This memoir offers a glimpse into an activist's journey to finding and cultivating community and the continued fight for disability justice, from the founder and director of the Disability Visibility Project.
In 'Year of the Tiger: An Activist’s Life,' disability rights activist and organizer Alice Wong chronicles her life as a disabled Asian American woman...Through powerful essays, blog posts, interviews, photos and art, Wong offers an intimate and illuminating account of the challenges, joys and frustrations of living in a world not made for people like her...Wong writes powerfully about the financial pressures faced by her family to provide the care she needed, the vulnerability of depending on public programs, and the many forms of discrimination experienced by those who aren’t as physically mobile...Wong is quick to call out an ableist society that sees disabled lives as 'full of suffering and misery'...In a world that can’t see past the limitations of a disabled body, she writes about her happy childhood, her love of food, her joy of writing and being a sci-fi nerd...She acknowledges the kindness she’s received from her family and others in her community, and doesn’t fail to find the humor in her experiences...An empowering read, 'Year of the Tiger' challenges us to check any ableist privilege and reconsider the world we have created – a world that is inaccessible and hostile to the most vulnerable among us.
This collection is part playbook, part scrapbook. It includes transcripts of enlightening and sometimes topically overlapping interviews, tips for conducting interviews based on her experiences, and personal photographs and drawings, including a collaborative graphic essay about the 'truth universally acknowledged that cats know how to live' ... The short essay is Wong’s go-to form. 'Essays are my jam,' she proclaims, and that’s where incisive critiques, humor, practicality and optimism become compellingly inseparable. In a different context, the jumps from essay to interview to comic strip might seem disjointed, and the occasional recasting of events within different forms or from different vantages might feel repetitive, but in the story of Wong’s activist life as a disabled Asian American woman, this expansive structure serves as a version of her first-grade teacher’s hand. “Year of the Tiger” demonstrates an individual mind at work, as one might expect from a good memoir, and encompasses something larger ... Wong’s anger and her humor permeate this book ... There are plenty of lighthearted moments as well ... While very much the story of one life, Year of the Tiger is also about collective power and collective responsibility ... This book is purposefully no feel-good story of triumph. Instead, memoir will be redefined for many readers by Wong’s candid voice, tenacious spirit and necessary truths. Year of the Tiger welcomes each of us as a potential advocate, offers a kaleidoscopic understanding of interdependence, and encourages us to be more activist, individually and together.
Wong’s memoir is a moving addition to her celebrated body of work as an activist, community organizer, media maker and editor of the 2020 anthology Disability Visibility. In Year of the Tiger, Wong creates a collage of blog posts, artworks, interviews and other ephemera with disability at its center, seasoned generously with her quick wit and fierce calls to action ... Wong emphasizes connection with others as a generative, necessary force in her life, and she incorporates a chorus of voices in these fragments to illuminate the experiences of people who are constantly confronted with a world built without disabled people in mind ... Wong’s thoughtful use of multimedia elements—cheeky cat-themed graphics, photographs from her Indiana childhood and a clever crossword puzzle, to name a few—adds playfulness and dimension to Year of the Tiger,. She maintains the compelling conviction that pleasure and joy are crucial to activism and liberation, and these offerings demonstrate that belief. They also imbue the book with the scrappy spirit of zine-making, and others looking for creative encouragement will certainly find it here ... As this stylish memoir demonstrates, each person, disabled or not, can demand more from a world that is largely built without access in mind. Wong wants better for us all, and she will stop at nothing to get there.