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Hole in the heart : bringing up Beth
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  Library Journal Review

The title of this deeply affecting memoir by British artist Beaumont clearly refers both to the heart condition that her third daughter, Beth, is born with, and to Beaumont's struggles with loving the girl, who also has Down syndrome. Beaumont is revealing, even blunt, about the emotional turmoil she and husband Steve undergo during Beth's early years: the questioning; fears of the future; the many awkward moments around parents of typical kids; and the traumatic encounters with doctors and other professionals. Particularly difficult is their decision whether to continue dealing with the inclusion-without-engagement of Beth's mainstreamed early education, or to send her to a special school. Beaumont's artwork, in a black-and-white watercolorlike style with many shades of gray, can become starkly expressionistic at times of dread and more realistic at calmer moments, achieving some striking images and powerful visual metaphors. VERDICT With an ultimate message of hope and love, this adult work will resonate strongly with parents of children with special needs.-SR © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

  Publishers Weekly Review

Baby Beth is born with an atrial septal defect-a literal hole in her heart-and her arrival brings not joy but urgent fear and alarm to her parents, compounded when she is diagnosed with Down Syndrome. Beaumont's graphic memoir of her child and family digs unsparingly into uncertainty and despondency, resentment and acceptance. It portrays a complicated issue with compassion, deftly joining pictures and dialogue to give intense awareness of the lives portrayed. Beaumont opens herself and her inner thoughts with a painful immediacy through unspoken dread and anger expressed through thought balloons and remarkable visual symbolism. A shopping street literally closes inward to imprison her; an unsympathetic schoolmaster falls asleep on Henny's protests, using the word balloon as an actual pillow. This harrowing and uplifting graphic memoir speaks to the families that include people with Down Syndrome, each page lovingly saturated with humanity. (Oct.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
<p>On Mother's Day 2001, Henny Beaumont gave birth to her third daughter, Beth. For the first four hours of Beth's life, she seemed no different from Henny's two other little girls. But when the doctor told Henny and her husband that their daughter might have Down syndrome, Henny thought that her life was over. How would she be able to look after this baby, who required corrective heart surgery and an overwhelming amount of care, and manage her other two children at the same time? Why did she hold such intense feelings of disappointment, resentment, and sadness toward this weak and vulnerable baby? Henny wondered if she would even be able to love her daughter. And if Henny couldn't trust her own feelings about Beth, how could she expect other people to overcome their prejudices and ignorance about Beth's condition?</p> <p>Hole in the Heart is a moving and refreshingly honest look at raising a child with special needs. Henny doesn't shy away from the complicated emotions and challenges that affected her and her family. But her story also shows that fear can be the greatest of these challenges-and the most rewarding to overcome. Henny and Beth's journey speaks not only to parents of children with special needs and the medical and care professionals they interact with, but to all parents who wonder whether their child is loved enough and is reaching his or her potential.</p> <p>A raw, visually gripping memoir, Hole in the Heart shows how Down syndrome is only one piece of a family's story.</p>
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