Golem Girl: A Memoir

November 30, 2020
Golem Girl: A Memoir

The vividly told, gloriously illustrated memoir of anartist born with disabilities who searches for freedom andconnection in a society afraid of strange bodies“Golem Girl is luminous; a profoundportrait of the artist as a young—and mature—woman; an unflinchingsocial history of disability over the last six decades; and a hymnto life, love, family, and spirit.”—David Mitchell, authorof Cloud AtlasWhat do we sacrifice in the pursuit of normalcy? And whatbecomes possible when we embrace monstrosity? Can we envision aworld that sees impossible creatures?In 1958, amongst the children born with spina bifida is RivaLehrer. At the time, most such children are not expected tosurvive. Her parents and doctors are determined to "fix" her,sending the message over and over again that she isbroken. That she will never have a job, a romanticrelationship, or an independent life. Enduring countless medicalinterventions, Riva tries her best to be a good girl and a goodpatient in the quest to be cured.Everything changes when, as an adult, Riva is invited to join agroup of artists, writers, and performers who are buildingDisability Culture. Their work is daring, edgy, funny, and dark—itrejects tropes that define disabled people as pathetic,frightening, or worthless. They insist that disability is anopportunity for creativity and resistance. Emboldened, Riva asks ifshe can paint their portraits—inventing an intimate andcollaborative process that will transform the way she sees herself,others, and the world. Each portrait story begins to transform themyths she’s been told her whole life about her body, her sexuality,and other measures of normal.Written with the vivid, cinematic prose of a visual artist, andthe love and playfulness that defines all of Riva'swork, Golem Girl is an extraordinary story oftenacity and creativity. With the author's magnificent portraitsfeatured throughout, this memoir invites us to stretch ourselvestoward a world where bodies flow between all possible forms of whatit is to be human.“Not your typical memoir about ‘what it’s like to bedisabled in a non-disabled world’ . . . Lehrer tells her storiesabout becoming the monster she was always meant to be: glorious,defiant, unbound, and voracious. Read it!”—Alice Wong, founder anddirector, Disability Visibility Project