I Want to LiveGoksøyr, Marte Wexelsen: Jeg vil leve
2012, Forlaget Oktober, 140 pages
Marte Wexelsen Goksøyr is an actress and social commentator. She also has Down’s Syndrome. In 2011 she became famous when, wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with "Threatened by Extinction", she confronted the Norwegian Prime Minister about proposed legislation that would lead to more abortions of foetuses with Down’s Syndrome.
In this personal and political book, she writes about the joy of standing on the stage and about the challenges of obtaining an education. She relates the story of her own life so far, about her triumphs and obstacles, and adds interviews with the Prime Minister, a geneticist, a fellow actor, and her parents, among others.
While writing the book, Goksøyr has been exercising energetically in order to beat the Prime Minister at arm wrestling the next time they meet.
“In an age when Norwegian novels swell to ever more hundreds of pages and biographies seldomly come out in less than three volumes, Goksøyr writes 140 tiny pages – and manages to say more than most. Her debut wonderfully free of pompousness, digressions and empty words. She interviews her parents, the mayor of Oslo Fabian Stand, experts and others, and shares her thoughts and emotions along the way, with humour, self irony and a deep, dark seriousness … tales of individual will power, but also of how individuals are pushed out of society”
“If we are to look for political literature among this year’s books, we would have to stop at [I Want to Live]. With her story of living with Down’s syndrome, she has to all appearances already had a direct influence on the public debate about early ultrasound … Whatever your opinion is in this debate: It will be hard to carry on this debate over the heads of those concerned, when they express themselves as clearly as Wexelsen Goksøyr does … a classic example of how the simplest of all autobiographical recipes still work”
“This is a torch of a book, an angry protest against the perfect sorting and botox society we are in the process of developing … Wexelsen Goksøyr’s book is first and foremost a necessary call in the woods: Why can’t I be like you – when I am?”
“Though small by size, the book’s content is large and challenging. The author can both talk and write, and she has thoughts and dreams that we tend to deny those we categorise as ‘different’ … In her well written and to-the-point book, Marte Wexelsen Goksøyr challenges us. We can easily push the challenge away from ourselves as society’s responsibility, but she directs her sharp eyes as much at each and every one of us”
“A unique little book defending human worth ... You seldom see autobiographical literature take the shape of a firebrand, but it is precisely the ability to be personal, to explain how society’s rules, norms and prejudices influence your own self regard, that make the author relevant. I Want to Live shifts in an excellent way between matter of factly reasoning and almost childlike emotional outbursts. It is tight and well written, often with short, simple sentences that offer both accurate images and, in spite of the seriousness, flashes of humour … Goksøyr isn’t just an ambassador for all mentally challenged people, she is also a fresh breath in a society characterized by showing consideration in all directions, but without a principled moral judgment.
First published: 2012, Forlaget Oktober
Marte Wexelsen Goksøyr: Biography and bibliography