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Little People: Learning to See the World Through My Daughter's Eyes Hardcover – October 17, 2003

5 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this compelling but unbalanced work, the father of a young girl with dwarfism explores how her condition shapes her life as well as his. Kennedy, a journalist by trade, leaves few aspects of being a little person unexplored-from circus history and the fate of a Jewish dwarf in Nazi Germany to the current-day exploitation of little people in porn films and the annual convention of the Little People of America. Kennedy doesn't shy away from difficult issues, including the proper terminology for a little person, whether dwarves qualify as disabled, and the ethical question of terminating a fetus carrying the gene for dwarfism. But though Kennedy interviews a staggering number of people, we rarely hear his daughter's voice, making it difficult for readers to "see the world through Becky's eyes," as the subtitle suggests they will. In many ways, this account is more about Becky's effect on Kennedy's life than it is about her own. "The truth is that dwarfism has been a lot better for me than it's been for Becky," he writes. Kennedy's honesty about his difficulty raising Becky is refreshing, but he can occasionally appear emotionally removed. While his straightforward prose style avoids self-pity, it also, unfortunately, often fails to convey warmth. Still, Kennedy offers provocative commentary on the danger of relying on charitable rather than government-funded care for disabled children, and a deep critique of a "culture in which the disabled and their families are seen as being somehow responsible for their own misfortunes." 16-page photo insert.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

“So much for us to consider as we go through this extraordinary book-- how fate and chance determine the circumstances of our lives-- all told in wonderfully affecting and summoning language by a thoughtful and introspectively energetic father and writer who shares with us a family's life and in so doing helps us to become his companions in human understanding.” ―Robert Coles, best-selling author of The Moral Intelligence of Children and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Children of Crisis

“Dan Kennedy writes in a friendly, trustworthy voice about difficult topics: difference, prejudice, and disability. Little People has the form of memoir and the effect of social commentary. Its power is cumulative. Using his own parental anxiety and curiosity as a bridge, Kennedy makes unfamiliar experience accessible.” ―Peter D. Kramer, best-selling author of Listening to Prozac and Spectacular Happiness

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Rodale Books (October 17, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1579546684
  • ISBN-13: 978-1579546687
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.1 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #843,134 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By A Customer on October 5, 2003
Format: Hardcover
In 1992 Dan and Barbara Kennedy felt they owned the world with the birth of their first daughter. However, that realm is rocked when the doctor informs the couple that their daughter Becky suffers from achondroplasia, the most commonly known form of dwarfism. The good news is that the child will have a normal life span and intelligence. Once the shock passes, the couple showered their beloved firstborn with love and encouragement.
Besides the reaction and insight into how Becky sees the world, the author researched dwarfism past and present and explains quite succinctly the distinction between various types of dwarfism. In an ironic twist from what one would expect Mr. Kennedy also makes a poignant somewhat emotional argument against genetic cleansing eliminating many of these "differences" outside the acceptable mainstream of society. He feels diversity should be honored and included for the better good of all. Not everyone will agree with the author out of concern for the individual, but Mr. Jenkins fears homogeny may go too far for society as a whole.
Parts warning, parts loving and nurturing, and parts historical, LITTLE PEOPLE: LEARNING TO SEE THE WORLD THROUGH MY DAUGHTER'S EYES is a powerful angst-laden social treatise inside a tender family journal.
Harriet Klausner
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Format: Hardcover
For once we have a book which is extremely positive and respectful to people of Short Stature. It has to appeal to both small statured people and ESPECIALLY to parents of small statured children. Reading Dan's account of his own daughter's trauma (and his own!) in her early years, makes one appreciate life!
He then develops a book, second to none, about all manner of issues related to dwarfism, both now and in history.
It HAS to be a book for everyone to read! Gripping from beginning to end, and at the end, the reader can't help but be extremely well informed about Small Statured People.
Dan has a winner on his hands, which HAS to be on everyone's "Must Have" list for Christmas!
Well done Dan, and good luck to all who read this book!
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Format: Hardcover
Dans book is a must read for anyone with an interest in Dwarfism, be it a family member, friend or collegue or just a general interest. There is something for everyone, the heartfelt journey of Dan`s daughter, Becky as she spends her early years hooked to machines due to her achondroplasia and her growth into a young woman continues throughout, and inbetween the reader is introduced to other topics relating to dwarfism including the history of dwarfism, the Little People of America, Medical Doctors, Religious questioning to name a few.
I found it hard to put the book down once I had started to read it. As an average height parent with a child with achondroplasia myself I found the book a very valuable read and I learnt a lot, the book also leads the way for further research if one so wishes.
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Format: Hardcover
A well-written and interesting look at the human side of dwarfism, including dwarfism's repercussions to the individual and family members. Author Dan Kennedy has made a concerted effort to include as many facets of dwarfism as possible, things that others can never know without reading a book like this. This book is not just for little people themselves and families involved with dwarfism, but doctors and other healthcare professionals, teachers, therapists, and anyone interested in learning more about the strength of the human spirit. A very engaging and worthwhile book!
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Format: Hardcover
I have not identified more with an author as I have with Dan Kennedy. As a little person, I found that Dan was right on the mark in his documentation of the way society view little people. His historical details also covered a wide range of societies treatment of dwarfs, from the dwarfs who were respected and admired in ancient times, to the chilling horrors of WWII Germany.
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