I just finished this book a few minutes ago and must say, it left me in a state of emotional upheaval. How a child...starting from the moment of birth...can endure so much is almost unfathomable. The physical and emotional investment in helping this young woman cheat death over and over again is clearly something that is life-changing...and I don't mean that in the bumper-sticker way it is used today but instead, a true transformation that must touch each person at the deepest and most intimate level of life. It makes the ending so much more bitter...and so much more powerful. Unlike the happy endings of Hollywood, this story turns tragic just at the moment you begin to think the worst is over...I was waiting for her to find true love, settle into a rewarding relationship and continue to grow into whatever life held next. Only she didn't. This isn't the movies but rather real life...so very real that it left my heart aching for everyone involved.
As a side note, this book would be an awesome reading list title for those who work with teens - especially for sensitivity training and increased awareness for a variety of situations encountered by today's students (disability, illness, mental health, alternative lifestyle etc). It is frank, earnest yet always tasteful. The writing style is fast paced but allows the reader insight into the true nature, hopes, dreams and even foolishness of the characters...who are real people through and though.
There are many people who feel special because they once beat the odds...and in many ways it is easy to assign meaning to a one time event that eventually fades into a memory. It is quite another thing to be faced with overwhelming odds again and again and again. It is hard to find meaning in that type of repeated suffering, fear, uncertainty...it is almost unfathomable to be forced to make the decisions this family had to make over and over again and equally mind-numbing to find the strength of this young woman to lead a relatively normal life in the face of so many challenges. There is a great lesson to be learned here but I admit, even at my age, it is a lesson I've yet to come to terms with half as well as this young lady managed to do. Complimentary copy provided for evaluation purposes.
"If you're looking for a coming of age memoir full of passion and hope, Diane Fraser's memoir will keep you on your toes." - Jennifer Oquendo, Halfstack Magazine