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Some Kind of Normal [Kindle Edition]

Heidi Willis
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)

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Kindle Edition $6.15  
Paperback $14.36  
New Adult Fiction by Rainbow Rowell
Acclaimed author Rainbow Rowell's latest book, Landline, offers a poignant, humorous look at relationships and marriage. Learn more

Book Description

How far would you go to save the life of someone you love? This is the question the Babcock family struggles with when 12-year-old Ashley is diagnosed with diabetes, which quickly turns deadly. A day or two in the hospital stretches into months as the doctors explore every medical alternative to find a way to cope with the mounting complications, but Ashley continues to deteriorate. If faith can cure Ashley, the folks at First Baptist Church are sure they have more than enough to keep her alive. But as Babs watches her daughter's life and death struggle and sees her family start to unravel, she turns to the Internet and science to find a solution the doctors say isn't there.
Paperback version: 226 pages; 86,384 words

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Editorial Reviews


In Some Kind of Normal, author Heidi Willis explores the strength of the human spirit and a family in crisis. As the Babcock family faces a life-threatening illness, they must also deal with the opposing positions of medical science and their church. Heidi's book brings these issues together in a clear, compelling tale that held my interest from the first page until the end.

Among other things, this story explores the diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes, in itself a life-changing event. Then the family faces devastating setbacks. With the illness as a central theme, Heidi writes about a family coming to grips with issues that touch every aspect of their lives. This book is a great read, an inspirational story, and an excellent way to gain insight into how we can balance our religious beliefs with medical science. Heidi challenges us to ask: Are we healed by God, or by medical science created by God? Some Kind of Normal allows each reader to explore this question without prejudice or bias.

Congratulations to the author on a wonderful story. --Randall L. Strozyk, Chief Executive Officer, American Medical Response

I read Ms. Willis' book in two sittings. On my laptop. In a hotel. Engrossed. Yes, the technical parts appealed to my professional inclinations, but this gentle piece of fiction set in a small town in Texas (aren't all Texas towns small?) isn't just another medical novella. It's a story of victorious faith. Other triumphs worthy of note are in the book, not the least of which is the cure of a charming young woman from the travails and vicissitudes of Type I diabetes. That and the adult stem cell transplant are accurately portrayed. More than anything else, faith in God that triumphs over all odds is movingly recounted and touchingly told. A delightful tale of recovery and renewal--of more than one kind! A great read! --Abraham Kuruvilla, ThM, MD, PhD Dallas Theological Seminary Dallas Associated Dermatologists

About the Author

Heidi Willis graduated from Penn State with degrees in Education and Communications. She taught junior high English in Texas long enough to develop a tolerance for country music but not long enough to speak with an accent. As a type 1 diabetic, she has plenty of experience in poking herself with needles and eating jelly beans and considers herself an expert in carb counting. Heidi is an avid photographer and loves to travel. She currently lives in Virginia with her husband and three children.

Product Details

  • File Size: 356 KB
  • Print Length: 226 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1935254189
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: NorLightsPress (December 2, 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0031ER2EO
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #428,499 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved this Book! March 23, 2010
By Tam
I knew less than nothing about diabetes when I opened this book, and to be honest, didn't have much of an interest in learning. But I was immediately taken in by the story of Ashley, Babs Babcock's 12 year old daughter, who is slowly being eaten away by the disease. I became so entrenched in Babs' own desperate search for knowledge and understanding that I actually paid attention to all of the medical details, as if I might be able to help her myself.

From the moment this heart wrenching story opened, I fell in love with Babs, through the voice that Willis has given her. Willis has a tremendous gift of dialogue, and a way with dialect that I have seldom experienced. Babs is one of the most realistic literary voices I have ever read; there is no way to describe it but raw. And so human, it almost hurts. I often felt as though I were reading a dear friend's diary, instead of a novel. She puts up no pretenses, and apologizes for nothing, yet still manages to doubt herself more than she ever needs to.

The characters in Babs' life are remarkably true also; from Travis, her faith-bound husband, to Logan, her steadfast, yet wayward son, to Dr. Benton, her angel in disguise, Babs asks - no, demands - that we know them all as well as she does, and that we love them all with her same intensity. And she leads us to discover that the story isn't about diabetes at all, or about controversial research, or really even about faith. It's about the love a mother has for her children, and the strength we find within ourselves to get up every morning and hope again, when we're certain there's no hope left.

In moments of panic and desperation, Babs will make you laugh out loud with her honesty and absolute simplicity. But don't be fooled by her candid humor; you're going to need the Kleenex, too.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lessons From Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance January 25, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
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As I read this book some 40,000 feet above the North Atlantic as I worked my way back to the United States from Britain, I found myself thinking of Robert Pirsig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance in which he explores the nature and meaning and concepts involved in knowing and valuing what is really important. Pirsig, at the very beginning of his book stresses the importance of observation; not simply observing the world around us, but observing details that are important to the whole that we too often fail to see.

How does one trust anything today? Modernity taught us to trust science and reason, and to discount the value of trusting religion, authority, tradition, and the teaching of the church, for example. Postmodernity teaches us that there is no truth except the truth of the proposition that there is no truth, that everything is in flux, that experience is all that counts, and that whatever counts for religious belief is to be held privately with no relevance to debates in the public square.

Some reviewers regard Some Kind of Normal by Heidi Willis as a page turner, a book that reaches deep into the reader's emotional nature, and maybe tugs at the strings of one's heart. At one level, it is that, a page turner and emotional tear jerker. But, it is so much more than that. For it addresses some of the most controversial and important issues of our day. We read statistics about the prevalence of diabetes, both Type 1 and Type 2, in society. Too often, bioethics is ignored, because what is technologically and scientifically feasible must be pursued with vigor without regard to its morality, which is thought to be nothing more than opinion and subjective, or law, which has no business interfering with progress.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Some Kind of Delightful June 25, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I picked this up without any expectation; I liked the title, and I was curious. The wonderful colloquial voice immediately drew me in; it's well executed, and when spoken by the first-person narrator makes her feel not only real, but honest too. The author does a remarkable job of depicting an intelligent if unrefined mother who is courageous in the face of obstacles yet intimidated by people who are better educated. She is a truly likeable protagonist.

And maybe not so unrefined after all: "She's swallowed by the bed: a hummingbird in a squirrel's nest." The writing is splendid throughout.

Some Kind of Normal is of obvious special interest to parents of diabetic children, and arguably to the children themselves. In fact this book should be required reading for such parents.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Lovely Southern Voice April 10, 2010
I just have to say: I LOVED THIS BOOK! Lovelovelove loved it! This is the first non-YA book I've read in a while (not because I don't love grown-up books but because there are so many great YAs I want to read) and this book SO did not disappoint!!!

But here's the deal, the book itself sounds serious and deep, maybe even a little depressing, and at its core, the issue of a twelve-year-old girl dying from Type 1 Diabetes is a heavy one, but that's NOT this book at all. This was a book about a family, it was about a woman trying to find herself, it was a love story, but mostly, it was about a mother's choices. And all of these things were handled with such perfect care that they felt real and poignant, and at times, funny and bittersweet.

Ashley's mother, Babs, is an uneducated white woman living in the bible belt of Texas and wondering why she doesn't have the same unflinching faith that everyone around her does (including her husband and children). She goes through the motions, attending anti-abortion rallies and mouthing the words in church, but privately she worries that God will strike her down for lack of faith. It's Babs' voice that keeps you reading, she's just so unapologetic about her lack of education, and so genuine, and she's got this great sense of humor which is self-deprecating yet endearing. One of my favorite things is that throughout the book Babs refers to the fact that she's secretly studying her son's SAT vocab words, and she sprinkles them into her internal monologue (explaining the meaning to the reader, as if we'd never heard the word "surreal" before). I honestly fell in love with this woman. I already have a thing for Southern voices, and Heidi Willis nailed these characters for me.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great!
Although I did spot a few grammar errors, the story's plot and depth was both touching and capturing!! It was great!
Published 12 months ago by Laurenstar
5.0 out of 5 stars Riveting, engaging and educational!
This book was an easy read, I learned a lot about the disease of Diabetes,
while experiencing a Parent's pain of feeling helpless... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Dorothy Ann Kirkpatrick
5.0 out of 5 stars Not at all Normal!
This book defies categorizagtion. It was recommended to me by a person who I greatly admire, but with whom I have very little in common. Read more
Published on April 28, 2011 by Michael T. Kavanaugh
5.0 out of 5 stars An awesome story!
From the opening line of this book, I was hooked. This gripping story quickly takes shape, and by the third page, I didn't want to put it down! Read more
Published on October 26, 2010 by hbowne
5.0 out of 5 stars Best I have read in a long time
I don't want to repeat all the wonderful things people have already said about Ms. Willis' book Some Kind of Normal, other than to say it simply blew me away. Read more
Published on October 6, 2010 by Paul Telegdi
5.0 out of 5 stars human interest story
Very good first novel by this author. Brings human interest into a blow by blow account of the interations of a family dealing with diabetes. Read more
Published on August 28, 2010 by Ree Deemed
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific new author
I LOVED this new book by Heidi Willis. She writes a compelling story about a mother, Babs, coming to terms with her daughter Ashley's diabetes. Read more
Published on March 19, 2010 by Betsy Loves Books
5.0 out of 5 stars Just Excellent - Surpassed my Expectations by a Long Shot
"Some Kind of Normal" was breathtaking. It was crisp, clear, honest and every character was lovable. Read more
Published on March 16, 2010 by KMG
5.0 out of 5 stars Heidi Willis Has It Exactly Right
Heidi Willis' honest recounting of the Babcock family's struggle with their daughter's type 1 diabetes examines not only medical issues but also family and community dynamics. Read more
Published on February 23, 2010 by D. Verner
5.0 out of 5 stars Some Kind of Awesome
The whole book is written in Bab's unique southern voice, and even though the subject matter of the book was not light, Babs made me laugh throughout. Read more
Published on February 19, 2010 by Jessica Oliveros
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More About the Author

Heidi Willis was born in Texas but spent most of her youth growing up in Virginia. After graduating from Penn State with degrees in Education and Communications, she returned to her roots to teach middle school English and theatre near the Fort Hood, TX Army post. There she met her husband, and she traveled and moved extensively, teaching in a wide variety of schools until having three kids of her own and settling down outside Washington D.C. Some Kind of Normal is her first book.


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