Little People

Rodale Press, Manufactured by, Dan Kennedy, Author Rodale Press $24.95 (288p) ISBN 978-1-57954-668-7
In this compelling but unbalanced work, the father of a young girl with dwarfism explores how her condition shapes her life as well as his. Kennedy, a journalist by trade, leaves few aspects of being a little person unexplored--from circus history and the fate of a Jewish dwarf in Nazi Germany to the current-day exploitation of little people in porn films and the annual convention of the Little People of America. Kennedy doesn't shy away from difficult issues, including the proper terminology for a little person, whether dwarves qualify as disabled, and the ethical question of terminating a fetus carrying the gene for dwarfism. But though Kennedy interviews a staggering number of people, we rarely hear his daughter's voice, making it difficult for readers to ""see the world through Becky's eyes,"" as the subtitle suggests they will. In many ways, this account is more about Becky's effect on Kennedy's life than it is about her own. ""The truth is that dwarfism has been a lot better for me than it's been for Becky,"" he writes. Kennedy's honesty about his difficulty raising Becky is refreshing, but he can occasionally appear emotionally removed. While his straightforward prose style avoids self-pity, it also, unfortunately, often fails to convey warmth. Still, Kennedy offers provocative commentary on the danger of relying on charitable rather than government-funded care for disabled children, and a deep critique of a""culture in which the disabled and their families are seen as being somehow responsible for their own misfortunes."" 16-page photo insert
Reviewed on: 10/01/2003
Release date: 10/01/2003
Genre: Nonfiction
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