Member Reviews

I encourage everyone to read this book. Melissa Blake embraces her disability identity and confronts ableism and internalized limiting beliefs. I identify with an invisible disability and am part of a non-profit organization centered on leading with disability identities, yet I too learned a lot in this book. She writes with incredible candor and humor. She confronts the language used to describe disability as well as ableism - physical and verbal. I particularly loved ]her epilogue which is a letter to her seventeen year old self. I highly recommend this book.

Thank you to Netgalley and Hachette Books for an ARC and I voluntarily left this review

Was this review helpful?

Melissa Blake provides insight and perspective on navigating life with a disability. She calls out interest trolls and ableists for their view on her lifestyle and how she chooses to live life.

Was this review helpful?

With everything that is going on in the world today and people's propensity for being cruel for cruel's sake, this book is a MUST READ. Without being preachy or judgy, Melissa Blake lays out her thirteen truths about disability and being disabled [and what that has meant to her and what it means now] that every single person can learn from, even those who are allies to the disabled world. She talks about what disability is [including the hidden/invisible disabilities], why we MUST call it what it is [disability], how abelism permeates everything disabled people come in contact with [and often is something even disabled people struggle with] and how she uses what trolls online have said [and continue to say unfortunately] to fan a spark of outrage into a flame and helps her continue the work [all while acknowledging just how awful some of them really are] that will forever [it seems] need to be done.

You will be filled with awe [though she would not want that, but in all honesty, I find it difficult to not see how amazing she is and what she does. NOT because of her disability, but because of her strength and want for a better world and her willingness to take on the bully], happiness and anger while reading this book. I cannot tell you how many times my anger flared when she was telling a story of something someone said, or how she was treated OR what people have said to her online. We all just need to be better [even those of us that are allies]. We ALL can improve, myself included.

I was granted an audiobook ARC for this book and it was really interesting to listen to Melissa tell her own story in her own voice. It made it much more real for me to hear her tell her story and I highly recommend experiencing this book that way.

Thank you to NetGalley, Melissa Blake, Hachette Books/Hachette Go and Hachette Go Audio for providing both the eBook and audiobook ARC's in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

As a disabled person I am incredibly proud of Melissa for writing this exemplery book about the experiences we disabled are suffering in this society . This is a impressive beautifully written book. Just yesterday after being publicly humilated in a grocery store yet again I thought of all her experiences over her life and how brave Melissa is. Her representation here for our disabled community and her sharing own experiences is inspiring. I am grateful to the publisher, Net Galley and Melissa for the opportunity for review. My review opinions are my own,

Melissa's work has been published in numerous major publications. Melissa is a very popular social media influencer and disability advocate for us all.

Melissa has written a beautifully crafted brillant book about her own experiences in our society growing up disabled and living as a disabled adult. This is as the author says "A call to action" for our disabled community. We are the most discriminated against group in the US. More then any other "group" disabled people. are discriminated against historically by society, the government and even our own families. Melissa brings the discirmination to light here honestly and documents our experiences through her voice. As a influencer and famous social media star Melissa has grown to be instrumental as a disabled advocate.

The author has inclued our disability heros throughout time. She writes of our experiences honestly and openly without holding back. She speaks to how the language people use against us diminishes us and how our culture discriminates against us. She is a hero. Her writing is the book we have needed all our lives. Thank you to the author for your exemplery book.. I look forward to continued works being published in your voice.

Melissa is a beacon of hope to all of us that are disabled living in this cruel society. Well Done Melissa thank you for your voice. Thank you for standing against discriminaiton and being a voice for all of us. I will be buying copies for gifts and a hard copy for my own library.

Was this review helpful?

Beautiful People: My Thirteen Truths About Disability is an exceptionally clear, beautiful, approachable and accessible book about Melissa Blake's experience of disability. It is an excellent ease into a difficult discussion regarding a phenomenon that will affect nearly everyone over their lifetime.

Blake states her goal is to make the book "relevant useful and entertaining", as well as a "conversation starter"—she succeeds wildly.

Charting Blake's life and the challenges she's faced, Beautiful People is life-affirming, positive, and a call to action for current and future generations, for those who are disabled and allies alike.

Highly recommended for everyone calling themselves human in nature.

Was this review helpful?

This book was such a blessing. Melissa Blake has been dealing with ableism since birth, along with ugly comments concerning her appearance. Yet she didn't overcome the odds or her disability. Rather, she worked hard, published essays, and wrote this book. What does this mean? This isn't a book to see old disability tropes in play. Blake breaks them down in detail, explaining why they shouldn't be used and what should be used instead. Not only is Blake a fantastic writer, but she is also a fantastic activist, and this book needs to be read by everyone.

I also wrote a Substack about the book here:

Was this review helpful?

I have had the pleasure of following Melissa on social media for the last year or two. I appreciate her humor and positivity in a world that often sucks in its' interactions and policies to anyone neurodiverse and/or disabled. This book provided more of that humor and optimism with realism too. I appreciated her candor and the direct approach she took toward addressing the inequities and ableism of our world.
(Thank you to the publisher for an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.)

Was this review helpful?

Melissa Blake's reflections on her disability, and the ways in which society treats disabled people, come off as frank and genuine. Reading this book felt like having a conversation with a friend. She never "talks down" to the reader, but solidifies her points through personal experiences, historical examples, and sharp observations about the world.

Blake's honesty is refreshing. She admits that even though she is comfortable in her body now, it has taken a long time to get to this point - involving therapy and a lot of self-reflection. Though she has had to grow a thick skin to deal with nasty comments online, that doesn't mean that she is entirely invulnerable to them. The way she describes her inner battles with her self-esteem is very relatable; who among us hasn't doubted ourselves, or felt hurt or shunned or unwanted? Blake's reflections on her childhood and moments that shaped her are humorous, soul-bearing, and at times heartbreaking - especially the devastating event of her father's suicide.

While I learned a lot from this book regarding disability activism and the push for inclusivity, I also appreciated reading about Blake's own experiences, especially the lifelong struggle with fitting into the dating sphere. The many preconceptions people have about disability and dating were eye opening, such as the idea that disabled people would be a "burden" to their romantic partner, and therefore should give up trying to find one.

In all, this is a book with a fresh, strong voice that is definitely worth reading for anyone seeking to educate themselves on multiple aspects of disability rights in America.

Was this review helpful?

I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to be an early reviewer of Beautiful People by Melissa Blake. Thank you to NetGalley and Hachette Books for an advanced reader copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Beautiful People is an honest and sincere narrative of what it is like to go through life with a disability. Ms. Blake opens up about her own life and provides practical, tangible perspectives on disability. I learned so much reading this book and highly recommend it. I learned about how language matters and that many of the well-meaning engagements that individuals have with disabled individuals are incredibly condescending. Additionally, I gained an appreciation for how we can help make our environments more accessible.

Ms. Blake cites several heroes of disability rights movement and I consider her to be one of these heroes for her willingness to share her experiences and provide very useful and practical insights. This book is a must read!

Was this review helpful?