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Every Cripple a Superhero

Keller, Christoph
Format: Hardback
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd (Allen Lane)
Published: July 28, 2022
ISBN: 9780241593219
192 pages
Country of publication: United Kingdom

£16.99

Most stories of disability follow a familiar pattern: Life Before Accident. Life After Accident. For Christoph Keller, it was different: his childhood diagnosis with a form of Spinal Muscular Atrophy only revealed what had been with him since birth. SMA III, the ‘kindest one’, allows those who have it to live a long life, and it progresses slowly. There is no cure. By the age of 25, he had to use a wheelchair some of the time. ‘There were two of me: Walking Me. Rolling Me.‘ By 32, he could still walk into a restaurant with a cane or on somebody’s arm. At 45, ‘Rolling Me’ took over altogether.

Intimate, absurdist and winningly frank, Every Cripple a Superhero is at once a memoir of life with a progressive disorder, and a profound exploration of the challenges of loving, being loved, and living a public life – navigating restaurants, aeroplanes, museums and artists’ retreats – in a world not designed for you. Threaded throughout are Keller’s own photographs of the unexpected beauty found in puddle-filled ‘curb cuts’, the pavement ramps that, left to disintegrate, form part of the urban obstacle course. Those puddles become portals into a different, truer city; and, as they do, so this book – told with humour and immense grace – begins to uncover a truer world: one where the ‘normal’ is not normal, where disability is far more widespread than we might think, and where there always exist, just alongside our own, the lives of everyday superheroes.

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