A brilliant young critic ... Her daring approach is a hybrid of memoir, literary criticism and cultural commentary. She moves fluidly between grade-school memories and scholarly analysis. She quotes from medieval texts and TV shows. She’s equally familiar with the Brothers Grimm and the X-Men ... long overdue. Watch your language. Challenge your stories. Read this smart, tenacious book.
Disfigured is a fascinating exploration of how disabilities are treated within fairy tales and of how those treatments help to shape social attitudes and perceptions. Part literary examination, part cultural critique, and part memoir, Disfigured is exceptional ... The text is convincing in naming the primary problem with such tales: that they reinforce the idea that people with disabilities need to change or to be made 'whole' in order to live fulfilling lives. It proposes a different, more appropriate message instead: that society should adapt to those with disabilities ... Thorough research is capped by a multipage list of works consulted, demonstrating the depth of the problem by dissecting many lesser-known fairy tales ... This is work that’s also personally informed by Leduc’s experiences living with cerebral palsy, making it all the more emotionally impactful. Disfigured is an enlightening work of literary criticism that dissects the stories that we tell ourselves.
This meticulously researched book finds its greatest strength in Leduc’s own generous account of being a disabled person (Leduc prefers to use identity-first language) in a world propped up by fairy-tale thinking ... Told in Leduc’s affecting prose, the memoir elements of her book provide further evidence that the pervasive ideas fairy tales promote are not without consequence. Leduc adeptly interrogates the ubiquitous idea that fairy tales are harmless and stresses the pain—however unintentional—caused by the language we use and the way we choose to use it ... it’s the generous vulnerability of Leduc’s own story that illuminates the urgency of this vital message.