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Distributed for University of British Columbia Press

A World without Martha

A Memoir of Sisters, Disability, and Difference

Victoria Freeman was only four when her parents followed medical advice and sent her sister away to a distant, overcrowded institution. Martha was not yet two, but in 1960s Ontario there was little community acceptance or support for raising children with intellectual disabilities at home. In this frank and moving memoir, Victoria describes growing up in a world that excluded and dehumanized her sister, and how society’s insistence that only a “normal” life was worth living affected her sister, her family, and herself, until changing attitudes to disability and difference offered both sisters new possibilities for healing and self-discovery.


328 pages


Table of Contents

Author’s Note

1 Baby

2 Conceptions

3 One on Every Street

4 Substitutions

5 The Fairy Hill

6 Jesus Loves Me

7 Fair Exchange

8 “Progress and Happiness”

9 Revolutions

10 Normalization

11 Becoming Human

12 Into the Fire

13 Breakthroughs

14 Echoes

15 Crossing Over

16 Ashes

17 Remembering

18 Not Ending

19 Second Chances

20 How Far You’ve Come

21 Remember Every Name

Postscript; A Note on Sources

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