Tom Shakespeare, Review: The many worlds of disability, The Lancet, Volume 398, Issue 10316, 4–10 December 2021, Page 2066
Jan Grue is a phenomenon in the disability world: a 40-year-old with a congenital muscular atrophy, who is an author of fiction for adults and children and is also Professor of Qualitative Research at the University of Oslo, Norway. In this eagerly awaited book, I Live a Life Like Yours: A Memoir, he tells the story of his life and his daily existence. Grue is expert at capturing sights, sounds, and even smells. The stories he relates are likely to represent the reality for many educated people in high-income countries with lived experience of disability who have stumbled, fallen, and wheeled through school, clinic, and workplace over recent decades.
The cultural landscape that Grue’s writing effortlessly inhabits could be intimidating. Quotations from Michel Foucault, snatches of Jorge Luis Borges, and sentences from Erving Goffman abound. But I Live a Life Like Yours is an easy read because Grue is a fluent and intimate writer, well translated here by Becky Crook. As such, the book is an excellent primer on both the lived experience of a neuromuscular impairment and the world of disability studies and disability activism.