There’s nothing wrong with being different, but that’s not how the world made Keah Brown feel. She spent her childhood believing she was the same as everyone else, but she has cerebral palsy.

The Pretty One (Atria Books) by Keah Brown is a collection of essays not only about living but living with a disability. Brown acknowledges she is different, and though it took a long time, she knows she is beautiful because of it. This book is a journey of self-discovery that would inspire anyone.

Brown’s words are heavy and brutal, as she chose to not hold back. She says she lost her ignorance and innocence when a boy pointed out how different she was because of her disability, making it easy to be bitter at the world. People are naturally apt to become jealous or angry at something out of their reach. She desperately wanted to be normal like her sister, but couldn’t just make her cerebral palsy go away.

She eventually chose to embrace her illness and realize she had to make the best of it. She was not different because of her disability, she was different because no two people are the same. She did not let her disability define her but made it a part of who she was. Keah was happier because of it.

With this inspirational message in mind, she continued to explain how she moves through life with her self-esteem levels fluctuating and how people perceive her affecting her every day. It’s hard to keep a positive mindset when people point things out about yourself that you already know. She reflects on times when she took her bitterness out on her own family and how this affected her relationships with the people she loved the most, even to this day. Her struggle has not been easy, but she is choosing to fix what has been lost and move forward in a more more positive light.

The most important thing about the essay collection is that Brown makes herself sound human. She does not place herself on a pedestal. She basically says, “Hey, this is me – take me or leave me.” She makes mistakes like everyone else. She has regrets, she has dreams, she has her favorite books, etc. Brown is someone to whom every reader can relate, especially those who live their lives with a disability. The Pretty One is perfect for those who need some kind of guidance on the first steps to loving yourself. Brown was able to do it and is willing to share her journey to help others.

The Pretty One flows from one essay to the next with ease. Her courage and fight to live are inspirational enough, but her book will help anyone who feels out of control with themselves. This book is wonderful and entirely worth the read.

The Pretty One is now available.


About Keah Brown

Credit to Linda Striggo

Keah Brown is the creator of #DisabledAndCute. She is a reader, not a fighter. A lover and a writer. She has a B.A. in journalism from The State University of New York at Fredonia. Her work has appeared in Teen Vogue, ESPNW, Harper’s Bazaar, and Marie Claire UK, among other publications. Keah loves TV, and she tweets, at @Keah_Maria, about cheesecake and how she should be writing.