April 29, 2013 12:00 PM

People PICK

The Shape of the Eye

by George Estreich |



When poet Estreich and his wife learned that their newborn had Down syndrome and would need surgery to repair a severely damaged heart, they felt, he recalls, “as if our baby had been stolen, and replaced with a collection of medical problems.” This elegantly written, unsentimental memoir chronicles their journey from grief and fear to acceptance and hope. Now 12, their daughter Laura has speech delays but can read, worships (and bickers with) her older sister and loves the mainstream school she attends—in other words, she’s a lot like kids who don’t have an extra chromosome. Her dad’s account of his struggle to understand and embrace her differences underscores what a role of the dice parenting is and how profoundly a family’s response to disability affects the quality of a child’s life. “Everything we have done, teaching her to eat, to speak, every act of ambassadorship and interpretation, presumes … that her life is radically, democratically valuable,” Estreich writes. “If we did not believe that, we would not even have taken her home.”

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