Laura's Reviews > Expecting Adam: A True Story of Birth, Rebirth, and Everyday Magic

Expecting Adam by Martha N. Beck
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's review
Jun 27, 2012

really liked it
Read in June, 2012

Martha Beck has some of the best, laugh-out-loud funny similes and metaphors around. You wouldn't expect for an account of a pregnancy to be a riveting page-turner, but, because of her vivid and fast-paced writing, it is. This is the story of how her pregnancy with her son who has Down's syndrome profoundly changed her and her husband's perspectives on life. The pregnancy with Adam not brought into their lives a deeper spiritual/supernatural experience that surpasses any religious dogma or rigidity. Almost more than that, though, coming to terms with the reality that their baby was, from the get-go, not going to have any chance at being exceptionally perfect (i.e. Harvard material as both Martha and her husband were), forced them to confront and deconstruct the entire rigid, narcissistic structure that they had pushed their lives to fit.

For me, this book is about letting go of unhealthy narcissistic attachments and, in doing so, finding genuine connection with other people. What a surprise to find that it isn't the ruthless climb to the top of the academic or corporate (they're not that different) ladder that brings happiness but the simple beauty of loving another human being and continually finding joy in our humility before the wonders of life.

I gave this book 4 stars instead of 5, because sometimes the story jumped too fast from one intense event to the next, and sometimes, just sometimes, those hilarious similes and metaphors felt a little overdone.

It was strange to read this book after having read "Leaving the Saints," because I already knew the deeper, even more life-changing discoveries that Martha was going to make in the future.

I also have to say that I completely admire Martha Beck for having the guts to put her life and her experiences out there. Especially given the family and the community that she came from (no surprise that she went from Mormon to Harvard... both thrive on narcissism and denial of abusive dynamics), it took even more courage for her to write her story. Whenever I read a good memoir or autobiography, it inspires me to remember how much value there is in sharing our life stories.

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