Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Road Map to Holland - A Mother Talk Review


Whether you have a child with Down syndrome or not, read this book...

If you have ever battled the instinct to flee - to run from your family and from the mess you think you have created, read this book...

If you have ever been stunned into silence and vowed next time you will know exactly the right way to respond, read this book...

If you need to be soothed by descriptions of the natural world, read this book...

If you have ever needed to forgive yourself, read this book...

We have all had experiences that are worthy of writing about and we do on on blogs, in our own private journals, maybe a short story later stuffed in a filing cabinet, a poem, a 5-7-5 haiku. Jennifer Graf Groneberg's new book "Road Map to Holland" is one of those rare books where the writer has both a story to tell and the talent for telling it.

Way back in September of 2007 I blogged about the lack of children with Down syndrome in the popular media and highlighted a story written by Groneberg in BabyTalk magazine. In Road Map to Holland: How I Found My Way Through My Son's First Two Years With Down Syndrome Groneberg deftly weaves the story of her family (older brother Carter and his younger twin brothers Avery and Bennett, her husband Tom) into a book that also educates; subtlety letting the reader know what Down Syndrome is all about, translating the alphabet soup of medical acronyms, and touching on the books, websites, and guides that serve as her own personal road map.

Her descriptions of the NICU, the struggles to breastfeed, the trips to and from the hospital, never feeling settled there or at home all rang true to me - Pip only spent 9 days there, but many of Groneberg's feelings mirrored my own. Some of the most moving parts of the book are her descriptions of moments of release: letting go, acceptance in increments, life going on.

Finally, helpful chapter notes, a list of resources and a glossary add to this love letter to her own family. I recommend this book for public libraries, hospital libraries, and consumer health libraries, wherever they may be located. This book would also make an excellent choice for a health care professionals' or medical students' book group.

Learn more at the National Down Syndrome Congress or the National Down Syndrome Society.

This review brought to you in partnership with MotherTalk.

6 comments:

jennifergrafgroneberg said...

Thank you for this beautiful review. Without even realizing it, that's what it was all along: a love letter to my family. Thank you for helping me see it.

Jenny said...

Can't wait to read it.

soupisnotafingerfood said...

That "Holland" story is posted at the therapy center where we take our oldest son twice weekly. How true it is, that sometimes, your life doesn't end up exactly where you expected it to, and dealing with (even embracing) a new reality is such a challenge. I liked this review and will add this book to my reading list.

Rebecca said...

I have a "niece by friendship" who has Down Syndrome. I'll have to check out this book.

Michelle said...

what a wonderful review of Jennifer's book! I liked the thought of this being a love letter to her family too.

Thanks for visiting my blog!

Melinda said...

My friend has a little girl with Down syndrome. You should read about her at her blog at http://adventuresindownsyndrome.blogspot.com/

It's beautiful, and I'm going to tell her to link to your review.