amputee's guideThis is a powerful little book. In a scant 80-odd pages (once notes, table of contents and acknowledgements are removed), Jillian Weise conveys a glimpse into the life of a woman who wears a prosthetic leg.

She flashes back and forth in time, from her experiences as a small girl angry and ensnared in the medical system to her present life and relationships. A doctor’s cavalier attitude toward a medical mistake that had the potential to render her infertile? It’s in there. A short, almost-bitter-but-brilliantly-not indictment of Agent Orange? You’ll find that too. Instructions on how to remove a prosthetic without attracting undue attention from a lover? Yep, got it. A series of letters unsent to Lucy Grealy? It’s there, heartbreaking and real enough to make you wince but absolutely beautiful at the same time.

You might think you’d find self-pity in a work like this one. You won’t. Weise’s wry take on a physician’s intake form (”Help Your Physician Better Understand Your Pain) demonstrates this with charm, wit and a very dark edge.

When I saw that this book was coming to me for review, I imagined it as a dry, economical instruction manual to make sex more fulfilling for people missing limbs. I’m glad in this case that my imagination was so far off-base.


available through Soft Skull Press
paper, 5.5″ x 7.5″
96 pages