A True Story of Birth, Rebirth, and Everyday Magic
By Martha Beck
(Harmony, Paperback, 9780307719645, 368pp.)
Publication Date: August 2, 2011
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“A wonderful book, funny unbelievably tender, and smart. It shimmers.”--Anne Lamott
Includes an all-new afterword about Adam.
John and Martha Beck had two Harvard degrees apiece when they conceived their second child. Further graduate studies, budding careers, and a growing family meant major stress--not that they'd have admitted it to anyone (or themselves). As the pregnancy progressed, Martha battled constant nausea and dehydration. And when she learned her unborn son had Down syndrome, she battled nearly everyone over her decision to continue the pregnancy. She still cannot explain many of the things that happened to her while she was expecting Adam, but by the time he was born, Martha, as she puts it, "had to unlearn virtually everything Harvard taught [her] about what is precious and what is garbage."
MARTHA BECK is a writer, life coach, and columnist for O, the Oprah Magazine. She has a B.A., an M.A., and a Ph.D. in sociology from Harvard. Beck's other books include the New York Times bestseller Finding Your Own North Star, Leaving the Saints, The Four Day Win, The Joy Diet, and Steering by Starlight. Dr. Beck lives in Phoenix, Arizona, with her family.
- At the beginning of Expecting Adam(p. 7), the author reveals that she wrote the book twice previously as a novel. Why do you think she began her work as fiction? Does this seem unusual or surprising? How did the switch to the nonfiction genre of memoir change her and her story? What were the risks involved?
“Immensely appealing…hooked me on the first page and propelled me right through visions and out-of-body experiences I would normally scoff at.”--Detroit Free Press
“I challenge any reader not to be moved by it.”--New York Newsday
"Expecting Adam is Martha Beck's meticulously written, uplifting, and compassionate account of being gifted with a retarded son who opens her heart to the deep intuitions that love can bring." --Judith Orloff, M.D., author of Second Sight
"Set half in Harvard and half in heaven, Expecting Adam is a tough-minded yet tender-hearted book of spiritual discovery--a rueful, riveting, piercingly funny, thoroughly modern and deeply old-fashioned memoir. In short, a book to be reckoned with." --Julia Cameron, author of The Artist's Way
"I can't believe I almost didn't read this book. The thing is, I thought it was about a lady who had a baby with Down Syndrome. This is like saying ANNA KARENINA is a book about a lady who commits suicide. In fact, this book is about matters so important and yet so totally way-out that I would accept no one but a comic genius with seven years at Harvard under her belt telling me about them. That's Martha Beck: funny, companionable, razor-sharp, down-to-earth, and onto the Big Secrets of Life Itself. Anyone considering having a child should have to read this book. It has changed some of my thinking about pregnancy and about children with disabilities, and I don't think it's too much to say it could change my life."
--Marion Winik, author of First Comes Love and The Lunchbox Chronicles
"Expecting Adam is not one of those grit-your-teeth, lemons-into-lemonade sagas that leave the reader feeling more besieged and guilty than the writer. It is a long hymn, from a practical woman caught flatfooted by amazing grace. Martha Beck is a celebrant skeptics can trust."
--Jacquelyn Mitchard, author of The Most Wanted and The Deep End of the Ocean
"I laughed. I cried. I couldn't put it down. I didn't want it to end. I wish I knew Adam and his family--and of course I do. A brave, uplifting, life-transforming book." --Sophy Burnham, author of A Book of Angels
"With uncommon sense and dependable wit, Martha Beck unravels every assumption about the meaning of life, choice, love--and the wisdom of pursuing happiness through any of the usual routes. If Expecting Adam raises suspicions among more rational readers that Martha Beck is slightly crazy, it raised my hopes that I'd catch it from her." --Mary Kay Blakely, author of American Mom