a ref ...more
Lynnea
Nov 05, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: bio-memoir
There are some excellent points made but I couldn't help but feel like I was reading a stack of high school essays....
And then there are the comments basically saying it is the white-not-disabled population's fault that there aren't more black and disabled people directing, writing, or acting in movies... I agree there should be more diversity but there has to be willingness and ability on both sides.
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BookTrib.com
There’s nothing wrong with being different, but that’s not how the world made Keah Brown feel. She spent her childhood believing she was the same as everyone else, but she has cerebral palsy.

The Pretty One (Atria Books) by Keah Brown is a collection of essays not only about living but living with a disability. Brown acknowledges she is different, and though it took a long time, she knows she is beautiful because of it. This book is a journey of self-discovery that would inspire anyone.

Brown’s wo
...more
Loretta
Jun 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars. I like Keah Brown. I think she has a lot to say, and a lot that we need to hear. Reading this book makes me want to learn from more people with disabilities of various types, as there are so many things I just don't think about. From a learning perspective? 5 stars for this book.

From a writing perspective, 3 stars. Brown can be amazing, luminous, descriptive. She can also veer into the repetitive, and sometimes her voice rings just a little bit untrue. I believe that she's being hones
...more
Becky
Feb 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
In essays about topics ranging from her relationship to her sister, to her love of music, to embracing herself as she is, Brown speaks passionately about her life and our world. Her words are a call to action for greater representation for disabled people, which she’s actively embodying with her writing, advocacy, and visibility. She’s honest about her struggles, both past and ongoing, and gives the reader a look into her journey for self love and peace with her body. She doesn’t shy away from t ...more
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Keah Brown is a journalist and freelance writer from Western New York. Her work has appeared in Teen Vogue, Essence, Catapult, Harper’s Bazaar, and Lenny Letter among other publications. She is currently writing her debut essay collection “The Pretty One” slated for 2019 release via Atria Books.

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