Fragile Innocence: A Father's Memoir of His Daughter's Courageous Journey

James Reston, Jr., Author Harmony $23 (253p) ISBN 978-1-4000-8243-8

Renowned author Reston (Warriors of God ) details the heart-wrenching saga of his daughter Hillary's life after a mysterious series of fevers at 18 months turns the smart, active child into a mentally handicapped and seriously physically ill toddler. Hillary suffers from constant, harrowing seizures and severe kidney malfunction that puts her on dialysis for nearly 20 years (she's now 24). Endless visits with specialists, tests and laboratory experimentation wears down the family, which includes Reston's wife, civil rights attorney Denise Leary, who puts her career on hold so she can be Hillary's primary caregiver; and Hillary's nurturing and protective older siblings. Reston shifts between relating the ordinariness of family life; the struggles with his own career, which often takes him away from home; the nonstop quest for answers regarding Hillary's condition (a stroke or obscure genetic illness); and finally, Hillary's kidney transplant. Reston makes an impassioned case for embryonic stem cell experiments, human cloning, animal organ transplants and other means to delay or cure devastating diseases in children. Hillary herself—without speech or language, with a nine-month-old's intellect—makes the case for the value in every life. This is a compelling story, if often curiously bloodless in the telling. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 11/14/2005
Release date: 02/01/2006
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 253 pages - 978-1-4000-8244-5
Open Ebook - 112 pages - 978-0-307-34739-8
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