Despite the slimness of A Certain Loneliness, the book offers an uncluttered vision of Lambert’s life—chronicling hardship and beauty, struggle and wonder, solitude and community ... Lambert is, among other things, a polio survivor, a former bookstore owner, a lesbian, a Floridian, a kayaker, a nature lover, and all of these aspects of herself inform the short essays that comprise A Certain Loneliness ... Lambert writes with a studied aloofness and matter-of-fact tone about a body that constantly generates conflict with itself and the world around it. There is a rich practicality to her wisdom, and a pure, knowing access to physicality despite that physicality’s limitations: I’ve only rarely seen these things so well captured on the page. But A Certain Loneliness isn’t written to inspire or mollify its reader; it is enlightening, yes, but it is a book written for itself, without the need to please, and because of this bravery, it succeeds mightily.
By the time she was 4, Lambert required two surgeries and two body casts. In this memoir, she retraces the years when the struggle against loneliness and isolation at times became more disabling than polio’s assault on her spine and legs. With frank, lyrical prose, the author describes a painful, awkward youth in Norway as she became reliant on the bracing 'contraption put on my legs at night that was supposed to untwist my bones.' ... Readers will come away with a cleareyed portrait of the author through the stories of her joys, sorrows, and intimate impressions. A powerful testimony to the determination and strength necessary to persevere despite assumptions, scrutiny, and societal stigmatization.
In her touching memoir of life as a disabled lesbian, Sandra Gail Lambert probes the issue of what quality of life really means. Throughout the series of short essays, Lambert takes the reader on a journey from the author’s childhood, where we learn Lambert is stricken with polio, to an adult struggling to maintain her independence in the face of the disease that wracks her body with pain and limitations. In equal parts, the memoir is a story of self-love and the search for Lambert’s one true love—a life partner ... Lambert has a lyrical quality to her writing, describing the various rivers she navigates in her kayak with a visual crispness, transporting the reader to each place in a sensorial way. Lambert’s memoir is a triumph of will over illness. She leaves the reader not pitying Lambert for her condition, but marveling at her indomitable spirit.