Beacon Press: In Sickness and In Health
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In Sickness and In Health

Love, Disability, and a Quest to Understand the Perils and Pleasures of Inter-abled Romance

Author: Ben Mattlin

A frank, humorous exploration of inter-abled dating, love, and marriage

In Sickness and Health is more than an “inspiring” story of how a man born with spinal muscular atrophy—a congenital and incurable neuromuscular disease—survived childhood, graduated from Harvard, married an able-bodied woman, built a family, and lived happily ever after. Author Ben Mattlin also issues a challenge to readers: Why should the idea of an “inter-abled” couple be regarded as either tragic or noble?

Mattlin’s wife recalls falling in love with his confidence and sheer determination. On one of their earliest dates, he persuaded her to ride on his lap in his wheelchair on their way home from an Elvis Costello concert. Thirty years later, they still travel like this from time to time, undaunted by the curious stares following them down the street.

Through conversations with more than a dozen other couples of varying abilities, ethnic backgrounds, and orientations, Mattlin sets out to understand whether these pairings are as unusual as onlookers seem to think. Reflecting on his own personal experience, he untangles issues of dependency and need, patience and generosity, commitment and autonomy, and other hard-to-define dynamics that inter-abled couples share. What emerges is a candid glimpse into the challenges and joys between inherently dissimilar people at various stages of life—from the first blush of sexual awakening to advanced middle age and through to widowhood.
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“Moving and informative stories of ‘uncommonly intimate and enduring’ interabled partnerships.”
Kirkus Reviews

“An urgent, deeply felt, and sometimes hilarious account of marriages that feel as obvious to those within them as they do bewildering to many people outside them. Mattlin gives us a testament to the deep humanity that can manifest in any kind of body, and to the passionate love such humanity can provoke in others.”
—Andrew Solomon, author of Far From the Tree

In Sickness and In Health

ISBN: 978-080705854-1
Publication Date: 1/30/2018
Size:6 x 9 Inches (US)
Price:  $26.95
Format: Cloth
Not Yet Published
Will Ship On: January 2018
(Backorder policy)