BEAUTIFULLY PACKAGED BOOK FEATURING 100 ILLUSTRATIONS THROUGHOUT: Riva’s extraordinary portraits of people with stigmatized bodies are printed in full-color inserts. Black & white illustrations and photographs are woven throughout the narrative.
AN HONEST, RADICAL PORTRAYAL OF A WOMAN’S BODY: The experience of living as a disabled person in an able-bodied world has given Riva extraordinary insight into the ways women diminish themselves in order to be acceptable, and the ways we contort ourselves in order to be conventionally “beautiful.” This book invites readers to truly see beauty differently, and the effect is transformative.
AWARD-WINNING ARTIST: Riva has received awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Illinois Arts Council, and the University of Illionois. Her work has been featured in documentaries including The Paper Mirror (2012) by Charissa King-O’Brien, which traces her collaboration with graphic novelist Alison Bechdel; and Self Preservation: The Art of Riva Lehrer (2005) by David Mitchell and Sharon Snyder.
“[A] penetrating and razor-witted debut…Brainy…sexy and soulful, Lehrer’s writing exhibits the force of will needed to make one’s way in a culture where, ‘If it’s medically possible to push a body toward that social ideal, then we make it a moral imperative to do so.’…With vast ambition and the skill to match, Lehrer examines learning on every level—learning to live, to forgive, to create, to love, and to become a part of various communities: familial, queer, disabled and artistic…. Packed with photographs of her own life as well as about fifty reproductions of her brilliant portraiture, this daring opus stands as a fittingly visual testament to the ‘radical visibility’ she advocates as a teacher and a person—a beautiful meditation on monstrousness, bodies and the souls they contain.”—Minneapolis StarTribune
“This searing personal history expands Lehrer’s project of looking at our bodies inside and out, in all their queerness, fragility, and strength, into a stunning new dimension.”—Alison Bechdel, author of Fun Home
“Like Patti Smith and Sally Mann, Lehrer opens a vein and spills wisdom and humor, lyricism, and conviction onto the page. She teaches us with images and words that all bodies are exquisite, just as they are. Lehrer’s life and art is an example of the deepest creativity and resistance.”—Ayelet Waldman, author of A Really Good Day
“Riva Lehrer is a great artist and a great storyteller. This is a brilliant book, full of strangeness, beauty, and wonder.”—Audrey Niffenegger, author of The Time Traveler’s Wife
“Vivid and unforgettable…It is the story of how someone who is fundamentally different made not a life that transcends that difference, but a life that lionizes it. This book expands our notion of what constitutes the human experience, and it does so with generosity and openheartedness.”—Andrew Solomon, author of Far From the Tree
“With deft painter’s prose, Riva Lehrer helps us discover what it is to be human when others see us as broken. In Golem Girl, Lehrer gives us the gift, at long last, of our own crip beauty.”—Nicola Griffith, author of Hild
“Lehrer’s story is a revelation of an inner subjective life—full of tragedy, love, and creativity—pushing against the external social stigmas, cultural narratives, and prejudices surrounding disability.”—Stephen Asma, author of On Monsters: An Unnatural History of Our Worst Fears
“A wincing-wise tale, by turns harrowing and hilarious, cut clean through with flecks of grace and beauty.”—Lawrence Weschler, author of Seeing Is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees
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