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The Child Who Never Grew

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3.88 of 5 stars 3.88  ·  rating details  ·  235 ratings  ·  40 reviews
Originally published in 1950, Buck's account of her struggle to help and understand her daughter with mental retardation was perhaps the first disclosure of its kind by a public figure. New material written for this edition amplifies her story and gives the book a historical perspective.
Paperback, 107 pages
Published January 1st 1992 by Woodbine House (first published January 1st 1969)
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Lisa
One might consider The Good Earth as Pearl S. Buck's magnum opus, after all she did win a Pulitzer Prize because of it. She also won a Nobel Prize for Literature for many of her other literary works. However, for one to really understand the drive and the reason behind writing such great works of literature that she wrote during her lifetime, it would be imperative to read this book. By doing so, you begin to understand how and why Pearl S. Buck became the great author and humanitarian that she ...more
Edith
This very slim volume comprised of a mere 62 pages was originally an article in the Ladies’ Home Journal in 1950. In this small book, Pearl Buck tells a bit of the story of her firstborn child who was born to her when she was living in North China. I say “a bit” because Pearl has a unique style of writing; she does not share details but paints her story in broad strokes. She never mentions her daughter’s name, and oddest of all, she never mentions her husband or the child’s father. (I have read ...more
Leona
This small book (only 62 pages long) delivers an incredibly powerful story. It never deviates from the topic at hand; how to accept, nourish and love a child born with a mental disability. The book was first written as a 1950's article for Ladies Home Journal as a way to educate people and help guide them through a world that didn't offer many solutions or avenues of help. This is Pearl's own story, and is evocatively told as only she could do.

I was saddened by her journey. But her strength of
...more
J.J. Brown
This short book is a tragic, first hand account of being the mother of a child who although born normal, became retarded as she grew physically but not mentally during her childhood. This child, we now know, had an inherited genetic disorder called PKU, phenyketonuria, that poisons the brain and causes mental retardation if not treated early during infancy with a special low-protein diet. I myself have two daughters with PKU, both treated successfully in infancy and childhood - because the times ...more
josey
What a marvelous book. Pearl Buck speaks about her only child, a child that was mentally challenged, and through lessons she learned about the child she became a more compassionate person.

This is what I wish to remain with me:

"So by this most sorrowful way I was compelled to tread, I learned respect and reverence for every human mind. It was my child who taught me to understand so clearly that all people are equal in their humanity and that all have the same human rights. None is to be considere
...more
Asuka
I didn't know about Pearl S Buck. I had no idea she was a Nobel Prize winning author. I didn't find her writing particularly great. But I think it is the topic and the time. This was decades and decades ago. This is when admitting that you have a mentally challenged child was frowned upon. This is when being half Asian made you unadoptable. In her time, to talk about her daughter was brave and unheard of. Some readers might be horrified to hear that she left her daughter at an institution. But I ...more
Lee
I loved this book front to back. Such an amazing story of a mother's trials with a handicapped child - a must read for all mothers, daughters, for everyone.

"The gift that is hidden inher shows itself in the still ecstasy with which she listens to great symphonies, her lips smiling, her eyes gazing off into what distance I do not know."

Pearl S. Buck is one of my favorite authors and this is an account of her life with her handicapped daughter. Heartbreaking and full of love.

Highly recommend every
...more
Jennifer
As a parent of a child that passed away that was special needs I found this book to be amazingly poiniont. The section where her daughter spoke of how Pearl Buck had become so involved in helping others and not spending time with her family spoke so much to me along with what Pearl Buck had to go through in making the decisions that she had to for her daughter with special needs. Everything is such a fine line and it is wonderful to be reminded of this every once in a while so that when deciding ...more
Kate
I believe this is a good description of what a mothers pain and denial are like when finding out they have a mentally retarded child. I have done lots of research into Pearl S Buck and am lucky to have the ability to visit her house and non profit. I don't always enjoy all her writings but did enjoy this one.
Mary G
This short book is actually more of a monograph. I thought I was selecting a memoir focused on Buck herself, but the author shares a particular part of her own story, namely, her experiences as mother of a child born with severe developmental delays (as it would now be termed). In 1920 when Buck's daughter Carol was born, little was known about this condition, nor did facilities widely exist to teach and nurture such children appropriately. The book reflects Buck's tireless and long search for a ...more
Paulina Keith
This book was a very inspirational book. It preaches to never give up. This book is about a child that had autism and never grew mentally. She didn't talk throughout almost the whole book. It is written by the childs mother. She never tells her daughters name, for which I respect that. They didn't know anything about the disease because this was in the late 40s. The mother takes her daughter to a preschool evaluation to sign her up and they realized something was wrong. They went to many differe ...more
Harriett Milnes
A sad book about Pearl Buck's struggle to understand and provide for her daughter who was born with PKU. A child born with PKU today is diagnosed quickly and does not experience mental retardation.

The saddest part was when Pearl Buck decided to work with her daughter every day to teach her to read and write. Then she touched her daughter's hand and realized that Carol's hand was sweating. Her poor daughter was trying her best. Pearl decided then to make sure her daughter was happy. In those day
...more
Nancy
Pearl S. Buck was driven to provide institutional care for her mentally retarded daughter. That led to her writing so many books. She did a great deal to find homes for children who were fathered by American soilders, who were considered unadoptable. It was strange that she didn't refer to her daughter's name in this book. The last chapter was written by her daughter, Janet, who referred to her sister as Carol. Janet was sent to boarding schools. Her mother was not able to give her children the ...more
Ashley (For the Love of the Page)
This book was well written for what it was. The only reason I decided to pick it up was because my boss for the summer at my library job insisted I read a couple of books by Pearl S. Buck. So, I did!

This book was mainly a book for people who gave birth to "mentally deficient" children as they stated in the book. It was more so almost a guide for parents to follow for best taking care of their special children during the 1950's. The author had personal experience with such circumstances as she ha
...more
Kelly
I really enjoyed this and despite the currently not politically correct terminology, she was way ahead of her time in her thinking about people with disabilities. As a mother and a former special education teacher, I really appreciated her sentiments.
Lisa
Jan 05, 2015 Lisa added it
Definitely not what I was expecting. I heard Pearl Buck was a good author, picked a book at random. This is a memoir. Not a story. Since I do not have children, or plans for them in the future, this book did not apply to me.
Kolleen
This was a book that I had to read for my Human Exceptionalities class. It's a small little book at about 90 pages about one woman's true account of having a child with a mental disability. Rather than using technical terminology to describe the child's condition, Buck details her day-to-day accounts and emotions of raising a child with a disability.

This is a truly heartfelt book, and although it was a school book, I would still recommend it. This gives an emotional account from a mother's poin
...more
Dayna Hauschild
Very interesting read! Insightful look into a very private part of Pearl Buck's life. Quick read yet profound
Cindy
Growing up not far from Pearl Buck's home, I have always enjoyed anything connected to her. This little book is one I had not known about previously. It is Buck's struggle accepting the birth of a handicapped child and her attempts to provide for her in adulthood. Since this occurred in the 20s - 50s, it provides a rare insight into the perceptions, educational philosophies and care for mentally handicapped children and adults at this time. I wish I had read it when taking special ed. classes in ...more
Alice Lee
This is the first work by Pearl S. Buck I've read, and throughout this short little book I can't help but be amazed, again and again, by how magnificent and inspiring a woman Pearl is. There were moments so heartbreaking that I felt an urge to cry - I, who is the least maternal person you can find. Anyway. This definitely sparked my interest in her life and her writing. What I found particularly interesting also was the afterword written by Janice Walsh, which cleared up many of the questions Pe ...more
Mary Frances
Heartfelt, but a real artifact of an earlier view of children with disabilities. I found it maudlin and not really very touching.
Scarlet
Written by the mother of a "mentally retarded" child this book takes you through the life of the family and the steps that were taken back in the 1920s when a mother found out that her child is "mentally retarded" including the steps to finding an institution for her daughter.

This book can be used in a highschool classroom to teach about history and the way people were treated, how times have changed, and how the love of a mother never waivers.
Kristina
Intrigued by the real life of the great author Pearl S. Buck, I picked up this short book. It was tragic and heartbreaking and I can only imagine the pain of having a mentally disabled child during a time when carried such a stigma. An interesting read for those interested in what raising a mentally challenged child was like before it became socially acceptable to do so at home.
Lynn A. Nysse
A wonderful read by Pearl S. Buck.

Her one and only child was mentally retarded.

A discussion of the history of mental retardation as well as essays by Buck's friend and former neighbor, James A. Michener offers the readers a better understanding of who Buck was in the 1950's.

A short book real worth the read....
jtabz
Aug 01, 2007 jtabz rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: not many people
Shelves: memoir
Buck's memoir about her time with her developmentally delayed daughter was written to be informative and reflective, but I couldn't get past the feeling it was a big pity party--self-pity, pity for her daughter (who she institutionalized when she was nine), pity for mentally retarded children in general. Disappointing.
Karen B
Ms Buck tells how agonizing it is for a mother to face that her child has a disability that will never allow that child to mature normally. She relates how she went about making decisions about how to care for such a child throughout its life.
Peggy
This is a beautifully written and deeply moving account of Pearl S. Buck's daughter, Carol Buck. I've read almost all of Buck's books and I can see little vignettes of her daughter in quite a few, starting with The Good Earth.
Karen
I read this book because I had a child with PKU in my preschool class when I first started teaching. It was an interesting read and I learned some things about the Vineland School, which is here in NJ.
Patricia
In a world where "abnormal" children were hidden from the world, it took great fortitude for Pearl Buck to reveal her angst and joy in her Down's
Syndrome child. I appreciated this book very much!
Bianca
Pearl Buck (of The Good Earth fame) wrote this about her mentally handicapped daughter back in the day where it was acceptable treatment to institutionalize. Interesting perspective.
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Pearl Sydenstricker Buck (1892–1973) was a bestselling and Nobel Prize–winning author. Her classic novel The Good Earth (1931) was awarded a Pulitzer Prize and William Dean Howells Medal. Born in Hillsboro, West Virginia, Buck was the daughter of missionaries and spent much of the first half of her life in China, where many of her books are set. In 1934, civil unrest in China forced Buck back to t ...more
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“Sorrow fully accepted brings its own gifts. For there is alchemy in sorrow. It can be transmitted into wisdom, which, if it does not bring joy, can yet bring happiness.” 40 likes
“We learn as much from sorrow as from joy, as much from illness as from health, from handicap as from advantage—and indeed perhaps more.” 3 likes
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