Books

The Pretty One

The Pretty One is a memoir by Keah Brown

Keah Brown

Keah Brown loves herself, but that hadn't always been the case. Born with cerebral palsy, her greatest desire used to be normalcy and refuge from the steady stream of self-hate society strengthened inside her. But after years of introspection and reaching out to others in her community, she has reclaimed herself and changed her perspective.

In The Pretty One, Brown gives a contemporary and relatable voice to the disabled—so often portrayed as mute, weak, or isolated. With clear, fresh, and light-hearted prose, these essays explore everything from her relationship with her able-bodied identical twin (called "the pretty one" by friends) to navigating romance; her deep affinity for all things pop culture—and her disappointment with the media's distorted view of disability; and her declaration of self-love with the viral hashtag #DisabledAndCute.

By "smashing stigmas, empowering her community, and celebrating herself" (Teen Vogue), Brown and The Pretty One aims to expand the conversation about disability and inspire self-love for people of all backgrounds. (From Simon & Schuster)

Brown is a journalist and activist from New York who was born with cerebral palsy. She has written for publications like Teen Vogue, Essence and Harper's Bazaar.

From the book

Hey, friends! My name is Keah and I'm cute as hell. I love popular culture, music, cheesecake, cheeseburgers, and pizza. I dance in cars with my friends and again at their weddings. We sing songs down store aisles and play cards for hours. I live-tweet TV shows and laugh at my own jokes. I text my friend Danielle Sepulveres about Christmas movies and watch the Hallmark Channel for hours. When I am alone, I thoroughly enjoy playing The Sims. I am obsessed with lipsticks and I am trying and failing to learn the art of applying eye shadow. (I hope that you read all of that in the same vein as the intro to the Nickelodeon show The Wild Thornberrys, because that was my intent, though I don't think it lines up quite as nicely as I would have liked it to.)

My point is that I do all these things in a disabled body, not because I am brave or bold, but because I like doing them and I would love doing them in any body. I adapt to the world because I have to do so in order to live. My disability is cerebral palsy, and it affects the right side of my body, effectively altering my motor skills and reaction time as well as the strength of my bones on that side. I don't do things in spite of anything—except for maybe the people who told me I'd be nothing and no one. I don't mind being an inspiration if it is for a valid reason, such as admiring how many slices of pizza I ate, an essay or an article I wrote, my clothing choices, or how quickly I can learn the lyrics to songs. As long as the inspiration doesn't come with pity or self-congratulatory pats on the back, I am all for it. Let my love for cheesecake inspire you the way it will one day inspire a nation. At least you can say you were there first.


From The Pretty One by Keah Brown ©2019. Published by Simon & Schuster.

 

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