Expecting Adam,

by Martha Beck, is this month’s book club selection at Downsyn.com. We’ll be discussing the book there in a little more than a week, January 18. The discussion occurs online and can be read by anyone; to post questions or comments, you must be registered with Downsyn.com (or you can email me and I’ll do it for you).

I remember reading Expecting Adam several years ago, when I was a new mom to Avery. I disliked it, as I did most things I read, then. I was trying to find a story that fit me, and like a real-life Goldilocks, I tried them all out, to no avail–this one was too small, this one was too big. I didn’t realize then that the only story that would fit me was my own, and we had only just begun to make it.

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12 thoughts on “Expecting Adam,

  1. “I didn’t realize then that the only story that would fit me was my own, and we had only just begun to make it.”

    Beautifully put, and so true of all parents, regardless of what our stories turn out to be.

  2. What also helped me with this book when I read it the first time (when I, too, devoured all the Adam parts hungrily) was that it gave me in my complete ignorance the knowledge that Eric would one day be a “person”, too, like Adam, with independent thoughts and actions and emotions. Until then I really didn’t know what to expect of his diagnosis and was unable at the time to bring myself to do the volumes of research that can consume a person. Reading something like “a person with Down syndrome can live a full life” just didn’t hit home with me, yet the stories of Adam and the batteries, or Adam and the Sprite, did.

  3. Way back when (which was about three years ago), when I first read EA, I was looking for Adam. I loved all the Adam parts, and found myself skipping around through all of Martha’s story, really ignoring it, just to get to Adam. Which I can now see was a disservice to Martha’s story.

    Reading it this time around, I am more able to hear Martha’s point of view. But I have half the book to finish, so my thoughts aren’t yet complete. (I still like Adam the best, I think.)

  4. I first read Expecting Adam about five years ago, long before we had Jude, and I liked it. I thought her story-telling was very engaging and hilarious. Then I read it again and again after Jude was born and liked it even more.

    I can see why some wouldn’t. But the stories of Adam have stuck with me. My favorites: the story of Adam opening up the package of batteries on Christmas day and the one about him duping the school test administrator for a Sprite. I won’t spoil the stories for those who haven’t read, but they are priceless. She also tells a story about Adam not only stopping to smell the flowers, but the bushes, too…that he has a reverence for the ordinary, overlooked things that borders on worshipful. I thought it was wonderful.

    I”ll be anxious to read others’ reactions.

  5. I haven’t read Expecting Adam, but I would like to.

    Can relate to the writing of one’s own story, though.

    I have been prodded along by various professionals and friends to contact people with kids with CP for support. Although the ones I did approach were extremely helpful and taught me some valuable lessons, my first need was for peace. (I don’t do acceptance – it helps nobody!)

    Peace is a strange and wonderful thing: It tends to dwell only where it is invited in and made to feel welcome. In the end it is a personal decision and the road leading to it is sometimes hard and lonely. But we all get there.

  6. I read it when it first came out…and remember that I didn’t like it. Exactly like pp wrote, her experiences weren’t my experiences…
    I did enjoy Another Season by Gene Stallings, as well as The Promise Keepers Daughter (fiction).

  7. I read this twice, once not long after Eric was born, and again a few months ago. What I liked about it was the author’s eventual and grudging acknowledgement about letting go of who she had been, because that person no longer was necessary. I thought it took her an awfully long time to get to that, but at the same time that perhaps the message would be useful to some.

  8. It’s funny, because I was impressed with the book at the time, but now that I have my own kind of “Adam” I’m not so sure. I think we all do need to tell our own stories. That’s what it comes down to.

  9. I haven’t read it, but my wife did when Meg was little and didn’t enjoy it at all. I can’t really remember what she said, but she didn’t like the tone of the writing.

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