Disabilities Diaries: Disabilities I Want To Read About

Posted January 18, 2017 by Ely in Disability Diaries, Lists / 12 Comments

I’ve been teasing this post for a while, without actually giving away what the post is, of course. I talked about it in my post about things I want to learn and in a few others, but today it’s finally here. I’m talking about the disability I want to learn/see more about it.

I’m breaking this post into two parts. Firstly, disabilities I don’t know anything about and would like to learn about. Secondly, disabilities I know about, but I think they are sorely lacking from books. Let’s go.

Part One


I know next to nothing about autism, but it’s something I would like to learn about. I think it’s something that is becoming more and more spoken about, which means there’s also a lot of stereotypes and arguments. I think the only way to move past stereotypes is to educate yourself, so that’s what I plan on doing here.

Cystic Fibrosis

I know a little bit about CF from what I read in Dead Girls Society, but not nearly enough. I want to understand the ins and outs—not just the medical side, but the personal too. I want to be able to talk about CF (and every other disability) and help raise awareness of it.


I’ve read a few books about OCD lately. Namely, Am I Normal Yet? by Holly Bourne, which was my favourite book of last year. I don’t feel like I know a lot about it though, and I would really like to understand.

Part Two


You might have seen my post about my experiences with diabetes the other day. On that post, Nevillegirl asked if I knew of any books with diabetic characters, and the truth is, no I don’t. I’ve heard of one, but I don’t know how much of a role diabetes plays in that—it’s called Lucky Few, if anyone’s read it.

Club Feet

Yesterday, I recommended The War That Saved My Life, in which the main character has a club foot. That’s the only book I’ve read with a character with the same condition I was born with. I wish I’d had this book as a kid, and I hope there will be more books out there about it.

Chronic Fatigue & Chronic Pain

I was talking with Angel about how neither chronic fatigue or chronic pain feature in many YA books. I have a lot of friends with chronic fatigue/pain, so I don’t really understand how it’s excluded from the books we read. I hope it’s something we’ll see more of soon.

So those are some of the disabilities I’m interested in reading more books about. I would like to learn about everything because no one deserves to be excluded, but these are just a few I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. Let me know if there are any disabilities you want to read about, or if you know of any books that cover these.

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12 responses to “Disabilities Diaries: Disabilities I Want To Read About

  1. Do you read many classics? The protagonist of “Of Human Bondage” by W. Somerset Maugham (which happens to be one of my most loved books of all time) famously also has a club foot. He is a fantastic character and I just — oohhh, I can’t fangirl enough about that book. Anyway you might give it a try! I think Maugham’s portrayal of disability is one of the best I’ve read.

  2. So happy to hear your wanting to learn more and read more books on this subject! Are you Seeing me by Darren Groth is an amazing contemporary and has a MC with Autism that is done so well it’s just seemless. Also Rose Tainted Skies deals with OCD and Agoraphobia and the ending is perfect, same goes with Patrick Ness’s The Rest of Us Just Live Here. I don’t think I’ve read any books that feature a Club foot or Chronic pain 🙁 I’ll need to add some to my TBR! Great post

  3. If you read post-apoc, Sugar Scars is about a character with diabetes trying to make her own insulin, but I haven’t read it and I don’t have diabetes, so I can’t tell you how realistic it is. I’ve tried to looking for books with CFS, but always just a bunch of self-help type books come up, and that’s not what I want -_- CFS, lupus, and RA (I imagine those last two would fall into the chronic pain category) are all fairly common as far as disabilities go, so you’re right, it’s strange that they’re all so neglected in books.

  4. Books tend to focus on disabilities that are more ‘comfortable’ for able-bodied people, or else can be romanticised or demonised in order to forward plot or the able-bodied character’s experiences. *sigh*

    Time to change that 😉

  5. Oh I so agree about seeing more Autism in books! There’s actually a huge percentage of people with it, so the fact that it’s so rare in literature is the most disappointing thing. (And the stereotypes are so frustrating. I have family members with Autism…and it’s awful to see it misrepresented. But AMAZING when it’s well done!) Also I just finished reading History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera which is an excellent OCD rep and have you heard of Fans of the Impossible Life? The protagonist has chronic fatigue. I think it’s the only instance I’ve read of that though?? I want to read more of ALL the things on your list too for sure! Oh and I’d also like to see more cerebral palsy. I’ve only read Beauty is In The Walking that featured it and it’d be excellent to have more.

  6. I’d love to read books about autism. My cousin is autistic and I still realise every day that I know so little about it. There are so many different symptoms and “outbreaks” which makes it difficult to tell how his life is going to be, especially since he’s still very young (he’s about 3 years old now). If you ever pick up a good book that treats this subject, please let me / us know! 🙂

    Also, I’d like to read more about OCD. And I don’t really know if you’d call this a disability too or just an illness, but I’d really like to read and learn more about the bipolar disorder.

  7. I totally agree with all the books that have been recommended for OCD. I feel like YA in particular is becoming really good at representation of mental illness, which, as a mentally ill person myself, makes me very happy indeed!
    I personally want to read more about mental illnesses that are less ‘palatable’/understood, such as schizophrenia or borderline personality disorder.

  8. I never really thought about the disabilities I want to read more about – but this list is perfect! I really want to read more about cystic fibrosis, especially since I volunteered for a cystic fibrosis foundation a couple of years ago. And I’ve never really understood chronic fatigue, so it would be perfect to read more about it.
    I’d also like to read more about schizophrenia – I know Whisper to Me by Nick Lake handled representation really well, and I’d just like to read more about it!

  9. I made my way through your Disabilities Diaries and they are all amazing! It really struck an emotional chord with me, for I know how meaningful your thoughts are. I am definitely in line with how disability needs more representation in literature and I especially feel that Autism in its many forms needs greater concentration. Many of people have a general thought about Autism, but there are so many levels of functioning and then there is Asperger’s, which sits on the high end of what is called “The Autistic Spectrum.” While I would say Look Me in the Eye is the most accurate portrayal I came across (for it is a memoir written by a man with Asperger’s), I could probably have a discussion with you about this topic based on personal experience. On the topic of disability, I would suggest reading Paws & Effect: The Healing Power of Dogs by Sharon Sakson, which tells stories of dogs making great differences in the lives of humans when they needed it most.

  10. You would think that with the number of people working with kids on the autism spectrum, there would be more books about it, right? BUT NOPE. Because I would totally read about an autistic MC, and I think there is one out there (On The Edge of Gone?) but as you said, there’s very few. AND SOMEONE GIVE ELY A BOOK WITH A DIABETIC MC COME ON. COME ON.

  11. I would love to read more disabilities on Bipolar Disorder, or even read one on what i have: Schizoaffective Disorder, or anything that isn’t highlighted in literature of any sort.