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A Slant of Sun: One Child's Courage

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  264 ratings  ·  41 reviews
Named a Best Book of the Year by Salon magazine and The Philadelphia Inquirer, A Slant of Sun was praised for its incandescent prose about the experience of loving a child who brings tremendous frustration and incalculable rewards and for its extraordinary resonance. Like Operating Instructions and The Liars' Club, A Slant of Sun is a contemporary classic.

Nearly one in fiv
Paperback, 256 pages
Published September 22nd 1999 by Harper Perennial (first published June 1st 1998)
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4.02  · 
Rating details
 ·  264 ratings  ·  41 reviews

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Dec 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing
There are things about this book that are both powerful and difficult to read. I wonder if this is because Kephart has worked so hard to be honest, maybe with herself first.

Here is a quotation:
"Imagining motherhood is like imagining yourself old: There are no accurate forecasts. I guess I assumed I would know more. Pregnant, I assumed that mother's intuition was a hard, certain thing, a perpetually replenishing reservoir of basic instinct. If there were problems, the gut would howl it. If there
Lori Gertz
May 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Kephart's prose is so beautifully written I couldn't wait to pick it up every night. A touching story of a mother whose first child is diagnosed with PDD as a toddler. This book is her journey through discovery of who her son is both despite his challenges and in celebration of his differentness.

There is an extraordinary scene towards the end of a book where a woman with tragic facial disfiguration enters the restaurant that she and her son are sitting in. She knows this woman's disability will
Apr 18, 2008 rated it really liked it
A memoir written about her son and his diagnosis of Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified.

This is a lovely book that is written in elegant prose and highlights Beth Kephart's son, Jeremy. What I really liked about this book were all the poetic elements that struck a cord in your heart and perfectly illustrated what Beth Kephart was going through. I enjoyed this book, I would recommend it to anyone who wanted a different perspective on childern and their remarkable courage.

Don Moore
Apr 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This book is on my favorites shelf and I am reading it for the 3rd time, having first read it eight years ago. As a guy, I found this this story profoundly moving as, through it,I found myself revisiting my own boyhood with its pain, passions and challenges. It is a beautifully written story that tells of the courageous efforts of both a mother and her son, working together, to face and overcome the challenges that this little boy faced. What came through to me, so beautifully and honestly descr ...more
Aug 09, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone who loves kids
Recommended to Eva by: My cousin, Irene
Since I have a cousin who was diagnosed as being in the "autistic spectrum", this book hit really close to home. I found it to be inspiringly hopeful and uplifting as well as beautifully written.
Rose Anderson
Jan 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A heart-wrenching story of a mother as she discovers that her beloved child is not quote normal, possibly autistic. Very heart-warming as her son progresses.
Jan 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Jennifer by: Tekulve
Shelves: mfa
If you have a child that has a disability, but you see it as an opportunity for him/her to blossom--then this emotionnal tale will lift your heart.
Jan 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Beautifully written. Kephart is a writer by profession, now writing about her son. She could be writing about car wax and her words would enchant. But, spilling out her heart about her child… it’s breathtaking. Like all the anecdotal books, I appreciate seeing the parade of emotions and experiences spilled out on the page.

Amazon Book Description:
At a time when as many as one in five children face the challenge of growing up with a behavioral disorder, more and more parents are finding themselves
Nov 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is a beautifully written chronicle of a mother's realization that something is not right with her child, and her struggle to define what the problem is, and how to best help her son. Beth Kephart is a writer, who stays home with her first child, and who gradually begins to notice that Jeremy is not like other children.He seldom speaks, and when he does it is never in sentences. He is not interested in other kids, or in most toys. Except for cars, he is obsessed with toy cars, and spends ho ...more
Jan 27, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: special-needs, autism
A really touching story of a mother's love, courage, and persistance. A great read for getting a parent's perspective on raising a child with special needs, in this case Pervasive Developmental Delays Not Otherwise Specified--an Autism Spectrum Disorder. It is a bit dated, so it might not have the most up-to-date therapies but I think that there is something universal in the process she and her husband went through as they started thinking "Is this normal?" and "What is best for my child?" I sus ...more
Apr 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
One added note: The summary of goodreads refers to her son's diagnosis/disability as a tragedy. That's horribly inaccurate and at no point does the author imply that sentiment at all!


A well-written book that has the crafted sentences of fiction about a non-fiction tale. Any parent who has felt less-than in relation to their spouse, their child, other parents, experts, doctors can relate to the authors honest words.

It should not inspire you to do exactly what these parents did - this is not a
Jul 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing
A gorgeous, deeply moving book written in Beth Kephart's signature style. There is not a throw-away sentence in any of Beth's work. Her writing is like a truffle - intense and to be savored slowly for the rich, multi-layered experience.

Beth's honest, searing account of her son's journey through a developmental disorder diagnosed at an early age - and her accompanying journey as his mother - is a triumph.

Whether you have faced similar challenges or not, this book will live in your heart.
Stacia Mcconnell
Aug 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
I agree: not a tragedy, but definitely a high hurdle that most parents don't face. Unfortunately, it struck me as one of those stories that makes it seem that parents can "fix" their child with certain modifications. Many children with this diagnoses do not have the high level of communication necessary to be able to straddle such hurdles. Most likely, their family's life is then modified to meet the needs of the child. I wonder how they would have coped if they had a "normal" child first who wo ...more
Victoria Lees
Dec 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A Slant of Sun by Beth Kephart is about a journey of an extraordinary mother and son relationship, a relationship of wonder, a relationship of need. Kephart collects memories in her heart and paints them in vivid imagery and beautiful poetry for the reader. Through one of her conversations with her son, Kephart reminds all people to believe in themselves. Jeremy is one lucky young man, and we, as readers, are privileged to learn right along with him. For all parents who have special needs childr ...more
Jul 04, 2010 rated it really liked it
Kephart read at Saint Joe's more than a decade ago from this book, and it is a lovely book about autism, dealing with difference and all kinds of things. One of the best things she said was that it is the narrative I in creative nonfiction that needs to take responsibility for the bad in the book, that the characters/people in the book should be portrayed in the best light as possible (I am paraphrasing here). It's something that has stayed with me.
Dec 31, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I must be going against the rail here because I didn't find this book good as most people. I did find it interesting in some parts but also found that this book , even though Beth did what she could for son the best she could, I did feel like it was all about Beth and how her world turned upside down and that she couldn't enjoy her life that way she did before. It felt as I was reading a pity party for her rather then getting to know the struggles about her son's diverse needs.
Dec 29, 2007 rated it liked it
A memoir by the mother of a child with Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified. Chosen by Ed at the Readers Forum as a possibility for a book club. A bit slow going at first but by page 60 I was into it.
It paints a picture of what it's like to live day-to-day with a child with a serious condition including parental self-doubt and feelings of inadequacy.
Susan Bazzett-Griffith
Mar 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
I read this book several years ago, and Kephart's descriptions of her struggles and joys with her son still resonate. I found it today while cleaning and flipped through it, rereading certain passages, and her beautiful prose is to be celebrated. A great read for any parent, and particularly for any parents with special needs children.
Aug 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir, non-fiction
I found this book very difficult to read. The heartbreak of having a child who is/would be different in profound ways affected me. Kephart's story though is far from tragic. Beautifully written, it is the story of working with and embracing differences, working toward wholeness, and love. It is the best kind of book, a book about love's great triumphs.
Ambrose Miles
Apr 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This was an excellent book about real people who let you get a look at their real feelings. Beth never portrayed herself as the perfect parent. You will find that Beth makes mistakes and will tell you all about them. Both she and Jeremy, her son, become successful at learning to live with abilities and disabilities.
May 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is an amazing book by a stunning writer. Her courage and honesty about raising a child who is different are commendable, but it's her poetic prose that elevates this beyond memoir into a truly great book.
Anne Marie
Cried so many times getting through this one - could relate so incredibly, even down to the obsessions. My own son's progress was strikingly similar. I wouldn't have been able to put it all in writing - much too painful. Thank you Beth Kephart - it's not just your son who had courage...
Feb 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
A mother and father raising an autistic child. One of the best examples of deep mother love that I have ever read. This woman will and does do anything in her power to help this little boy succeed dispite his handicap. Her pure love touched my heart
Mar 21, 2008 rated it really liked it
Keeping in mind that this was written in 1998 and that medicine has come a long way since then, it is none the less very well written and offers lessons on how much children can teach us if we only listen. It also offers reaffirmation that "mother knows best".
Oct 26, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: parenting, memoir
In my quest to read whatever I can find about children on the autistic spectrum, I came across this memoir. Beth Kephart's writing is compelling and honest. She talks about both her triumphs and failures as she and her husband struggle to forge the best path for their son, Jeremy.
Feb 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is a poignant story about a mother of a child who is diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder - Not Otherwise Specified. It is a story about unconditional love. Kephart shares her journey in beautiful prose. I read this for a class I am taking on autism and LOVED it!
Jul 14, 2009 rated it liked it
A true story of the challenges of raising an autistic child and the time it takes to find the right schools, the right people who understand the patience and effort it takes to make even one small step forward. Very well written by a very loving and committed mother.
Jan 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful book that is both heartbreaking and heartwarming. Kephhart's journey through Motherhood is fraught with challenges that are worked through with great love and patience. A must read for any mother!
Feb 16, 2008 rated it really liked it
A great book that I had to read for a class I took last year (Partnering with Families of Children with Special Needs). It gives a touching perspective of a mother with a son who is diagnosed with PDD, NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Not Otherwise Specified - A spectrum disorder).
Jan 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
Beautifully written account of one mother's journey as she learns her son has autism and how her family finds ways to help him and try to understand his world.
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Though I've been writing since I was nine years old, I didn't publish beyond my high school literary journal until I was a new mother. My first published essay was in Iowa Woman; subsequently, I published short stories in dozens of literary magazines—learning, always, what worked or what didn't by reading far more than I wrote.

My first book, A SLANT OF SUN, a memoir, was a National Book Award fin