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Road Map to Holland: How I Found My Way Through My Son's First Two Years with Down Syndrome
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Road Map to Holland: How I Found My Way Through My Son's First Two Years with Down Syndrome

4.02  ·  Rating Details  ·  238 Ratings  ·  43 Reviews
An exceptional memoir that provides emotional insight and practical advice.

It's like planning a trip to Italy, only to get off the plane and discover you're actually in Holland. You need a new road map, and fast...

When Jennifer Groneberg and her husband learned they'd be having twin boys, their main concern was whether they'd need an addition on their house. Then, five
Paperback, 304 pages
Published April 1st 2008 by NAL
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Johnna Cornett
Oct 16, 2008 Johnna Cornett rated it it was amazing
I was particularly struck by the bit about the neighbor, who didn't talk to her after her twins were born, and then moved away, and how that withdrawal was cruel.

I don't usually think of my presence in another's life as necessarily positive, so it is easy for me to withdraw it. "they're better off without me," and then I don't have to deal with their difficulties that I would surely mishandle anyway. but from this little bit (in a beautifully written and interesting memoire as whole) I've commit
Apr 14, 2008 Cate rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. I don't know if I can be objective in reviewing it (my own child has Down syndrome, and like the author, we were surprised by the diagnosis when she was born, so the story was familiar.)

But I will say that Road Map to Holland was much more honest than many of the special needs books out there, which tend to be relentlessly uplifting and heartwarming. She's very honest about the adjustment process, and it was refreshing (if sometimes heartbreaking) to read.
May 09, 2008 Bethany rated it really liked it
An honest and poignant picture of raising a child with Down syndrome; an important read for anyone who works with people with disabilities.
Sonya Feher
Jul 02, 2008 Sonya Feher rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir, parenting
One of my greatest fears when I was pregnant, besides having another miscarriage, was that I would receive amnio results that would deliver devastating news. Groneberg didn't get the amnio because she was pregnant with twins and two amniotic sacs meant double the risk of miscarriage. So after having her twin boys seven weeks premature, she found out that one of her boys had Down Syndrome. Okay, I'm going to repeat myself here: twins, premie, Down Syndrome, as if any one of those things was not l ...more
Peggy Walker
Feb 04, 2013 Peggy Walker rated it liked it
The thing I liked the best about this book is the essay from which the title is taken..."Welcome to Holland" by Emily Perl Kingsley who likens the experience of having a child with Down's Syndrome to taking an unexpected trip. She describes the dreams of having a child as planning a trip to Italy, and suddenly finding that you are in Holland. An excellent analogy. The author has one child, and eventually decides to have another. She has twins, and one had Down's Syndrome. She describes the sorro ...more
Apr 23, 2009 Linda rated it it was amazing
Another mother makes Down Syndrome into less than a fearsome curse. Having just been told by a former educator how sorry he was that my grand daughter has Down Syndrome, I read this book with a passion. The educator went on to say, "... they're cute, but...." This book asks and answers questions beyond the "...but...." and is hopeful and fierce. Although she has a thousand questions about the future and the past, her feet are firmly in the present and in her role of a parent. Groneberg has three ...more
Oct 13, 2009 Megan rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. The author was so completely honest in dealing with her son's diagnosis with Down Syndrome just five days after he and his twin brother were born prematurely. She does such a magnificent job capturing the pain and grief and disappointment the comes with finding out your child has special needs. But more importantly she conveys the joys and the heart-expanding love, the redemption and healing a mother begins to feel. I found myself weeping and rejoicing right along with her. Al ...more
Jun 03, 2008 Kim rated it liked it
A mother's memoir of coming to terms with her son's Down Syndrome. Five days after the premature birth of her twins, Jen discovres that one of the twins, Avery, has Down Syndrome. Despite fetal testing, the diagnosis was not picked up before his birth. The book focuses on how Jen and her family adapt to life with Avery and his twin in the first to years of their lives. Through the course of the book we watch Jen move from fear and regret to acceptance, to hope, to pure love. It is an honest look ...more
Feb 08, 2009 Laura rated it liked it
Recommended to Laura by: Heather
Shelves: biography
It took me a while to get through this book. Probably because I have five children of my own and by the time I got around to reading, it was usually well after 9p. I definitely got bogged down in the everyday details of Jennifer's life. I kept waiting for her to experience the joy of her life and her son Avery. The journey was long but eventually she came to understand that the most important thing she could do for her son was simply to love him and that message, once she finally got to it, was ...more
Aug 02, 2008 Lisa rated it it was amazing
This book spoke to me, for obvious reasons. When our baby was recently born and diagnosed with Down syndrome, I naturally wanted to become as informed as possible about DS, and I started with a book titled Babies With Down Syndrome. It was awful, just very scary and depressing. After a couple of chapters, I just put it down. Right around that time a friend sent me this book and once I started it, it was difficult to put down. It's a very honest account of the author's experience with her son's D ...more
Apr 11, 2009 Rachel rated it really liked it
I know a woman from a messaging board that had her sixth child last summer. A few days after his home birth he had to have instestinal surgery and then they discovered he had Down Syndrome. I have been following her blog,

Anyhow, in her blog she talked of this book, as did many other mom's of Down Syndrome children.

The title is based on a short essay by Emily Perl Kingsley. Everyone should read it here:
I think it is beauti
Jan 28, 2010 Kym rated it really liked it
Amazing. Simply Amazing. Groneberg writes so wonderfully about the journey she faced after finding out about her son's Down syndrome. So much of it rang true with me: the reactions of others, the process of accepting and healing from birth at the same time, and all the questions...the worry...all of it. I enjoyed the book because I identified with it, but I loved it because Groneberg has written a memoir that is accessible to everyone. Well written, emotional without being "over the top" and, in ...more
Aug 28, 2009 Lain rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There is no Down syndrome among my family or immediate friends, but Jennifer Graf Groneberg's book showed that EVERYONE is touched by Down syndrome. It put a personal face on what before was just a "nightmare diagnosis," one you don't want to have happen to you.

I appreciated Jennifer's honesty and openness, with her fears and struggles as well as her triumphs. I loved the emphasis on what her boys had in common rather than the ways in which Avery was so different.

The only criticism is that I w
Jan 07, 2016 Caitlin rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! Such raw emotions and you can feel the emotions that were put into the book. A must read & I will be reading it again in 2016!
Mar 14, 2010 Amy rated it it was amazing
I just re-read this book. Great book if you have a child with DS or know someone who does. But also a wonderful book about parenting in general, and relationships for that matter. When I was pregnant I was desperate to find stories of what day-to-day parenting was like... the logistics of it all. This gets into all the mundane details in a way that is totally readable and non-judgmental. Even though her details were about parenting a preemie and baby with DS, and a toddler - so much of it was re ...more
Feb 21, 2009 Rachel rated it it was amazing
In between reading "Sarah's quilt" I read this book. I had been meaning to read it for months, but no library had it. So I bought it.
Jennifer is so great at expressing her feelings about her son and a wonderful storyteller. Many times I felt as if she was able to give words to feelings I had not been able to come to terms with or admit I had been feeling. It was good therapy and I cried a time or two.
Reading this felt like I had found a friend.
I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone
Kerry Kenney
Dec 28, 2008 Kerry Kenney rated it it was amazing
I related to so many things from this book. The confusion following birth when your baby goes to NICU and your toddler is at home. Feeling overwhelmed by the demands of multiple youngsters. I also learned about Down syndrome. I thought it was "down's", I thought most children that had it had a shorter life expectancy. I had many misconceptions. I'm very glad I read this book. I feel like I won't say anything stupid or hurtful if I have a friend who has a child with Down syndrome. And besides bei ...more
Jun 21, 2009 Eileen rated it it was amazing
While reading the first few chapters of this book I was truly dismayed with Jennifer's feelings toward her son, Avery. Avery was born with Down Syndrome and Jennifer was having trouble accepting him. She took care of Avery's twin, Bennett while her husband watched after Avery. As the story unfolded, Avery won his mother's heart and she did everything possible to get him the care and support he needed.

I think this book would be good for someone who is trying to come to grips with their feelings
Aug 05, 2009 Kathy rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book - the author tells the story of the birth of her twin preemie sons, the devastating news that one of them had Down syndrome, and how she and her husband negotiated the first two years of little Avery's life. I admired her honesty about her struggle to come to terms with Avery's handicap and, once she did, the unavoidable differences in progress between Avery and his twin brother Bennett. And yet, she conveys an abiding love and joy and a thankfulness that instead of he ...more
Sep 21, 2013 Elizabeth rated it really liked it
Fantastic resources were listed at the end of the book, as well as a glossary of medical terms and diagnoses that babies with DS are tested more for than other babies. The story was personal and emotional. I got the sense that the author used the writing of this book as a way to remind herself of how many people held her hand and walked her through the process of understanding and coping with the scary side of parenthood. One down side was the floweriness of the prose. At times I was annoyed wit ...more
Lisa Lilienthal
Oct 11, 2011 Lisa Lilienthal rated it really liked it
In the category of books I have to read because they're about somebody with Down syndrome, I picked up Jennifer Graf Groneberg's sweet and soulful memoir of the first two years of her son's lives -- she has twin boys, one of whom has Down syndrome. I could relate strongly to her journey, and was moved by her perspective as I was reminded what those very early days of development were like, but I'm not sure that you'd want the level of detail on their day-to-day that she shares unless you've been ...more
Dec 16, 2014 Sara rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Very touching, though I would have preferred less personal reflection and more practical details on the growth of her son and the efficacy of the various treatments.
One of my most favorite books I have ever read, which may be because I can relate to her story because I have a baby with Down Syndrome. Her honesty and beautiful writing made me cry because of the hope they gave me, and also because it helped me not feel so alone on the journey we are just now starting.
Sep 11, 2009 Erica rated it really liked it
I'm always on the look out for a book or person to share with me their real experience of having a child with special needs. Reading this book was at times like reading my own thoughts. The author is so candid and real with her experiences and I so appreciated that. She doesn't cover up the difficult realities of having a child who is different than so many others but she also sees the beauty and blessings in being the mother to such a special child!
Jenn Sodiya
Mar 15, 2013 Jenn Sodiya rated it liked it
I found her writing honest and refreshing. I too have twins and one twin has Down syndrome and sickle cell anemia. It is hard to be objective with this book due to the closeness of my personal issue. I do believe that it is a "must read" for parents or caregivers of a child with Down syndrome. I was left feeling more hopeful for my child and with more tools to foster my child's development.
Feb 25, 2009 Christina rated it it was amazing
I was very skeptical to this book,e specially having a child with DS.
But. I loved it. It is very honest. It does show that the start is tough and the thought hard to get used to, but after that life goes on pretty much normal.
I would especially recomend it to someone who wants to understand what it is like having a child that is different. The feelings, the thoughts are so true.
Chris Desmottes
Sep 08, 2009 Chris Desmottes rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book, and the poem referenced is something everyone should keep for that friend or family member who is expecting a child with special needs. The author does not sugar coat anything. She reveals her true, honest and sometimes shocking revelations about having a baby with special needs.

A must read for any parent!
Lexi Magnusson
Jul 13, 2010 Lexi Magnusson rated it it was amazing
This book is about a woman who gives birth to twins early and finds out one has Down syndrome. It goes into detail about her grief, about trying to balance the needs of her other children, about losing friends and starting therapies. I needed this book right now.
Yvonne Coulombe
Dec 04, 2012 Yvonne Coulombe rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. This memoir has the potential to show other mothers of children with Down Syndrome that they are not alone, and that theirs and their child's lives should not be defined by this one diagnosis. A very powerful story by a very brave woman!
Jan 17, 2009 Kellie rated it it was ok
Shelves: memoirs
a mother’s story of her journey to love her son - she had twins, knew she was having twins, but didn’t know that one would be born with Down Syndrome - I can definitely relate to a lot of it - not as inspiring as I thought it would be, but honest
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I live and write at the end of a twisty gravel road in the mountains of northwest Montana with my husband Tom (who is also a writer) and our three boys. There are words scribbled beneath the paint on the walls, things like "books" and "happiness" and "love." They were my wishes for our family while I was pregnant with the twins; it took me a while to realize they'd all come true.
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