Publication Date: 07/07/2022 ISBN: 9781838950071 Category:

Letters To My Weird Sisters

Joanne Limburg

Publisher: Atlantic Books
Publication Date: 07/07/2022 ISBN: 9781838950071 Category:
Paperback / Softback




‘Limburg describes movingly her own struggles as a new mother and the pressure of society’s expectations…Through such delicately intertwined experiences, Limburg quietly shouts for change.’ Times Literary Supplement

It seemed to me that many of the moments when my autism had caused problems, or at least marked me out as different, were those moments when I had come up against some unspoken law about how a girl or a woman should be, and failed to meet it.

An autism diagnosis in midlife enabled Joanne Limburg to finally make sense of why her emotional expression, social discomfort and presentation had always marked her as an outsider. Eager to discover other women who had been misunderstood in their time, she writes a series of wide-ranging letters to four ‘weird sisters’ from history, addressing topics including autistic parenting, social isolation, feminism, the movement for disability rights and the appalling punishments that have been meted out over centuries to those deemed to fall short of the norm.

This heartfelt, deeply compassionate and wholly original work humanises women who have so often been dismissed for their differences, and will be celebrated by ‘weird sisters’ everywhere.

Publisher Review

Limburg describes movingly her own struggles as a new mother and the pressure of society's expectations...Through such delicately intertwined experiences, Limburg quietly shouts for change. * Times Literary Supplement * Haunting, probing and astonishingly intimate, Joanne Limburg's Letters to My Weird Sisters explores the myriad ways that creative, eccentric women have been exiled to the margins of society and defined as 'other,' even at the cost of their lives. A redemptive and unforgettable journey through the shadowlands of literature and history. -- Steve Silberman, author of NEUROTRIBES Astute, humane and breathtakingly true, Letters to my Weird Sisters captures the intricate truth of life on the outside. Joanne Limburg's project to find mirrors of herself across history casts so much light. I adored it. -- Katherine May, author of WINTERING Letters to my Weird Sisters is a beautiful, poignant and urgent piece of writing. Through the medium of missives to her chosen weird women of history, Joanne Limburg goes on an academic, yet deeply personal and profoundly moving exploration of what it means to be an autistic woman struggling to meet society's ideals of personhood and femininity. The book also tells stories of some of history's forgotten women, giving them the place they deserve in the ages. Joanne's writing made me feel heard, understood and seen. Everybody needs to read this book - yesterday, if not sooner! -- Sara Gibbs, author of DRAMA QUEEN In these intimate and intelligent letters that carefully unpick what it means to be different - ostensibly autistic, though it becomes clear that any discriminating difference does the same damage - Joanne Limburg addresses a series of lost 'mothers'. These are women who've been historically misunderstood, slighted, shamed and cast as outsiders. With the exception of Virginia Woolf, you may not recognise her subjects and yet Adelheid Bloch, Frau V and Katharina Kepler spring back to vivid life in her hands, their sufferings a salutary lesson in the dangers of othering people. Limburg trips lightly through difficult material, through mental illness, incarceration and witch hunts, her writing shining everywhere with empathy, humanity and wit. -- Marina Benjamin, author of INSOMNIA A powerful and deeply personal tribute to the 'weird' sisterhood. Limburg seamlessly weaves her own experiences as a 'misfit' into the stories of women from history who today might be regarded as autistic. Her bold, unique exploration of autism reflects centuries of prejudice and more recent and shameful care scandals involving autistic people. Limburg forces the reader to reconsider who's really weird; those whom society perceives as defective, or a society that constrains, alienates and dehumanises people just because they don't conform to its norms? -- Saba Salman, editor of MADE POSSIBLE

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