On Mother’s Day 2001, Henny Beaumont gave birth to her third daughter, Beth. For the first four hours of Beth’s life, she seemed no different from Henny’s two other little girls. But when the doctor told Henny and her husband that their daughter might have Down syndrome, Henny thought that her life was over. How would she be able to look after this baby, who required corrective heart surgery and an overwhelming amount of care, and manage her other two children at the same time? Why did she hold such intense feelings of disappointment, resentment, and sadness toward this weak and vulnerable baby? Henny wondered if she would even be able to love her daughter. And if Henny couldn’t trust her own feelings about Beth, how could she expect other people to overcome their prejudices and ignorance about Beth’s condition?
Hole in the Heart is a moving and refreshingly honest look at raising a child with special needs. Henny doesn’t shy away from the complicated emotions and challenges that affected her and her family. But her story also shows that fear can be the greatest of these challenges―and the most rewarding to overcome. Henny and Beth’s journey speaks not only to parents of children with special needs and the medical and care professionals they interact with, but to all parents who wonder whether their child is loved enough and is reaching his or her potential.
A raw, visually gripping memoir, Hole in the Heart shows how Down syndrome is only one piece of a family’s story.
Kylie Sparks on Goodreads wrote:
This is a heart-wrenching graphic memoir about bringing up a child with Downs Syndrome. The author writes (and draws) of the birth of her daughter, Beth, and the sometimes devastating pain of the parents coming to terms with the reality of her condition. Meanwhile the older daughters in the family take Beth in stride, albeit with some confusion about what her condition means. As Beth grows up she has to contend with a world that isn't always welcoming or even accepting. The artwork is beautiful and personal, but be aware that this isn't a "feel good" book about parental love and support. It's also a sometimes shockingly honest confession about the difficulties of parenting a disabled child. But it has a tender ending. Definitely worth reading- I could not put it down- but not a sentimental gift for new parents.
I didn't intend to read this book--but I picked it up at work and couldn't put it down. The same thing happened to the coworker who catalogued this book. The graphic novel format is the most effective way to tell this story--it makes it emotionally moving in a way that a text only story never could be. The drawings are so fantastic, the words are almost not needed. It is so easy to empathize with this family and this child. It made me cry, but it's not a sad story. Do yourself a favor and pick up this book. This could go in either the teen or adult collection.
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