cover image This Boy We Made: A Memoir of Motherhood, Genetics, and Facing the Unknown

This Boy We Made: A Memoir of Motherhood, Genetics, and Facing the Unknown

Taylor Harris. Catapult, $26 (272p) ISBN 978-1-948226-84-4

Essayist Harris weaves a medical mystery, love story, parenting memoir, and tale of survival in her stunning debut. When Harris’s sweet-natured 22-month-old boy, Tophs, started showing a host of inexplicable symptoms—including hypoglycemia, developmental delays, and speech and language difficulties—she was forced to reckon with the ways in which his health issues stoked anxiety issues that she’d spent most of her life battling. In writing that is heartfelt and raw, she recounts her distress at the evasive explanations that she received from doctors as her son underwent test after test, while braiding in reflections on motherhood (“Being a Black mother in a... country, built for whites was hard”), faith, and the idea of existing within liminal spaces: “Caught somewhere between ‘no longer’ and ‘not yet’.... It was getting harder to see what, if anything, was being formed in Tophs, in me, or in us as a family through this search for answers.” Though medical professionals believed Tophs had ketotic hypoglycemia, a condition in which blood glucose levels drop unexpectedly, Harris and her husband never received a conclusive diagnosis. But out of that uncertainty grew a love and calmness that Harris couldn’t have foreseen, and a story of acceptance that mesmerizes with its vulnerability: “He had always been my son.... It was my job to let him be.” This is astounding. Agent: Bridget Matzie, Aevitas Creative Management. (Jan.)