Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A Different Life: Growing Up Learning Disabled and Other Adventures” as Want to Read:
A Different Life: Growing Up Learning Disabled and Other Adventures
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

A Different Life: Growing Up Learning Disabled and Other Adventures

3.37  ·  Rating details ·  120 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
Born with a hole in his heart that required invasive surgery when he was only three months old, Quinn Bradlee suffered from a battery of illnesses—seizures, migraines, fevers—from an early age. But it wasn’t until he was fourteen that Bradlee was correctly diagnosed with Velo-Cardio-Facial Syndrome (VCFS), a widespread, little-understood disorder that is expressed through ...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published March 31st 2009 by PublicAffairs (first published March 10th 2009)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about A Different Life, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about A Different Life

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Aug 19, 2009 rated it really liked it
Memoir by a guy in his mid-20s with a genetic disorder, velo-cardio-facial syndrome (VCFS) that proved to be tough to diagnose and has numerous physical and cognitive effects. It was a little disconcerting that he identifies his difficulties mainly as a learning disability, which he definitely has, but the syndrome itself affects other areas and there are of course many many people with learning disorders who do not have VCFS.

The writing isn't terrific, and the organization is fairly random, but
Jan 31, 2009 rated it liked it
I wish I'd liked this book more - Quinn's tale of what it was like growing up with VCFS is interesting and his "voice" is engaging. Part of my problem is that he is the son of Sally Quinn and Ben Bradlee, so his story is also that of a rich child with VCFS and parents that could afford good treatment, good schools, etc. (not that it always turned out good for Quinn socially). It's admirable that he wants to be so open and honest about his life to help us understand what it is like to not be "nor ...more
Apr 22, 2009 rated it it was ok
I was hoping for insight and instead felt that I was intruding. That, combined with the way it is written, made it impossible for me to enjoy. It reads like a 4th grader's book report.
Mar 05, 2017 rated it liked it
My son has 22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome (22Q), which is the same syndrome that Quinn has. I purchased this book in 2009 when it came out to get a 'glimpse' into someone else's life who has this syndrome. I am appreciative to Quinn and his family for writing his story-- and letting us know that it will be okay and he'll likely be a functioning adult.

As my son will be entering High School soon, I re-read this and am glad I did because it gave a voice to some things he struggles with.
Jul 03, 2009 rated it liked it
Recommended to Linda by: Charlie Rose
Shelves: ill-chcpl
Quinn Bradlee is the son of former "Washington Post" editor Ben Bradlee and his wife, reporter Sally Quinn. Quinn was born with a heart defect and had a number of health issues throughout his life. When he was 14, he was finally diagnosed with VCFS (velo-cardio-facial syndrome) a genetic abnormality which is the second most often occurring disability (Down's Syndrome is number one.) One consequence of the syndrome is having a learning disability. I read this book since I am married to a man with ...more
Oct 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
I am the mother of a young woman who has VCFS and can relate to the experiences of Quinn and his family. Although he comes from a high profile, wealthy family, he has really been through it with poor health and the loneliness of not being able to fit in socially. This book certainly helped me to more fully understand some of my own daughter's specific difficulties which are presenting new challenges now she has reached adulthood. I found the contributions from Dr Shprintzen particularly informat ...more
Oct 17, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir-biography
I saw this book in my daughter, Annelies', pile from the library and felt compelled to pick it up. It is a short ride, a read from the point of view of the learning disabled person. I am always wondering why some things I just don't get and others I get very well. Quinn has a learning disability, which is connected to physical illnesses. He has surmounted surgeries, illnesses and knows too well how hospitals work. But he has also been blessed with parents who were able to help him. Not only in t ...more
Jun 18, 2009 rated it liked it
Quinn Bradlee was born with the same syndrome that my son, Damon, has. Although the title of his book uses the words "Learning Disabled" instead of the syndrome name, VCFS, (apparently in an attempt to appeal to a broader audience), the story is specifically about Quinn's struggles with VCFS and its particular quirks. This fills a need for those of us touched by this syndrome who have had a hard time finding information in the past, but I imagine it will be too narrow subject-wise for other read ...more
Sep 08, 2013 rated it liked it
Good experience to hear about the struggles of a young adult with both physical illnesses and learning differences. Several themes run through the book and though he had all the services and therapies money could buy, it couldn't fix him. i'm wondering how it might have been different if there had been more emphasis on his strengths growing up. This is Quinn's book so it seen through his lens. I think it could have been more compelling if others on the journey had added in their thoughts. Good r ...more
Jan 19, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: love-to-learn
I love to see learning from the viewpoint of the student, the learner. From Quinn Bradlee I learned "It's just hard for me to find motivation sometimes" (109). He's son of Ben Bradlee, who was editor of the Washington Post during the Watergate era, and Sally Quinn, the writer. He says he'd trade all his wealth for "a brain that worked right." (110)

But I didn't find much more here. Quinn's life reminds me of what someone --whose name I mercifully forget -- once said of me: His life might be worth
Apr 26, 2009 rated it liked it
A touching Read- nice to hear his stuggles through his own words. Once again shows how our western views of education and self worth are on what we can't do. Quinn was fornute to have wealth on his side- not all with learning disablilities are given some of the opportunities he had. Still a honest and moving story.
Ruthann Kain
Jul 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Special education teachers, students
Recommended to Ruthann by: it caught my eye at the bookstore, I was looking for something e
Shelves: read-summer-2009
Great book! and hats off to Quinn Bradlee for writing it!! I have registered at the "Friends of Quinn" website mentioned in the book too. I look for this to be a book that I recommend to some of my college-bound LD students next year. Proof that if you put your mind to it, it might take a little longer, or a different path; but you can do it! very uplifting.
Roberta Grogan
Jul 18, 2016 rated it liked it
I thought Quinn Bradlee (and Jeff Himmelman) wrote a particularly poignant book. Quinn was so wonderful to open up and share his experiences. As a mom of a differently abled young man, I was able to take so much away from my reading. Sure Quinn is of noble stock, however his candidness and openness is his own. Grateful for this read.
Jun 24, 2009 rated it it was ok
I didn't finish this book, only got halfway. While I give him credit for overcoming HUGE obstacles, the simplistic writing ( and repetition) were too much for me to overcome. I did enjoy the parts written by his parents and skimmed through and read those. They are all lucky to have each other.
Jun 13, 2009 rated it really liked it
I really liked this book, although his language is a little raw a times. I can't say that I learned a lot about VCFS, but I did contemplate a little more about how those struggling with learning disabilities feel.
Jul 04, 2013 rated it liked it
Just ok. Some interesting insights on having a learning disability. Certainly not the normal experience though, since he comes from a tremendously wealthy background.
Apr 25, 2009 rated it liked it
pretty good, got done with it in one day. His mom seems a little over the top.
May 19, 2009 rated it really liked it
This was an interesting glimpse into the world of learning disabilities. His voice is honest and approachable.
Joella Tunnell
Nov 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
The author gave some honest insights to how it feels to have learning disabilities. This was the first I have heard of his disability, VCFS.
Aug 03, 2011 added it
Reading this book outloud to KK... lots of cussing in it!
Sep 21, 2010 rated it really liked it
this is our family book club, by my daughter's recommendation.
I really enjoyed this book
Kellie hoff
Aug 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
loved it
Jul 26, 2009 marked it as will-never-read
The spawn of Sally Quinn speaketh.
rated it really liked it
May 06, 2009
rated it liked it
Oct 25, 2010
rated it liked it
Jan 12, 2013
rated it really liked it
Apr 05, 2013
Brooke Beacom
rated it really liked it
Mar 20, 2013
Anne Camille
rated it liked it
Apr 23, 2013
rated it really liked it
Jan 10, 2015
« previous 1 3 4 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Laughing Allegra: The Inspiring Story of a Mother's Struggle and Triumph Raising a Daughter With Learning Disabilities
  • Atypical: Life with Asperger's in 20 1/3 Chapters
  • Becoming a Master Student
  • Thirty Days Has September
  • What to Read When: The Books and Stories to Read with Your Child--and All the Best Times to Read Them
  • Raising Resilient Children: Fostering Strength, Hope, and Optimism in Your Child
  • The Number Sense: How the Mind Creates Mathematics
  • The Elephant in the Playroom: Ordinary Parents Write Intimately and Honestly About the Extraordinary Highs and Heartbreaking Lows of Raising Kids with Special Needs
  • Kinky Gazpacho: Life, Love & Spain
  • The Urban Hermit: A Memoir
  • Overcoming Dyslexia: A New and Complete Science-Based Program for Reading Problems at Any Level
  • The Attention Revolution: Unlocking the Power of the Focused Mind
  • Late, Lost, and Unprepared: A Parents' Guide to Helping Children with Executive Functioning
  • Closing Time
  • The Slippery Year
  • Yearning for Normal: My Son's Life with Deletion 22q.11
  • Kids Beyond Limits: The Anat Baniel Method for Awakening the Brain and Transforming the Life of Your  Child With Special Needs
  • Parenting the Ephraim's Child: Characteristics, Capabilities, and Challenges of Children Who Are Intensely More