Saturday, January 23, 2016

The Secret Life of Stories: From Don Quixote to Harry Potter, How Understanding Intellectual Disability Transforms the Way We Read by Michael Berube

★★★★ ☐ The publisher has provided a copy for review.
Dissecting stories from a literary perspective means looking at author intention, narrative, and genre (among many other factors). Bérubé, a professor of modern literature, examines successful novels of the last centuries in light of intellectual disability.

Def. Intellectual disability = Impairment in intellectual or adaptive behavior, formerly called mental retardation.

If we read into current stories the limitations of mental and behavioral norms of their characters, how might the stories inform and change us? This is a scholarly book: I hadn't read many of the recent novels the author mentions.

The idea of bringing ourselves and our understanding of what it means to be "functional" or "fully human" to fiction is hardly new. But this perspective - reading degrees and types of intellectual disability into the narrative - makes for an interesting experiment and offers new possibilities for future reading (whether or not I read the books mentioned by Bérubé.)

I'd recommend a look at this fresh perspective for students / profs of modern literature - and for those working with the intellectually disabled. It will be too academic for the casual reader.

No comments:

Post a Comment