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352 pages, Hardcover
First published April 4, 2013
She makes exquisite little hand movements, delicate as rare orchids in high cloud forests. Her expressions change like weather fronts. I love the serious way she takes her milk from a bottle, a thousand-mile gaze of concentration in her slate-colored eyes. Afterward, she’s sated, drunken, collapsed. When I tilt her forward to burp her, her arms swing forward reflexively, a baby monkey clinging to its mother. As we drift off to sleep, she swims toward me. I never see or feel her move, but when I wake she’s snuggled under my armpit, the sheet soaked where my breasts have rained down on her.This is an honest book. Being Freya’s parents is tough, and Anna and Tobias frequently are irrational, even hateful. The reader can only wonder how she would cope in the same situation; after all, Freya as a baby is still appealing. But her diagnosis means that she will never sit or stand; how will her parents manage as Freya grows? Should they institutionalize her? Will they ever forgive themselves if they do?
She’s my own, my baby, and she’s perfect. I’m entirely content.
Then the switch flicks in my head and the doctors’ diagnoses become abruptly real. I hang onto her and cry, for minutes, for hours.