This is a riveting and redemptive family memoir. Donna Thomson’s vivid descriptions of her own experience in treading delicately through daily care, medical emergencies and the medical bureaucracy as she and her family cope with her son Nicholas’ cerebral palsy is both inspirational and instructive. From the first tentative diagnosis to Nicholas’ celebration of his 21st birthday last summer, Thomson examines how she and her family have tried, with various degrees of success, to cope with Nicholas’ needs, while at the same time ensuring that their lives (as well as Nicholas’) have value and dignity. Donna Thomson’s own experience with adversity takes on new meaning when viewed through the lens of Nobel Prize-winning economist Amartya Sen and other philosophers’ roadmaps of how to realize a good life against all odds. This lens includes not only people with disability, but also the enormous generation of post-WWII Baby Boomers who are beginning to sense the health care crisis that is looming as they deal with their own aging and increasingly infirm parents. Donna Thomson’s brilliantly written family memoir provides a strong, original message that touches on the lives of anyone caring for the needs of another.
“A clear-eyed look at the value of a life…What if a life was judged not by its monetary worth or possible economic benefit to society, but as a series of complex and rewarding relationships?”
“Donna Thomson’s world changed utterly when she gave birth to a severely disabled son – with a wicked sense of humour…she makes a powerful case for caring to be accorded respect, and demands that we all think about what really matters.”
“What does it mean to live ‘a good life,’ and how can we help the most vulnerable people around us to live life to the full? Donna Thomson provides some answers from personal experience in this engaging, challenging, life-enhancing book.”
“[A] tremendous piece of work. Elegant, honest and inspirational. [The author has] braided personal experience, practical responses and theory. Brilliant. Bravo!”
“I am deeply moved by this book. It is about being human, finding wisdom and learning to live in the face of pain. It is about seeing under the suffering and needs of people with disabilities their value and beauty, their uniqueness and dignity. This book should be read by all who seek to understand what it means to be human.”