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Love You to Pieces: Creative Writers on Raising a Child with Special Needs Paperback – May 1, 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Beacon Press; 1 edition (May 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807000302
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807000304
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,805,610 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"...the work acts as an eloquent support group for these parents. Highly recommended." --Library Journal

"Even for readers who are not parenting one of the 8 million babies born worldwide each year with genetic birth defects, this anthology offers something profound. " --Image Journal

" . . . a reminder of life's changeability; surprises occur and parents persevere, even in seemingly fixed situations." --Brain, Child

"[A] moving collection of well-crafted memoirs, fiction, and poetry that reflects the wild emotional complexities of living with and loving a child with disabilities." --Mothering

"[H]ard to put down...a must-read and definite keeper...all types of readers will glean something from [Love You to Pieces], be it insight, entertainment, or empathy." --Exceptional Parent

Powerful, unflinching, and beautifully rendered, Love You to Pieces is not just an anthology about raising children with special needs, but true literature. Through a combination of fiction, poetry, and memoir—some by renowned authors, others by emerging writers, every piece saturated with hard-won firsthand insight—the loving parents in these pages speak honestly and artfully about every stage of their experience, from the birth of a child with special needs to the arrival of grandchildren. Readers who also wear these shoes will find deep, moving depictions of a reality they know so well. Those with no knowledge of this world will find a literary experience they'll never forget. —Rachel Simon, author of Riding the Bus with My Sister: A True Life Journey

"Love You To Pieces is a unique reading experience: raw, moving, provocative and compelling. The stories are beautifully told, from many different backgrounds and perspectives, but taken together share a common and ultimately triumphant connecting thread: love conquers all."—Daniel Tammet, author of Born On A Blue Day: Inside the Extraordinary Mind of an Autistic Savant

"Love You to Pieces is groundbreaking. Our public discourse about disability is dominated by the voices of medical professionals and fix your child tomes. These stories elevate the experience of people with disabilities to the level of literature. It is a must buy book for anyone who parents, educates, or supports young people with disabilities.—Jonathan Mooney, author of The Short Bus: A Journey Beyond Normal

About the Author

Suzanne Kamata is fiction editor at the online magazine Literary Mama. Her essays, stories, and articles on parenting a disabled child - her daughter is deaf and has cerebral palsy -- have appeared or will appear in Utne Reader; Brain, Child; Literary Mama: Reading for the Maternally Inclined; It's a Girl: Women Writers on Raising Daughters; and an anthology on new family configurations to be published by Riverhead in 2007. Her anthology The Broken Bridge: Fiction from Expatriates in Literary Japan was nominated for the Kiriyama Prize. Her work has been nominated five times for the Pushcart Prize, and her essay "The Sound and the Worry" was given a special mention in the latest Pushcart Prize anthology.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Sonya Huber on July 15, 2008
Format: Paperback
Suzanne Kamata's anthology offers a cross-genre and literary look into the heads and hearts of parents who work to raise children with special needs as they work to understand or accept their children's conditions, to challenge and accept views and needs of other family members, and to deal with social isolation and cultural silence about disability. What I most appreciated about this volume is the emotional range and vulnerability of the authors. In sharing their experiences, they raise larger social questions not just about disability but about the "normal" we all live in--as in Marie Myung-Ok Lee's excellent essay "Normal." The literary quality of the selections is impressive, including authors such as Bret Lott and Jayne Anne Phillips; I found the poetry to be of particularly high quality and insight.
It would be a mistake to see this as a book compiled for those raising children with special needs. Most parents--and most humans--must face deep fears about losing the abilities and mobilities that give us access to the range of these so-called normal human experience. For this reason, the poems, stories, and essays in Kamata's anthology will speak to any reader from a place of profound honesty, insight, and subtlety. Not a cup of comfort here, but a strong swallow of intelligence and perseverance.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By L. Lynette Mejia on April 30, 2008
Format: Paperback
Love You to Pieces: Creative Writers on Raising a Child with Special Needs is a beautiful tribute the the lives of parents who every day deal with the fact that their lives have taken a different turn than planned. With stories and poems by Bret Lott, Carol Zapata-Whelan, Michael Berube and more, Suzanne Kamata has collected experiences from a wide range of disabilities, reflecting a broad set of emotions. Some of the stories told are fiction, some non-fiction, but each gives voice to the day-to-day lives of these families in an artful and unique way. As the parent of a special needs child, I find myself constantly seeking out books containing the comforting voices of others who deal with the same challenges I do, and this book is a welcome addition to my collection.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Kaeli Vandertulip on April 20, 2008
Format: Paperback
Love you to Pieces is a collection of honest, raw, and emotional stories and poems about raising a special needs child. The disabilities the children have range from Fragile X and autism to Downs Syndrome and unspecified mental retardation. Rather than focus completely on the bad or the good, the mothers, fathers, and caretakers in these stories explain life in its small parts. They explain everyday things like trying to figure out what the speech delayed child wants right now to coming to terms with faith. Every stage in raising a special needs child is examines, from premature birth (and there are many in this book) to coping with sexuality.

The quality of stories is a bit uneven-some are touching and scream with their emotion. Some are just dull. But what is touching to one parent can leave another cold. I was actually comforted by the scene of a mother so frustrated with her autistic daughter she actually beat her (made me feel like I wasn't that bad for punching the crap out of my pillow when my son gets to me), but it annoyed me to read about how one mother not only raised her child with spina bifida, but helped a mentally retarded child as a form of penence (though I did love it when she started whailing on cabinetry).

This realistic look into the minds of the parent of special needs children is an excellent read for special ed teachers, parents, or anyone who should know how a parent copes. I would have liked to see more from the perspective of the fathers, though. And I hope this book inspires more publishers to produce works like this. I'm torn between wanting to just read about other parents dealing with autism and wanting to see the perspective of the other parents I meet at Special Ed night at my son's school.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mary Lee Moser on July 23, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This varied collection of descriptive essays completely held my interest for the two days it took me to read it; as a special needs parent, I found the subject matter fascinating, and all the pieces were well-written. I noticed that one reviewer didn't like reading about the fact that a diffcult parenting situation contributed to marital issues--affairs, discord--but this was my favorite essay, for its poignant and raw writing, and its honest tone. So, this book isn't for everyone, but I have given it as a gift to other special needs mothers, and it was much appreciated. Mary Lee Moser, author, There and Back: A Journal Companion for Special Needs Parents
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. Johnson on June 12, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a pediatric nursing instructor and mother of a child with special needs, this is by far the very best book ever on describing the love, laughter and tears of very precious patients and our children.
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