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Book Review & Giveaway: Life With a Superhero

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You know how it is when you become friends with the characters in a book? When they have made their way into your heart and mind and you look forward to your time with them every day and you sadly see the remaining pages of their story growing slimmer and wish it weren’t so?

That is how I felt with reading Life with a Superhero: Raising Michael Who Has Down Syndrome

I loved the whole cast, especially Michael and his author mother, Kathryn.

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When I was first approached by the publisher of Life with a Superhero with the request to review it, I was hesitant. I didn’t think I would like it because of the title – having “Superhero” in it rang to me of a dip into Inspiration Porn. I thought it would be about the child being lifted up to superhero status by mere virtue of the fact that he has an intellectual disability.

I was wrong.

“Superhero” is in the title because the child was obsessed with superheros – Superman in particular – for a very long time. It was more of a nod to who Michael really is, what he likes, than to anything else. I do think the title is unfortunate though, because it will turn some people off from even trying to read it, and that would be a pity.

This book is wonderful.

It is exquisitely written, crafted with care. It is a lovely story of a warm, funny, rambunctious family that lives in a marvelously human way. They are not perfect and it is actually in their mistakes and imperfections that I felt most drawn to them. I would like to be invited over for dinner sometime – they seem like the kind of people who laugh a lot and enjoy life in between the harder moments.

Life with a Superhero is unusual in that Kathryn stops telling the story when Michael is in his 20’s, living with his girlfriend. Most books of raising children with Down syndrome stop when the child is still a child, but not this one. She takes us clear through his early years, covering therapies, his bolting, IEP’s and more before hitting puberty and all the fun that entails. Oh boy. Looks like I have a lot to look forward to.

It is also unusual in that Kathryn really gets it, she really understands disability and every aspect of respecting people with Down syndrome. I loved her open and accepting attitude regarding sex and masturbation, I thoroughly appreciated how she did not try to infantize her son and his partner. I also appreciated the way that she talked about some of the later challenges like helping Michael understand money and debit cards, his job search, and the intricacies of marriage and cohabitation for Michael and his partner.

This was their story, the story of raising Michael, and she stopped telling the story when she felt that she was infringing on his privacy.

I enjoyed this book completely. From start to stop, I laughed, smiled and shed the occasional tear. I felt comfortable with this family and comforted that there are families out there like them. I sincerely hope that this book takes off within the Down syndrome community in particular and with the greater community at large – it is worth it.


Giveaways

There are going to be two giveaways based on this review of this book – one here, now, and one next week on Down syndrome Blogs.

To enter this giveaway, just leave a comment! Winner will randomly be picked on March 26th.

 More Info:

Life with a Superhero: Raising Michael Who Has Down Syndrome

book website

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Meriah
Meriah Nichols is a career counselor, teacher and blogger. Single mom to 3 (one with Down syndrome, one gifted 2E), she is also a cat-loving Trekkie who likes her coffee hot and black.
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17 Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this book. I’m looking forward to reading it and passing it on to others in our SNAP (Special Needs Assoc of Parents) group.

  2. I definitely would have passed over it because of the title had I not read this review! Thanks!

  3. I have read some pretty good memoirs about Ds…I have yet to find the one that really “speaks” to me or reflects even a little of our own journey….BUT, with that being said, I still LOVE reading them 🙂

  4. Chris Newlon Reply

    I’m glad you gave us the “heads up” on this book. It’s one I will definitely have to get!

  5. Thank you for reviewing this book. I am always on the lookout for a “real” Down syndrome story, and it sounds like this one may have hit the mark#

  6. This book sounds great! I’d love to read it. We have a family member with DS so I’d be very interested in this book.

  7. Sounds like a great read! Thanks for the review – it’s one that would have slipped past on my radar without it!

  8. Brittany Parsley Reply

    Sounds like a great book. When we got our daughter’s diagnosis, we searched for information of raising a child and caring for an adult with ds. The latter is much harder to find!

  9. I think it’s great that the author touched on subjects like puberty and transitioning to adulthood. Thanks for the review Meriah!

    • Melissa – the original winner of the book – Angela – did not respond so I’ve re-drawn. I’ll send you an email but I just wanted to post here too that you’ve won a copy 🙂

  10. Angela Fisher Reply

    Hopefully no drawing has yet occurred…I’d love to read this book.

  11. Jen SaeOng Reply

    This sounds like a great read. My son (with DS) is now 19 months old so I’m still fairly new to this adventure.

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