What the hands lose
Is for the eyes to find
And what the eyes lose
Is for the heart to find
But the heart
When it loses a thing
Is left to fend for itself
-Philip Pardi, "Two Hands"
This is the true story of Emily Rapp, a dedicated mother whose beautiful son, Ronan, is diagnosed with Tay-Sachs disease at 9 months old. If you want to read more about Tay-Sachs, which I don't really recommend. It's sad... click the link >> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tay%E2%80%93Sachs_disease
Just to clarify, yes, it's a sad topic, a tragic story, but Rapp doesn't try to emotionally manipulate the reader into feeling sympathy towards her. In fact, she states multiple times that the hardest reactions to deal with were from people who tried to be sympathetic, but in reality just sounded like they were relieved that their own baby wasn't dying. To be fair, it is still definitely a tear-jerker. I was crying by the second page, but it doesn't do it on purpose, if you know what I mean, a book about a terminal child is always going to be sad, no matter what way you spin it.
It's not a linear story with a plot. It doesn't go from day to day. It starts with his diagnosis and ends with his untimely death, but in-between she doesn't just talk about Ronan's deterioration and adoration. She mostly discusses the many methods and theories she uses to accept and overcome the reality and weight of the situation. It's not about Ronan, so much as it's about a grieving mother. Rapp is a literary professor and author, so the writing, the language in this book is exquisite. She doesn't dumb it down and expects you to keep up, which is something I really enjoy in a book. She also draws on many great authors and poets to help explain her emotions (Like the one at the top ^^^).
I'm finding it surprisingly difficult to express everything I want to about this book. When I first finished I had so many opinions, but it's hard to put into words. I'm just gonna finish with my favourite moment/line from the book. The scene occurs when Emily Rapp is in the garage going through old bins of Ronan's clothes. She starts talking about the weight of things. For example how much weight she gained when she was pregnant.
"A bag of outgrown baby clothes weighs 5.4 pounds. Grief weighs nothing, but you still have to drag it around."