Thursday, July 23, 2009

This Lovely Life

Memoir week continues with Vicki Forman's newly released memoir This Lovely Life.

If I could only use one word to describe this book, that word would be STUNNING.

Vicki Forman became a person she never imagined she'd be when her 23 week gestation twins arrived prematurely. Despite her pleas to the doctors to let them go and not resuscitate them, California law dictated that this could not happen. The twins, Evan and Ellie, survived their birth, though Ellie passed away 4 days later. The months and years to follow find Forman on an unimaginable journey which she details in This Lovely Life.

Evan's story isn't that story we read about when the premature baby goes on to be 'just fine', a little behind in development but otherwise 'normal'. His story is the one in which he spends months in the NICU, with tiny bits of progress, but problems always cropping up. Things are never really 'just fine' for him. A feeding tube, blindess, seizures. These are but a few of the challenges facing Evan and the Forman family as they come to terms with the fact that Evan is considered profoundly disabled.

Forman writes with an unbelievable amount of honesty. The power of her words that articulate the fear, anger, and dismay she felt gave me a heaviness in my chest as I read and reread them. We experience the love Forman has for Evan, as she truly becomes his advocate and fights to achieve for him a life that he deserves. Forman also displays an incredible amount of hope. Throughout it all, she remains steadfast in her determination to celebrate what Evan can do, rather than what he cannot.

This Lovely Life is a sad book, but it is also full of love and hopefulness. It is the sort of book you think about when you are not reading it, that questions how to cope with medical professionals that often treat a patient as a series of problems to be fixed rather than as a human being, the sort of book that questions what 'life' really is.


(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

I never heard of this one it sounds good.

Melissa said...

I haven't heard of this one, but I love memoirs and am always on the lookout for new ones. Thanks for the great review!

Megan said...

Ooo, can't believe I've been missing memoir week. I love a good memoir. *dashes off to catch up*

I've never heard of this one either, but it sounds very powerful. Onto the wishlist with it! Thanks for the great review!

Samantha said...

Tara, we must have been reading this one at the same time as I have just finished it too! Like you I was blown away by this book - the story just got its hooks into me and I could not look away though sometimes it was very painful to keep going. I think Forman is a phenomenal writer. She has her own website which I just visited and she has a picture of Evan on it - what an amzing soul :-)

Leightongirl said...

What a beautiful review. Thank you for such kind, thoughtful and open words.

Tara said...

Diane, it's brand new and it's excellent!

Melissa, do give this one a try, it's fantastic.

Megan, I also love memoirs! This is an amazing story, and amazingly told.

Sam, you're kidding me! I also visited the website and was so thrilled to see photos of Evan. He was amazing.

Vicki, you are welcome, thank you for opening your heart to the world and sharing your story.

Staci said...

This one sounds really intriguing and i think I would like to read it!

bermudaonion said...

That sounds so heartbreaking and hopeful at the same time. Great review.

Tara said...

Staci, I hope you do - this is an excellent book.

bermudaonion, absolutely, thank you!

Anna said...

Sounds like an interesting story. I'll keep this one in mind.

Diary of an Eccentric