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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Personal, Gritty, and Spiritually thoughtful
What I most appreciate about A Good and Perfect Gift is the honesty with which Amy Julia describes her journey with Penny and with God. Both the joyful and hurtful experiences are described with candor and authenticity. Though I do not have a child with specific disabilities, reading this book opened my eyes to what friends and extended family members experience with...
Published on September 9, 2011 by Elizabeth Ferguson

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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars From a sibling of a deaf, blind and mentally retarded woman
A Good and Perfect Gift: Faith, Expectations and a Little Girl Named Penny by Amy Julia Becker is a mother's story of her own challenge in finding out that her daughter would be born with Down Syndrome.

As the older sister of a severely handicapped young woman, and as a mother who had some concerns as a result of the anatomical ultrasound during my pregnancy...
Published on October 25, 2011 by Milk Donor Mama


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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Personal, Gritty, and Spiritually thoughtful, September 9, 2011
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This review is from: A Good and Perfect Gift: Faith, Expectations, and a Little Girl Named Penny (Paperback)
What I most appreciate about A Good and Perfect Gift is the honesty with which Amy Julia describes her journey with Penny and with God. Both the joyful and hurtful experiences are described with candor and authenticity. Though I do not have a child with specific disabilities, reading this book opened my eyes to what friends and extended family members experience with loved ones who do. I would recommend this book not only to a friend or family member whose life may be impacted by a disability, but to anyone whose faith has been disabled by unexpected life challenges. I think this book is a must have for your library....and a necessary addition to OBGYN offices and church libraries!
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Positive Perspective on Parenting a Child with Disabilities, October 22, 2011
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Nerd Girl (California, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Good and Perfect Gift: Faith, Expectations, and a Little Girl Named Penny (Paperback)
While I'm neither Christian nor the parent of a child with Down Syndrome, I am a high achieving perfectionist and the parent of a child on the autism spectrum. My own journey did not start at my child's birth, but when he was not speaking as a toddler, and mine was not part of a Christian framework, yet I still found asking many of the same questions and learning many of the same lessons Amy Julia Becker does in this memoir.

What I appreciated most was the positive portrayal of parenting a child with a disability. So often we parents are portrayed either as pitiable or as martyrs, and either portrayal assumes that the disabled child is either a burden or a problem to be fixed rather than a human being who is a full and rich part of our lives. It was refreshing to see someone insist on that humanness and individuality as Ms. Becker did.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars From a sibling of a deaf, blind and mentally retarded woman, October 25, 2011
This review is from: A Good and Perfect Gift: Faith, Expectations, and a Little Girl Named Penny (Paperback)
A Good and Perfect Gift: Faith, Expectations and a Little Girl Named Penny by Amy Julia Becker is a mother's story of her own challenge in finding out that her daughter would be born with Down Syndrome.

As the older sister of a severely handicapped young woman, and as a mother who had some concerns as a result of the anatomical ultrasound during my pregnancy with my own daughter, I could relate to many parts of this book.

The fact that Becker writes this from a Christian perspective is very telling. We all have expectations of what our children will be like, hoping that they will do great and honorable things in their lives and follow Jesus Christ. When our preconceived expectations are obviously not going to be met, through no fault of our own, it is easy to blame God and lose faith in Jesus. Becker, in her telling of her struggle, shows that this is a very human and honest way to feel.

What I did not like about this book was that, honestly, Penny is a fairly typical child in her abilities and development. In my own opinion, it is easier to keep the faith when your challenges are... less. Had Penny been born like my own sister- deaf, blind and profoundly mentally retarded, along with chronic conditions such as asthma and possibly other health complications, especially as she ages- I can't help but wonder if Becker would tell things the same way. I got the feeling that Becker either exaggerated or told the story through rose colored glasses in the last part of the book.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinion here is my own.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an eye-opening read, February 9, 2013
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This book is great for those who have kids with special challenges, or those who want to gain an insider's perspective into the special needs club. I have a daughter who has syndromatic craniosynostosis and we have yet to see any mental deficiencies, but I found an amazing connection in reading about similar experiences. From initial shock and fear, to outside opinions, therapy, hospital visits, support groups, and all the life-changing details that exceed what would be expected in any healthy newborn. While more and more babies are being aborted for medical deficiencies each year, this book describes an experience so much like mine that stands in the face of it and says that these children are worth fighting for.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A lovely, life-affirming story, March 26, 2012
This review is from: A Good and Perfect Gift: Faith, Expectations, and a Little Girl Named Penny (Paperback)
Amy Julia Becker not only has a good story to tell; she's a good storyteller as well. When their first child is born, Ms. Becker and her husband find themselves unexpectedly the parents of a daughter who is diagnosed with Down syndrome.

"The only word that came to mind was No," she writes of the moment of revelation. Moments later, she thinks, "I want to run away. Far away. Now."

Ms. Becker finds her worldview and her theology challenged when faced with the reality of a child whose physical and mental abilities will brand her as less than perfect in the eyes of the world. Yet, her Christian faith has taught her that "every good and perfect gift is from above." Is Penny a good and perfect gift?

I live in the same ambitious, striving area as Ms. Becker and I recognize only too well her struggle to reconcile her idea of what a child of hers should be able to achieve with the reality of what her child actually will be able to achieve. Here we constantly push our children to always work the hardest, be the best, under the thinly disguised trope of "giving them every opportunity to succeed." It's hard to back down from the societal ideal of perfection that we see modeled all around us.

Ms. Becker is open and transparent about her struggle to come to terms with their reality. Yet she also writes so well about the joy her daughter brings her, despite her fears and inner struggles. They are joys that every parent experiences -- all the "firsts" -- along with some that parents such as they alone can experience. "Our highs are going to be higher and our lows lower," her husband predicts.

I met Ms. Becker at an author event recently, and she said to me that the reality of holding her child in her arms was so much more life-affirming than the abstract idea of having a child with Down syndrome. Reading this book is like standing beside Ms. Becker, holding Penny in your arms. It's a lovely book, one that will have you looking with more compassion and understanding -- with more interest! -- at the people around you.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful!, February 24, 2014
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This book touched my heart. As a mother of a child with Down syndrome I could identify with so much of this book, Ms. Becker managed to put my feelings into words.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Book I've Read for a true acct of DS, June 26, 2013
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As a new mom to a son with DS, I've been digging into books, research...anything that could offer a glimpse of what's to come. I can honestly say that this book has given me a sort of peace and hope that no other book has.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everyone should read this!, December 12, 2011
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This review is from: A Good and Perfect Gift: Faith, Expectations, and a Little Girl Named Penny (Paperback)
As a person with a disability I loved this book and want everyone to read it. This book beautifully articulates the struggles many people with disabilities feel. Fully able people often think the biggest challenges a disabled person face are physical or intellectual, depending on the nature of the disability. The truth is the physical (or intellectual) challenges are not high on our worry list. If we don't know how to do something, we will either try to do it a different way or don't know what we are missing anyway so it doesn't really matter. I would argue the greatest obstacle a disabled person faces is getting the world to see them as they see themselves: as a person with a disability rather than a disabled person.

In A Good and Perfect Gift, Becker takes the readers on her personal journey from seeing her daughter as a disabled person to a person with a disability.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars From a parent of a child with Down syndrome, October 6, 2011
This review is from: A Good and Perfect Gift: Faith, Expectations, and a Little Girl Named Penny (Paperback)
I appreciated the Christian perspective, there is no other book in the Christian market that I am aware of. I was able to relate to the first 2 sections of the book. What she experienced and what she learned are things that I do believe many parents with children with Down syndrome will and can relate too.

The last section of the book, however, was hard for me to relate to. I understand that kids with Down syndrome are all different, I get that, I have met lost of kids with Down syndrome and some do better than others. My child, for example, is not as "high functioning" as penny. However, I love the fact that in the last section Becker is able to share that Penny is just Penny, basically, our kids are just kids, down syndrome is only a diagnosis.

Becker is sharing what is dear and close to the harts as parents of kids with Down syndrome: Although the journey was difficult as we dealt with the diagnosis and the misconceptions we had, our kids have touched our lives in significant ways. We have come to see God's perfection in our "imperfect" kids. And ultimately, they are more alike than different.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Good and Perfect Gift, September 5, 2011
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This review is from: A Good and Perfect Gift: Faith, Expectations, and a Little Girl Named Penny (Paperback)
Amy Julia's book arrived day before yesterday and i was up all night reading it--what wonderful testimony to the power of love!
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A Good and Perfect Gift: Faith, Expectations, and a Little Girl Named Penny
A Good and Perfect Gift: Faith, Expectations, and a Little Girl Named Penny by Amy Julia Becker (Paperback - September 1, 2011)
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