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Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Softcover from 2009. Cover has edge and corner wear and surface wear but otherwise in good shape. Tight binding. Pages are clean with no writing, underlining or highlighting. Good copy of this book. Always HONEST and UPFRONT descriptions.
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This Lovely Life Paperback – July 23, 2009

4.7 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Forman's enormously affecting memoir—winner of the Bread Loaf Writer's Conference Bakeless Prize—about the drastic disabilities of her extremely premature child poses challenging questions about parenthood and human compassion. Having given birth to twins at just six months' gestation (23 weeks), due to an undetected infection she learned of only much later, the author, living with her husband and three-year-old daughter in Southern California, and aware of the daunting health issues facing these babies, begged the doctors to let them go. However, the doctors refused the do-not-resuscitate order, offering the infants every form of neonatal intensive care available, and while one of the twins died within days, the boy, Evan, survived, spending six months in the hospital before the family could take him home. Evan was plagued by severe developmental difficulties, including seizures, cerebral palsy, mental retardation, congenital heart defect and blindness, and the author writes with unflinching honesty about her raw fear and conflicted feelings. With time, Forman persevered as Evan's advocate, finding solace in friendships with other mothers of special-needs children and open to experimental therapies that might prove helpful. Numbed by the crass exigencies surrounding the burial of one child (cemetery plots, tax forms), and hardened by what she terms post-traumatic stress syndrome, Forman portrays herself (sometimes shockingly) as deeply flawed and forgivingly human. (July)
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Review

“It would be difficult not to be stirred by Vicki Forman's story; but what makes This Lovely Life so good goes well past story and into idea, with which her book is so rich. The idea of love; of choice; of ambivalence; of imperfection; of purpose: these are all here, in a narrative that is propulsive, startling and vivid, like motherhood itself.”
—Meg Wolitzer, author of The Ten-Year Nap

“Intimate, compelling, and hopeful—an absolutely important book.
—Rachel Simon, author of Riding in the Bus with My Sister

“Vicki Forman's This Lovely Life is its own kind of koan--a story about death that is full of life, a story about loss rich with things gained, a story of letting go, while at the same time holding on tightly to what we love best. Spare, bracing, lovely.”—Jennifer Graf Groneberg, author of Road Map to Holland

“If such a heartbreaking story must be any parent's to tell at all, I'm thankful that it should fall to such a talented voice as Vicki Forman to bring it to the rest of us. Forman writes with sensitivity and clarity; her love is powerful and her eyes are wide open. This Lovely Life is a beautiful story of loss and love, and ultimately of understanding, one that left me shaken, haunted and deeply moved long after I finished reading.”
—Robert Rummel-Hudson, author of Schuyler's Monster

"Forman’s enormously affecting memoir…about the drastic disabilities of her extremely premature child poses challenging questions about parenthood and human compassion…. Forman portrays herself (sometimes shockingly) as deeply flawed and forgivingly human.
—Publishers Weekly, STARRED

"A searing tale of heartache and impressive depth of character" —Kirkus

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books; Original edition (July 23, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0547232756
  • ISBN-13: 978-0547232751
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #693,623 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
No excessive religion. None of that; "It's God's will". There are no martyrs here. This story is about real people who find themselves in one of life's most tragic and difficult circumstances. Their wishes are ignored, and yet they are left to deal with the consequences of decisions made by others. This is an honest and compelling story about acceptance, hope, and love. There is no upside to what happened to them. Just more of bad things happening to good people.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The description of this book is heartbreaking, but I came away from reading it moved, overwhelmed, and possessed by the joy you can only feel in the presence of truth. Forman has been through pain that most of us will never experience -- by taking us with her on that journey, we are able to see her growing through sadness, anger and denial into a warrior, teacher and healer who advocates fiercely for her multiply disabled, but no less beautiful or important child. Through her eyes we are able to learn truths that we might never reach on our own; when she writes, "Even a short life is a whole life; this I have learned," I cried, not with anguish, but with joy.

There is a Zen saying, "If you want to find the path, set fire to your own life." By enduring the flames of her rage, pain, and ultimately love, Forman illuminates truths that will stay with me forever. I am grateful for this book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I found this book to be exactly the medicine I needed a year and a half after we left the NICU. The author does a great job summing up the experience and talking intimately about the complex emotions involved with having a chronically ill child in the NICU.
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Wow. This is a memoir that really stays with you. The only reason I'm not giving it 5 stars is that the writing - while being, overall, exceptional - felt rushed at the book's end. But the story of this mother and her journey with her micro-preemie twins Ellie (who passed away after 4 days after her birth) and Evan (whose life is the book's focus) is intense, real, and relatable. I don't honestly know if this book drew me in so quickly because I am a twin mother - I don't think so, but I'm just mentioning in case my opinion is unintentionally biased. I think, though, that I basically got drawn in because of the honesty and rawness of the writing, as well as the connection I could feel toward a mother who just tried her hardest to do whatever the right thing was by her fragile child. Perhaps not everyone will enjoy the book - it does not spare details about Evan's many struggles, operations, experimental therapies, and the overarching effect on the rest of the author's family - but provided you are ready for a real, "no Hollywood ending" story, it is amazing. Again, the only reason I didn't give it a full 5 stars is that I felt a mild disappointment at the very end of the book, because it seemed that the very last chapter or two of the book wasn't as intimate and fleshed out as the remainder. But that's a small quibble. Beautiful book; really stays with me.
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Format: Paperback
Vicki Forman begged to let her micropreemie twins slip away from the unimaginable, and was talked into holding on. This Lovely Life is the story of her and her family's lives for the next two years. The author describes -- without vanity, with unyielding honesty -- how the unimaginable encompasses more, asks more than some parents ever thought they could handle -- and the lessons we all can take from such experiences.

Though her journey is underpinned by strength, love, and acceptance, the realities of the author's son's first two years are often brutal. Thankfully Ms. Forman, like Dickey and Nabokov before her, writes so beautifully that I found myself sighing with pleasure at her prose, even though her generosity and story had me in tears.

Please, read this book.
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Format: Paperback
As a mother of a NICU baby who passed and now on the road to MD myself I found the careful articulation of this book incredibly honest and transparent. It was a brave and sincere disclosure of the deepest and darkest feelings a mother goes through amidst the terrors of the NICU and the unknown. While easy enough to walk away from some of Vicki's recantations with questions, they are the grieving truth when confronted with such an uphill battle, and can only be applauded for the strength and bravery in their conscious disclosure. The ending and entire story is a wonderful trip through self discovery and motherhood faced with absolute grief and heartache. I am so thankful for the publishing of this story.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A profound read. It raises the very serious question of whether or not babies who will never be able to thrive should be kept alive by state-sactioned and scientific means, against the wishes of their parents.
The surprise of the book, is the love and the beauty that Ms. Forman finds in her life, even though she would never have chosen this life for herself and her children. Wonderfully written and unforgettable.
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This is a well-written account of the experience of a parent dealing with the aftermath of extreme prematurity. This should be required reading for all residents and fellows in both obstetrics and pediatrics. The journey does not end after delivery, nor at discharge from the neonatal intensive care unit.
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