Normal: A Mother and Her Beautiful Son

Magda Newman. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $25 (272p) ISBN 978-1-328-59312-2
In this touching debut, Newman relays the story of her teenage son, Nathaniel, who was born with Treachers Collins syndrome—a craniofacial condition characterized by undeveloped cheekbones and ears and severe respiratory problems. After an uneventful pregnancy, Newman and her husband, Russell, were excited to meet their new baby, but when he was delivered, the room went silent and Newman saw “every single person’s face change to the same mask of pure shock.” From that moment, normal took on a new meaning: Would Nathaniel be able to eat without the aid of a gastrointestinal tube? Would he be able to hear without ears? Treachers Collins Syndrome meant constant medical care and multiple surgeries to allow Nathaniel to breathe, as well as a major surgery to expand his face that required him to wear a “halo” with 16 screws mounted to his head. Nathaniel endured 67 surgeries before age 15; during this time, Newman battled two different types of lymphoma. Newman writes tenderly about these often heartbreaking events as her family, medical professionals, and friends all worked to support Nathaniel on his road to “normal.” Readers looking for an inspiring story about the power of the human spirit will find one here. (Jan.)
Reviewed on : 10/28/2019
Release date: 01/14/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
Hardcover - 336 pages - 978-1-328-63183-1
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