While I have to agree with some other reviewers who found Reston's account of his daughter's struggle against some pretty awful circumstances to be cu...moreWhile I have to agree with some other reviewers who found Reston's account of his daughter's struggle against some pretty awful circumstances to be curiously bloodless at times, it is nevertheless a powerful story, well-told, of a family's fight for their beloved little girl. Reston's struggle against a sometimes incompetent medical world was particularly vivid to me, particularly in how, at every turn, his family was faced with unwavering "expert" diagnostic conclusions, many of which were ultimately wrong and occasionally to the extreme detriment of his daughter. This is quite simply a very important book, and one that I'm glad I finally got around to reading.
(In the interest of full disclosure, I should mention that I read this book specifically because I was curious as to how Reston's narrative would compare to my own in my book, published about two years later. As a result, I suspect that came into this book predisposed to like it.)(less)
I went into this book thinking that I had a straightforward mystery in my hands. By the time I was done, I found that "Janeology" is so much more. Thi...moreI went into this book thinking that I had a straightforward mystery in my hands. By the time I was done, I found that "Janeology" is so much more. This book is a surprise, and a very welcome one.
Harrington takes a story that is all too familiar to us -- the murder of a child by a seemingly ordinary young mother who simply can't do it anymore -- and examines deeper issues of responsibility, the power of regret, and the ongoing deliberation concerning nature versus nurture. What begins as a courtroom drama evolves into a sometimes heartbreaking exploration of one family's past and the threads, both genetic and environmental, that connect us all to the unseen generations before us.
As a storyteller, Karen Harrington creates believable characters: flawed, fragile, belligerent, and yet ultimately hopeful. Her dialogue, both contemporary and period, rings true. Most refreshingly, Harrington allows her story to avoid obvious paths and easy, instant gratification. When you reach the last pages, you will find yourself in a very different place than you might have anticipated. Different, and deeply satisfying.(less)
When I bought Rebecca Woolf's "Rockabye: From Wild to Child", I was sold a misleading bill of goods. Like Neal Pollack's "Alternadad", Woolf's memoir...moreWhen I bought Rebecca Woolf's "Rockabye: From Wild to Child", I was sold a misleading bill of goods. Like Neal Pollack's "Alternadad", Woolf's memoir was marketed as the story of a party-all-nighter's quest to transition to parenthood without losing her innate coolness. And like Pollack's memoir, "Rockabye" turned out to be so much more. It's a heartfelt exploration of a new parent's discovery of her heart and soul, awakened by the birth of her child, and how, in finding her own way to be that son's very best parent, she finds her true self. Woolf writes with unblinking honesty and a stunning gift for language. I've never been so happy to find that a book I'm reading is not the book I thought it was going to be.(less)