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The Child Who Never Grew

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  620 ratings  ·  76 reviews
Originally published in 1950, Buck's account of her struggle to help and understand her daughter with mental retardation was perhaps the first disclosure of its kind by a public figure. New material written for this edition amplifies her story and gives the book a historical perspective.
Paperback, 107 pages
Published January 1st 1992 by Woodbine House (first published January 1st 1969)
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Average rating 3.89  · 
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May 04, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir
This very slim volume comprised of a mere 62 pages was originally an article in the Ladies’ Home Journal in 1950. In this small book, Pearl Buck tells a bit of the story of her firstborn child who was born to her when she was living in North China. I say “a bit” because Pearl has a unique style of writing; she does not share details but paints her story in broad strokes. She never mentions her daughter’s name, and oddest of all, she never mentions her husband or the child’s father. (I have read ...more
Jul 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
One might consider The Good Earth as Pearl S. Buck's magnum opus, after all she did win a Pulitzer Prize because of it. She also won a Nobel Prize for Literature for many of her other literary works. However, for one to really understand the drive and the reason behind writing such great works of literature that she wrote during her lifetime, it would be imperative to read this book. By doing so, you begin to understand how and why Pearl S. Buck became the great author and humanitarian that she ...more
Dec 26, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
What a marvelous book. Pearl Buck speaks about her only child, a child that was mentally challenged, and through lessons she learned about the child she became a more compassionate person.

This is what I wish to remain with me:

"So by this most sorrowful way I was compelled to tread, I learned respect and reverence for every human mind. It was my child who taught me to understand so clearly that all people are equal in their humanity and that all have the same human rights. None is to be considere
J.J. Brown
Apr 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This short book is a tragic, first hand account of being the mother of a child who although born normal, became retarded as she grew physically but not mentally during her childhood. This child, we now know, had an inherited genetic disorder called PKU, phenyketonuria, that poisons the brain and causes mental retardation if not treated early during infancy with a special low-protein diet. I myself have two daughters with PKU, both treated successfully in infancy and childhood - because the times ...more
Aug 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This small book (only 62 pages long) delivers an incredibly powerful story. It never deviates from the topic at hand; how to accept, nourish and love a child born with a mental disability. The book was first written as a 1950's article for Ladies Home Journal as a way to educate people and help guide them through a world that didn't offer many solutions or avenues of help. This is Pearl's own story, and is evocatively told as only she could do.

I was saddened by her journey. But her strength of
Jan 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing
As a parent of a child that passed away that was special needs I found this book to be amazingly poiniont. The section where her daughter spoke of how Pearl Buck had become so involved in helping others and not spending time with her family spoke so much to me along with what Pearl Buck had to go through in making the decisions that she had to for her daughter with special needs. Everything is such a fine line and it is wonderful to be reminded of this every once in a while so that when deciding ...more
Jan 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
I didn't know about Pearl S Buck. I had no idea she was a Nobel Prize winning author. I didn't find her writing particularly great. But I think it is the topic and the time. This was decades and decades ago. This is when admitting that you have a mentally challenged child was frowned upon. This is when being half Asian made you unadoptable. In her time, to talk about her daughter was brave and unheard of. Some readers might be horrified to hear that she left her daughter at an institution. But I ...more
Harriett Milnes
Dec 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
A sad book about Pearl Buck's struggle to understand and provide for her daughter who was born with PKU. A child born with PKU today is diagnosed quickly and does not experience mental retardation.

The saddest part was when Pearl Buck decided to work with her daughter every day to teach her to read and write. Then she touched her daughter's hand and realized that Carol's hand was sweating. Her poor daughter was trying her best. Pearl decided then to make sure her daughter was happy. In those day
Dec 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book front to back. Such an amazing story of a mother's trials with a handicapped child - a must read for all mothers, daughters, for everyone.

"The gift that is hidden inher shows itself in the still ecstasy with which she listens to great symphonies, her lips smiling, her eyes gazing off into what distance I do not know."

Pearl S. Buck is one of my favorite authors and this is an account of her life with her handicapped daughter. Heartbreaking and full of love.

Highly recommend every
May 26, 2009 rated it really liked it
I believe this is a good description of what a mothers pain and denial are like when finding out they have a mentally retarded child. I have done lots of research into Pearl S Buck and am lucky to have the ability to visit her house and non profit. I don't always enjoy all her writings but did enjoy this one.
Reading_ Tam_ Ishly
Sep 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
I have always loved her writing style.
I have mixed feelings about this book though.
At one time, I would feel it was going as it was meant to be yet at times I couldn't help being bored because of the repeated lines.
However, it described well the dilemma of a parent with a socially challenged child.
This book will stay with me forever.
Marie Drake
Jul 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was inspired to read this memoir after reading The Good Earth, and recognizing a minor character that was not integral to the story, but whispered of personal experience of the author. This book is an excellent companion to The Good Earth, if only to better understand the life and times of the author. It was a very quick, yet enlightening read and will stay with me. Beautifully written, I recommend it for anyone that is a fan of Pearl S. Buck's writing, those interested in history, interested ...more
Shawn Buck
Feb 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
I learned about this book and Author on a PKU facebook page
My child was born with PKU back in 1971 I am sorry to say I was and am very unaware of books such as this, I completely understand her words " inescapable Sorrow "
my son had no mental retardation thank the Lord for the blood test after birth and the restricted diet but he did die in an auto accident at 19 yrs old . Kenny has been gone 30 yrs now and I his mother am just learning new facts about adult children with PKU, Thank You facebo
Oct 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Carol, the only child Pearl S. Buck birthed, developed a mental disability that her mother didn't notice until she was three years old. Even then, it took Pearl another year to begin the search for treatment. Most parents of children with special needs understand this timeline.
In "The Child Who Never Grew," Pearl S. Buck tells the story of her journey to find Carol the help she needs. While some of the information is dated, the emotion Pearl feels is clear and relatable to me as a mom to a chil
Carolyn Lind
Came across this dated book at a book sale. It is of value today partly because through it we can glimpse how society regarded the mentally challenged in the first half of the 20th century. Today there is help & hope for babies born with PKU, the cause of this baby's condition. Diagnosis and cure was unknown in 1920 and thus were not available for the author's daughter. The book also reveals that we still have far to go to realize the dreams of this author.
Tara Otegui
Jun 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book has historical significance and is worth the read. I believe that Buck published one of the first positive portrayal of disability, prompting a movement. Janice Walsh's afterword showed an even better portrayal of Carol, showing that Buck opened up this taboo subject at the time and strides could be seen just 20 years later with her own adopted daughter.
Nov 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Pearl Buck describes her heart-rending journey from the joy of becoming a mother, through the gradual realization that her daughter's mental development is not normal, and to her search for a way to provide a happy life for her only biological child. Although obviously dated, this is a must-read for anyone seeking to understand the heartbreak and joy of parenting a special child.
Kresti Lyddon
Apr 12, 2018 rated it liked it
Dated, but interesting to read about how society dealt with ( or failed) these circumstances. So glad that children (and their parents) born now with Down syndrome and other challenges usually have more and better resources.
Claudia Skelton
Jul 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The tragic story of the mentally disabled child of Nobel Prize winning author Pearl S. Buck. Her views are inspirational on how to love and treat all others who are disabled mentally or otherwise. It is compassionate and thoughtful.
Apr 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The reader can tel this book was written a several years ago because of the reference to the child being mentally retarded. The author is brutally honest about being a mother of a mentally challenged daughter. The book is as revelant now as when it was written.
Sherrie Ross
A good read, however, as a memoir I was expecting more. While this was written years ago and research has improved (I'm guessing, since I'm not an expert in this), I felt the book was more of a request for additional research.
Kim Lane
Aug 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Quick read. All written in true Buck fashion. Keeping in mind when this book was written will impress upon the reader just how progressive Buck was...a woman well ahead of her time. Sweet and uplifting, full of resolve.
wanda j johnson
Disabilities can strike a child at any time.

Ha ing bad a child that survived a close call,this has held a great interest to me. I am still amazed at how people act when encountering a less fortunate person..
Paul Southland
Mar 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Courageous Woman

Pearl Buck took a courageous stance to tell the story of her mentally disabled child at a time it was more socially acceptable to hide mental retardation. This book did wonders to bring mental disabilities out of the proverbial closet into the light.
Katie Koso
Sep 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Dated, but worth reading if you are a parent of a child with an intellectual disability. Otherwise, not very relatable or relevant.
Nov 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
A heartfelt book by a mother of a special needs child from a time these things weren't talked about like they are today. Another look at the beautiful soul of PSB.
Dec 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Buck exposes the depths of her soul in this poignant and brutally honest account. It took true courage to write this.
Mar 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars
Apr 15, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
OWLsreadathon 2020

Magical career: Potioneer

Potions ---> Shrinking solutions: Book under 150 pages
Sep 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
This "book" is beautiful and valuable for what it is, which is a personal essay written for a magazine. If you expect it to be a true memoir of a mother coping with her child's illness, it's a disappointment because of its brevity. Taken as-is, this piece is fascinating.

On one level, it's a mother's account of coming to terms with the reality that her child was mentally retarded, figuring out how to best care for her, and becoming an advocate for other disadvantaged children. In this way, Buck
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Pearl Sydenstricker Buck was a bestselling and Nobel Prize–winning author. Her classic novel The Good Earth (1931) was awarded a Pulitzer Prize and William Dean Howells Medal. Born in Hillsboro, West Virginia, Buck was the daughter of missionaries and spent much of the first half of her life in China, where many of her books are set. In 1934, civil unrest in China forced Buck back to the United St ...more

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