Hole in the Heart: Bringing Up Beth

Henny Beaumont. Penn State Univ, $24.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-271-07740-6
Baby Beth is born with an atrial septal defect—a literal hole in her heart—and her arrival brings not joy but urgent fear and alarm to her parents, compounded when she is diagnosed with Down Syndrome. Beaumont’s graphic memoir of her child and family digs unsparingly into uncertainty and despondency, resentment and acceptance. It portrays a complicated issue with compassion, deftly joining pictures and dialogue to give intense awareness of the lives portrayed. Beaumont opens herself and her inner thoughts with a painful immediacy through unspoken dread and anger expressed through thought balloons and remarkable visual symbolism. A shopping street literally closes inward to imprison her; an unsympathetic schoolmaster falls asleep on Henny’s protests, using the word balloon as an actual pillow. This harrowing and uplifting graphic memoir speaks to the families that include people with Down Syndrome, each page lovingly saturated with humanity. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 01/30/2017
Release date: 10/01/2016
Paperback - 224 pages - 978-1-908434-92-0
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