Friday, November 14, 2008

Book Review: Roadmap to Holland

I finished reading Jennifer Graf Gronenberg's Roadmap to Holland a couple of days ago and have been digesting it. There were so many times during the book that I just wanted to pop into my email and ask Jennifer "Why didn't anyone..." or "no, she didn't..." or "I'm so glad that..." Yes, it's that kinda book. One that you respond to and can't wait to read to see how things turn out and how things are resolved.

I knew from reading Jennifer's blog that I would love her writing. Her sense of storytelling always draws me in makes me feel like she either reading my thoughts or that she's my best friend and I am so lucky to be sharing her life. What I didn't know is that she had included so much information about Down syndrome, support for families with Down syndrome and resources available. Nice! A good deal of the book is about her search for information about Down syndrome and how she relished the information as she gained it. It's wonderful to see that her book can be included in the quest future parents will take as they journey to learn about Down syndrome. This isn't to say that the book is so full of information that it isn't an entertaining read. Quite the opposite. Her story unfolds with the bits of technical info embedded in it.

As for her story, I was very interested to hear about how her life with Avery began. Having twins would be a big adjustment for any mother. Having premature twins factors in another challenge and adjustment. Learning that one of them has Down syndrome is something that would just put you in a fog. I have great admiration for her honesty about her feelings as she made these adjustments. So many times we mothers have thoughts that we are not proud of and are afraid to voice. Jennifer stood up to those fears and opened up about them to let mothers know that they are not alone. My heart was with her as she faced her challenges. I got angry when she did and happy when she did. I laughed with joy at little stories of Avery's cleverness. I won't say what happens, but page 159 made me want to throw up! I have never faced anything like that and hope I never do.

Thank you, Jennifer, for sharing your experiences with the rest of us. I sit here longing to walk up that twisty gravel road to your house so I can sit outside talking to you and watch our boys play while we enjoy the view of your lake and mountains.

I am so glad I finally had a chance to read Roadmap to Holland. If you haven't read it yet, I suggest you add it to your "to do" list! Put it on your Christmas wish list or treat yourself to it. I still have my copy from the blog give-away. One of the winners hasn't replied to me and didn't leave a way for me to contact her. So if you know Laura of Common Treasures/The Swaffer Family Blog, please tell her to email me! If I don't hear from her in another week, I'd like to choose someone else from the original thread to give the book to.


jennifergg said...

Oh, big sigh of relief! I'm so glad you liked my book, and I'm so happy you took from it all the things that you did. It's just what I was hoping to do with the story, though you never know if you've succeeded until you hear back from others...

Thank you, thank you.

And stop by any time!


Jennifer said...

I read the book, too, and loved it. Very open and honest. I keep hoping our Down syndrome organization will purchase many copies and pass one along to each new parent (along with the book "Gifts").

JennyH said...

I am starting to read mine. Our local Ds guild had them in the book bundles they sold in October.

Terri said...

It is definetely on my Christmas list!