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Spelling Love with an X: A Mother, A Son, and the Gene that Binds Them Paperback – October 1, 2008

5.0 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Through vivid descriptions of her relationship with J.P., readers can glimpse the parental highs and lows of life with a child who has developmental delays. —Lisa M. Jordan, Library Journal

"Clare Dunsford navigates the X that has mapped her own and her son's paths with humor, honesty, and clear-sighted intelligence-and in prose that sings."—Elizabeth Graver, author of The Honey Thief and Awake

"Dunsford does much more than inform us concerning a disorder we know too little about. Through a prose both lucid and beautiful, she is able to communicate the strangeness, even the poetry, of fragile X." —Clara Claiborne Park, author of The Siege and Exiting Nirvana

"Spelling Love with an X is one woman's beautifully written journey toward understanding herself, her son, and the twists of fate and DNA that bind them and all of us. Clare Dunsford's powerful and moving memoir is rich with humor, poetry and, most of all, love." —Mitchell Zuckoff, author of Choosing Naia: A Family's Journey

"Dunsford uses poetry and candor to document a condition the world knows little about by inviting the reader into snapshots of the disability that has been woven throughout the fabric of her life-from coming to terms with her role as a carrier to the poetic retelling of the roller coaster that is life with her son." —Boston Globe

About the Author

Clare Dunsford is an associate dean in the College of Arts and Sciences at Boston College and has been a contributing writer for Boston College Magazine. She was previously an adjunct lecturer in English at Boston College and Harvard University.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Beacon Press; Reprint edition (October 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080707280X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807072806
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,309,195 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I found this book to be very informative. Everyone shoud read this book, especially if you know someone with a child with this diagnosis. It really helped me to understand what the family is dealing with.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellent book ! Our grandson was recently diagnosed with Fragile X and we are learning all we can about this devastating condition.
Mrs. Dunsford's book relates the reality of raising a child with Fragile X -- the extreme highs, lows and daily challenges. She's a talented writer to
boot. Gives so much info on the condition in an easy to read manner.
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Format: Hardcover
As a parent of a son with Fragile X who is a couple of years younger than Ms. Dunsford's son, J.P., we've experienced the despair as well as the joy she writes of. Her story is beautifully written and shines with the love we have and hope we need for the future for our adult children. She is able to describe the charming, witty character of her son in a way that rings true for parents of children with Fragile X. It's her own story as well. Life as a carrier of Fragile X has its own challenges - ones you might believe are your own character faults - until you find out, at whatever age, that you are a carrier and that the personal battles you've fought for so long are the result of a genetic defect you were born with. The science is helpful. The research is hopeful. Parents, family, carriers, friends should read this book to get a good look at life with Fragile X.
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Format: Hardcover
While informing us about Fragile X Syndrome, Clare Dunsford reminds us in a distinctive voice that much more than genes binds us. Her well-told tale captures the complexity of competing realities running through most of our lives -- identity, vocation, family, faith, parenthood (and the profound difference between motherhood and fatherhood), friendship, support, loneliness and love. So we laugh, cry and rejoice with her as she recounts the frustrations and surprises of her childhood, romances, career and parenting experiences. Her references to classic literature make manifest the mystery encountered in human differences no matter the time or culture, a mystery best understood in the binding of body and spirit despite the fragility of either. "Spelling Love With an X" is a classic love story. Dunsford's X is her and her family's cross (a cross that marks others' lives in other ways) and is only made bearable in anyone's life by Love which is more Divine than human. Her story offers hope to all of us who want to live and love well.
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Format: Hardcover
Clare Dunsford's book is an unusual blend of personal memoir and scientifically researched information drawn from a mother's poignant journey raising a child with Fragile X. Dunsford's book blends poetic elegance with important up to date information about her son's genetic condition, a useful read for anyone living or working with children or adults with any developmental disorder. As a special educator who is also an avid reader I was fascinated. Further, I learned of the relationship that this disorder may have to autism which has touched my extended family and of the hope that the future of medical research holds for all those affected by developmental conditions. Ms Dunsford tells her story with strong emotion and wonderfully crafted writing but does not stray from her goal of sharing the knowledge base she has been accumulating over the 21 years of her charming and interesting son's life.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is still with me. Those are the best kinds of books, I think, the ones that you remember well after reading them. I think it's because "Spelling Love With An X" resonates beyond its specific circumstances. It's not just about Clare Dunsford and her son, but in some way every parent and child. Or, really, every relationship. As Dunsford wonders aloud at one point in the book, since her family carries the gene, is it possible this or that relatives slight eccentricity is really just an extremely mild manifestation of Fragile X. In other words, most brain disorders are merely exaggerations of characteristics we all understand to some degree. We are all on a spectrum of varying consciousness and need. As a result, Dunsford's exploration of the extreme challenges she faces with her son are more than just a faceless "case study." They do what literature should do at its best. They make her and her son's situation universal.
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