cover image Strange Beauty: A Memoir

Strange Beauty: A Memoir

Eliza Factor. Parallax, $18.95 trade paper (240p) ISBN 978-1-941529-72-0

Novelist Factor (The Mercury Fountain) shares her experiences raising a physically disabled child, Felix, in this moving and insightful memoir. Factor and her husband, an attorney, were living in Brooklyn when their first of three children was born. As he grew, they noticed that he was unable to hold himself up like other babies and so began an odyssey of doctor visits, treatments, therapies, scans, and tests, such as the one that revealed Felix had a lack of white brain matter. Felix was diagnosed with a serious disorder called periventricular leukomalacia and eventually with autism as well. Factor felt shame, despair, and loneliness as she confronted the challenges of raising a nonverbal child who cannot walk on his own, yet she was also filled with love for her joyful, exuberant son. As one caregiver noted, “We all think that we do so much for Felix, but he does even more for us.” Still, when the sweet-tempered Felix began to rage and injure himself, Factor and her husband began to search for methods to control the behavior, such as acupressure, diet change, and various prescription drugs. In her efforts to aid Felix, Factor is inspired to create the nonprofit Extreme Kids & Crew, a community center where disabled kids socialize and play. Despite the hardships, Factor emphasizes the infinite ways her disabled son enriches and illuminates her life; this passionate story of a mother’s quest to help her child will resonate with many readers. (Aug.)