The book review is one of my favorite columns to write for many reasons, but the main one is it gives me the chance to discover new authors and explore genres I normally do not read. This is definitely true of my book for August – Firsts: Coming of Age Stories by People with Disabilities. Edited by Belo Miguel Cipriani, this book highlights some of the best writers with disabilities. Contributors include Heidi Johnson-Wright, Nigel David Kelly, David-Elijah Nahmod and Andrew Gurza, just to name a few. There are eleven essays in this book that are fascinating.
The topics run the gamut from getting laid and first loves to family and career issues. The writers are also very different in their writing styles and storylines. I found all the stories extremely inspirational, even when they ended in heartbreak. Kudos to Cipriani for bringing together a superb group of writers who elicit compassion but not pity. These brilliant writers were able to capture my emotions in just a few short pages. In everyone’s life, we all have obstacles to overcome, but some of us do not realize what we take for granted.
In addition to Cipriani being part of the LGBT + community, the three queer authors in the anthology are Caitlin Hernandez (Landmines), David-Elijah Nahmoud (Star Words) and Andrew Gurza (Baring It All). I highly recommend this book. It brings to light so many challenges some people face in their everyday lives that most of us never imagine. What is truly attention grabbing, though, is that many of the problems dealt with in Firsts are the same things that everyone else faces, but because of these writers’ disabilities, I believe they handle these issues in a more direct and impressive manner. For more information on Belo, go to https://belocipriani.com/.