October 2, 2017
144 pages. 5.5″ x 8.5″
With equal parts wit and empathy, lived experience and cultural criticism, Kelly Davio’s It’s Just Nerves: Notes on a Disability explores what it means to live with an illness in our contemporary culture, whether at home or abroad.
“When the body attacks itself, the crisis is not just of bones and blood, but of beauty and boundaries. ‘Strange men have had their hands on me for days,’ Kelly Davio observes during a plasma treatment. Her skillful portrait of myasthenia gravis does not exist in a vacuum. It’s Just Nerves is in keen dialogue with the world around us—critiquing modern health care, pub seating etiquette, alarming election outcomes, smarmy meditation culture, and caricatures of illness in ads and on screen. ‘Oxygen is delicious,’ Davio reminds us, before the fire breaks out. A brisk, funny, and at times startlingly poetic memoir.” —Sandra Beasley, author of Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales from an Allergic Life
“Kelly Davio’s It’s Just Nerves feels like the book I’ve been waiting for all my life. If you want to know what it feels like to be a person with a disability in the 21st century, read this book. From mindfulness to yoga pants, Davio skewers ableist fabrications and brings us to a vital, ebullient, and sometimes terrifying reckoning with our real and shared human experience. She is a very funny writer and also a fearless one. Once I started reading these essays, I couldn’t put them down; they resounded through me like poetry or truth.” —Sheila Black, author of House of Bone and Love/Iraq
“Kelly Davio’s got so much incredible stuff brewing together on every page of these nimble, shapeshifting essays: meditations on the politics of illness, the body in crisis, the spirit in bloom, David Bowie—all of it filtered, carefully, through the lithe sensibility of a poet. The results are equal parts witty and wise, heartrending and rapturous. Man, I loved this book.” —Mike Scalise, author of The Brand New Catastrophe
“It’s so easy to forget that a body is a sum of parts while we are in it—it isn’t until something ails us that we are hyperaware of ourselves: of how present we are in a world that seems to be fighting back against us with every step and breath. What Davio does in It’s Just Nerves is turn the eyes of the world inward; to give us blinking visions of a life well lived with myasthenia gravis, to make us realize that every instance inside of our body is cumulative–the taste of butter chicken, the opening notes of our favorite album, the fact that every fall and every piece of joy is different, and it is ours.” —Brian Oliu, author of So You Know It’s Me, i/o, and Leave Luck to Heaven
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