U.S. National Institutes of Health

The Spiral Cage: Diary of an Astral Gypsy, Al Davison, 2003

Courtesy National Library of Medicine

In the autobiographical graphic novel The Spiral Cage, author and artist Al Davison chronicles his life with spina bifida. Beating the odds from birth, Davison consistently defied society’s expectations of people with disabilities, though sheer force of will.

When he was born, the doctors told his parents that he wouldn’t survive, and when he did, they predicted that he would never walk. Yet, Davison taught himself to walk and attended a “normal” school. In addition to these early experiences, the novel discusses how Davison learned karate and studied Buddhism as he matured, and eventually became an illustrator. Despite enduring painful surgeries and setbacks, the book shows Davison flourish with an unyielding optimism and drive.

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