cover image Juniper: The Girl Who Was Born Too Soon

Juniper: The Girl Who Was Born Too Soon

Kelley and Thomas French. Little, Brown, $26 (336p) ISBN 978-0-316-32442-7

The Frenches, Pulitzer-winning journalists, put forth a love story about their daughter, with highs and lows throughout and moments of sheer joy that will keep readers involved until the very last page. This achingly tender memoir is also a roller-coaster. Juniper French was born weighing just 575 grams (the mass of $2.28 in pennies, or a bottle of Gatorade) and was the length of a Barbie doll. She fought with every breath. Her parents kept watch; they sang, they read, they were mesmerized. Thomas even read the Harry Potter series to his tiny bundle, as he did with his older boys from a previous marriage, hoping the protagonist’s spirit would be emitted in every syllable. In alternating chapters, the Frenches recall trying everything to conceive, then later trying everything to keep their baby alive. For nearly seven months, they lived in and out of the hospital while family, friends, and colleagues maintained a tight network of support. The narrative sparks a need to reassess the meaning of a miracle, and the story will resonate for days after the last word. With sharp prose, honoring the simple and the profound, this book should be in the hands of every parent—indeed, of everyone. (Sept.)