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The Boy Who Loved Too Much: A True Story of Pathological Friendliness
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The Boy Who Loved Too Much: A True Story of Pathological Friendliness

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  593 ratings  ·  96 reviews
The poignant story of a boy’s coming-of-age complicated by Williams syndrome, a genetic disorder that makes people biologically incapable of distrust.

What would it be like to see everyone as a friend? Twelve-year-old Eli D’Angelo has a genetic disorder that obliterates social inhibitions, making him irrepressibly friendly, indiscriminately trusting, and unconditionally lov
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published June 20th 2017 by Simon Schuster
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Kira FlowerChild Yup. I got my copy from the public library. If your local library doesn't have it, see if they can get it through interlibrary loan.

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4.05  · 
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 ·  593 ratings  ·  96 reviews

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Evelina | AvalinahsBooks
I have a weakness for non-fiction that talks about tough topics. I spot a book about disability, being different, diversity, suffering, all that stuff... I click buy. Request. Read. That's just who I am.

Come on, does the cover not already capture you? How could someone love too much? How can there be too much love???

(If the GIFs don’t load, read this post here on my blog)

These questions are easily answered within the first few pages of the book. It's not even fictional, although the ti
Feb 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Boy Who Loved Too Much by Jennifer Latson is a true story about a boy living with Williams Syndrome, a genetic disorder. Williams Syndrome is quite rare and causes those affected to be born socially fearless, among a few other ailments.

The book takes you through Eli's childhood up through high school. He's cared for by his mother Gayle and there are many struggles along the way. I was amazed by Gayle's tremendous courage.

Up until now, I didn't know much about Williams Syndrome. I found the
Jun 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Before this true story caught my eye, I’d never heard of Williams syndrome. The condition is described as a “cocktail party syndrome that makes people socially fearless”. The human body and brain functions are amazing yet many like me don’t often give them a second thought.

Caused by the absence of “twenty-six genes from one strand of chromosome 7”, this genetic fluke exposes itself in odd ways in what is estimated to be 1 in 10,000 people. Thanks to Jennifer Latson for sharing this very personal
Sep 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction-btr
This is a very emotional challenging book about a syndrome that affects kids and makes them trust everybody, the name of the syndrome is Williams syndrome. The book focuses on Eli (who suffers from that disorder) and all the challenges his mom has to go through to keep him from experiencing pain or rejection, she learns to trust more people around her son and we learn more about the disorder. It is a very emotional charged book as we learn all that Eli has to go through just to be accepted and n ...more
Feb 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Boy Who Loved Too Much is an astoundingly intimate and in-depth look at the relationship between a single mother and son who has Williams syndrome. As much about Gayle and Eli D'Angelo's personal stories as the science of the genetic disorder itself, the book also explores how individuals with intellectual and other disabilities live in and are treated by institutions in the U.S.

Eli was diagnosed with Williams syndrome at a young age after he failed to reach some developmental goals and pres
Davyne DeSye
May 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Interesting read!

Like almost everybody else, I had never heard of Williams syndrome before reading a review of this book. I was intrigued enough from the review to give it a shot, and I’m glad I did.

Williams syndrome is a genetic disorder that, by causing an increase in a certain chemical’s production, leaves people with the syndrome not just lacking social fear but craving social interaction from anyone and everyone. It does create some medical/physical problems as well and almost inevitably co
Jan 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ebook, nonfiction, science
Edelweiss ebook ARC - publication date June 2017.

Fascinating look at Williams Syndrome - a genetic condition affecting 1 in 10,000 people in which a handful of genes are deleted from a chromosome. Features of the condition include developmental delays and health problems, but also highly social personalities, verbal skills, and musical ability.

Following 12-year-old Eli and his mom Gayle over the course of several years, this is an indictment of our health care system and a society which makes i
Aug 30, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: group-challenges
3.5 stars
Jan 08, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
This is the coming of age story of Eli D'Angelo, but unlike any other of this genre. Eli was born with Williams Syndrome, a genetic disorder that removes any social skepticism. Eli believes everyone is his friend (even dangerous types) and this sadly makes him a target to danger. The chapters alternate between Eli's story and the history/research of Williams Syndrome, which is often called the opposite of autism.

I read an advance copy and was not compensated.
Jan 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was an interesting book. I'd ever heard of Williams Syndrome before and found the story of Eli fascinating. His mother, Gayle, seems very loving and supportive of his son. It must be challenging to raise a child like Eli. I'm thinking this book will be very insightful for those parents whose children have Williams syndrome and their families, as well.
Jul 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Ugh, the feelings in this one.
The Boy Who Loved Too Much is a story about Williams Syndrome- a genetic disorder that makes people biologically incapable of distrust. They love everybody. They want to hug everybody. They will tell strangers "I love you!" when they see them, and will honestly feel incredibly sad and say "I miss you!" when the stranger leaves. This sounds odd in daily life- and it's hard to see how this genetic disorder can have a negative effect. But this book does a great job of
Aug 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Don't expect this one to be just a story of a boy with William's syndrome and his mom's struggles to raise him and cope with her child's disability. It is more than that. It is also informational and presents the reader with facts, statistics, and discoveries that are relevant to William's syndrome. I liked that it wasn't just informational and that it included Gale's and Eli's experiences, it made it more personal. I just wish I knew how Gale and Eli are doing now. I feel like I've lost touch w ...more
Gerard Villegas
From the age of 12 to 16, Jennifer Latson observed a young man by the name of Eli who was diagnosed with Williams Syndrome, a chromosomal disorder where 26 to 27 genetic coding is missing from a Chromosome 7. Typical characteristics of Williams is an elfish looking appearance, internal health issues, and an inability to comprehend appropriate social behavior. Unlike the common behavioral patterns that make autistic children extroverted, Williams is the direct opposite where individuals are much ...more
David Quinn
Apr 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You don't need to be a parent to appreciate the challenges and fears "Gayle" faces when she learns her only child "Eli" has Williams syndrome. The very moment she learns of his rare genetic condition her present and future are permanently changed. Her concerns are countless but they always boil down to her son's future and how he will be cared for when Gayle is gone.

Jennifer Latson does a nice job of telling the mother/son story along with the medical/genetic foundation of the disorder. (I can't
Kira FlowerChild
Good book and I am actually interested in this type of thing but the story just didn't grab me. I feel sympathy for people who have Williams Syndrome and especially for their parents and relatives who have to deal with the health and developmental problems these children (and adults) are prone to. I just wasn't interested enough to follow this story all the way to the main character's high school graduation. I think this story would be better told in an article or even a series of two or three a ...more
Monica Purwanti
Oct 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
I’d never even heard of Williams syndrome before I started reading this book. Now I cannot stop thinking about it, how extraordinary these people and their families are. I cried a couple of times, not because it was sad but because it was touching.

“A friend was simply someone he’d interacted joyfully with - a definition that encompasses nearly everyone.”

“It’s not quite fair to say that the world would be a better place if everyone had Williams, but it would unquestionably be friendlier.”

“If lov
Aug 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
This book interested me because I had a student with Williams syndrome. Watching her, at 3, interact with everyone at full excitement was adorable, but also left us wondering and scared for her future. It was interesting to read about a middle schooler, how that exuberance might develop as she ages. This was a good book. I'm going to recommend it to parents in my class (I teach preschool disabilities).
Jan 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a very well written book for the layman, beautifully laid out from the point of view of the parent, but including research that is easy to understand. Fascinating! I think I had only heard of Williams Syndrome as a vague reference or occasional footnote while researching autism and/or Downs Syndrome.
Amy Turner
Aug 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
I've been reading a lot about neurodivergent people. This one caught my eye with the phrase "pathologicical friendliness" which reminds me of my dog Sasha. Loving everyone in sight works better for a dog than for a child with other disabilities. I'm a sucker for case studies, and this was a good one.
Kaitlyn lovell
I’m pretty sure my book had a misprint in the beginning which was confusing but once it got to the actual book I enjoyed it. I liked learning about Williams syndrome and the book was super informational. Well written and the stories of Eli’s life made the book move fast.
Rohan Khadilkar
Aug 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A world of blind faith & love that has "no boundaries". A genetic disorder to love blindly. The boy who loved too much makes for an excellent read. Its an intimate account of the relationship between a mother and her specially-abled son.
Sep 05, 2018 rated it liked it
I enjoyed the topic, and learning more about it, but felt that there was too much scientific data and not enough of Eli and Gayle's story. I felt like it was marketed as more of a story, but then found myself digging through heavy scientific information. I did enjoy the second half more than the first. Glad I finished it, just wish it had been a little more balanced.
Feb 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science, non-fiction
I initially shelved this in "science." But, it really isn't. And perhaps had I not had the expectation of there being a more scientific approach to the story, I might have loved it more. First and foremost, it is a biography of Eli and his mother.

As a story of Eli, it's slightly heart wrenching and quite a fast read. My biggest complaint was that the story did not (and could not due to his actual age) follow Eli into adulthood. The story felt unfinished. I would not have expected a birth to deat
Vanessa Jones
Jun 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A book every parent should read. I found myself in tears quite often. Every parent wants the 'best' for their child, so it is unimaginable being told the most your child may be able to do is wash dishes (if that). But, her son is SO happy about EVERYTHING. So, if he's happy, why shouldn't she be happy? It's quite the conundrum, and a very interesting look into Wilson's syndrome. Although nothing is held back in this book, it is a quick read.
Apr 30, 2018 rated it liked it
This is a very readable book about a boy born with Williams Syndrome, a genetic disorder that affects people with a range of physical ailments as well as psychological problems. The book refers to it as the opposite of autism. One of the features of the syndrome is an inability to filter their impressions of and reactions to other people. The "loved too much" part of the title is a somewhat sentimentalized description of certain behavioral issues, like being immediately affectionate with strange ...more
Jan 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
An excellent book especially for a first time author. It is a coming of age book unlike any other. The story of a boy who is born with Williams Syndrome a condition that is caused by the loss of some twenty-six genes. The story contains the necessary accurate details about the genetics, medicine and science behind the disorder that should satisfy a scientist reading the book but by far its strong suit is the detailed and observant nature of the author in describing the life of the boy as he appr ...more
Rachel Burdin
Sep 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
The book chronicles a son with Williams Syndrome* (Eli), and his mother (Gayle).

The linguists in my feed will be familiar with Williams Syndrome, which often gets cited as evidence for a language facility separate from general intelligence: people with Williams Syndrome are linguistically gifted, but have intellectual disabilities, or so the story goes. I had heard that particular theory shot down before--further research has shown that people with WS do in fact have language disorders--but Lar
Jan 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book was a journey.

I picked it up after seeing it in my school’s library, I had to read it. I admit I didn’t know about Williams Syndrome before reading this, but reading this book not only taught me about Williams Syndrome itself, but it showed me a real perspective on it. It was an eye-opening read. It didn’t shy talking about Gayle and Eli’s challenges faced and their milestones. We really see Gayle as she learns to adjust to raising a son whose very nature makes him love everyone. How
Ashley Place
Aug 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is very important for my family, as we too have a family member with WS. This book is articulates all of the important fact to better understand the Syndrome. We are grateful for the support and publicity, as too often the public has never heard of WS. Hopefully, this story will be a stepping stone for families like mine.

For every fact, I may have only known every other, or not put two and two together. As my very best friend and cousin has WS, I'm very versed with the facts, but I st
Kathleen Garber
Mar 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was a very interesting read. I love reading about disorders and conditions that I don’t struggle with so I can learn what life is like for others. This was a nice change from all the memoirs about special needs I’ve read in that it’s not written by the family it’s about, but about a third party who followed the family for years and documented what she saw.

The book is not just about the life of the family and how they deal with Williams syndrome but is intermingled with chapters about the sc
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“The cruel irony of the disorder is that the very people who crave social connection the most aren't well adapted to get it. Their insatiable drive to connect is, in itself, what ultimately pushes people away.” 0 likes
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