Laura Hershey: Writer, Poet, Activist, Consultant Rotating Header Image

Literature of Personal Assistance

Personal assistance services — hands-on help provided to support daily living — is an experience very familiar to disabled people, as well as to people who are elderly, ill, or recovering from injury. Yet it rarely shows up in literature.

When it does, it can offer fascinating insights into the dynamics involved in the exchange of what’s often called “care” or “caregiving.” A couple of years ago, I wrote an article analyzing two writers of creative nonfiction, Nancy Mairs and Paul Monette, who wrote about giving and receiving personal assistance to a loved one. That article has just been published in the online literary journal The Sylvan Echo. You can read it here.

I’m always interested in reading (and writing) literary descriptions of personal assistance. Let me know if you find other good examples.


  1. Alison Hymes says:

    The Tales of the City series of books has descriptions of personal assistance in more than one book but I’ll have to go and look at my collection to tell you which ones. Question, off-topic, how to pick a temporary personal care attendant when sick? What are good questions to ask?

  2. Jesse the K says:

    Jennifer Clelland’s very creepy science fiction story, Captive Girl explores a terrifying relationship between a high-tech warrior and her caregiver. Raises issues of consent, agency, fetishism and power dynamics.

  3. Jennifer says:

    Really great post. There is a lot of details and information here that are really helpful. Thanks for taking the time to post it.

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