June 19

“Not Always Happy” Book Review & Giveaway


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One of the more rampant stereotypes about people with Down syndrome is that they are always happy. Don’t ask why that sticks in the face of a screaming child with Down syndrome – even when someone actually sees my child in a rage, they have been known to comment (with a chuckle) about how “those” kids are “always so happy.” Incredulous, I’ve pointed at my daughter, her face turning purple and her tiny mouth pressed hard into a perfect wail of discontent, and the “always happy” commenter just laughs. Like her rage is just a quirky frame for her happiness.

When I saw the title of Kari’s book, “Not Always Happy,” I laughed. I knew right off the bat that I’d like it – even if I was totally judging it by the cover.

It’s a great read. It’s the story of her love for her husband (and their love of Whitman and movies!, and the birth of their family, through the adoption of their son, Thorin. Who has Down syndrome. And who – (drumroll please) is NOT always happy.

What I Liked About "Not Always Happy"

1. It’s entertaining

2. Kari writes in a super-approachable way

3. It’s funny

4. She uses a lot of movie references, and I love movies

5. She tells the no-fun sides of an IEP process in crystal-clear detail

6. It’s informative: I learned a lot about the adoption process through their story

Why You Should Read It

1. It’s a smooth, fun read

2. It stretches you, but not uncomfortably so

3. It will give you a better understanding of what the challenges that the educational system and our culture present with regard to raising a child with Down syndrome

4. It will make you laugh

5. You will also fall in love with their family

Read It!

Kari’s publisher is giving away a copy of this wonderful story to one reader here, anywhere in the world! 

To enter, just leave a comment here, or answer this question: “is your child always happy?!”

Winner picked by random.org in a week.

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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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book review, down syndrome

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  1. I love Kari and Thorin! On her blog last year, she had a dialogue with a mom who is a professor. It really stuck with me about filling your child with love at home before sending her out in the world…paraphrasing. My LO is happy all the time, except when she is upset or mad!

  2. I am very eager to read a funny/happy book on parenting a kid with Down Syndrome. I have read a lot of memoirs, and they are usually super serious. I needed that in the first 6 months, but now I am ready for something fun! Tejas is usually happy, except when he is sick, or if someone laughs in his presence! He does meet the stereotype, as much as I hate the stereotype itself, I love that my kid is happy!

  3. My little one with DS is only 1 month old but is definitely the easiest and mild tempered of all my children, but I assume that won’t last. I would love to read this book!

  4. I can’t lie. I’ve visualized punching the “he is so happy” commenter right in the nose a few times in my son’s life. It’s like the commenter fumbles awkwardly with a mental Rubik’s cube and the right code on what to say just never materializes…so he goes with the go-to: He is so happy. Hopefully, this book will reach those having a hard time on what to say and realize that a simple “hello” goes a long way.

  5. My son is definitely not always happy. He is often a sweetheart for sure, but he is loud and very vocal about things he does not like, or things he wants that he cannot have. People are often surprised at how loud he can be. I have actually had people look around trying to figure out where the child screaming/ yelling is.

  6. I’d love to win a copy of this book, my son is definitely not always happy, especially when he can’t have ice cream every day! I really enjoy your blog, thank you for writing it.

  7. my son throws a fit when he does not get his way. It can be just a stopping in his tracks with a pout or be a full fledge throwing himself on wh ground with bad words. He is not always Happy!

  8. Not always happy? No way! She might have Down Syndrome, but she’s an almost-2-year-old. She smiles and laughs a whole bunch, but we get our fair share of frustrated smacks, scratches, stink eyes and crying too. Because, you know. She’s a toddler!

  9. I can’t wait to read this book, and will buy a copy if I don’t win it here 🙂 And yes, my darling, sweet sprite of a daughter is always happy and trails rainbows wherever she goes!

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