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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Being a parent can be challenging at the best of times. Add the additional factor of a special needs child and the workload multiplies substantially, but, then again, so does the love and the inevitable learning curve that goes along with these needs. Jess was born prematurely; her mother suffering from chickenpox at the time. She was born in an era (the 1980s) that continued to foster the notion that a mother, concerned about certain growth patterns in her child, was actually a hypochondriac. Even though the family lived in a thriving metropolis, the medical professionals appeared to be far behind in the growing numbers of diverse special needs children being born every year. This only added to the difficulties: not knowing why Jess wasn’t developing ‘normally,’ and not knowing how to help her, the parents and grandparents were scrambling to research and determine how best to identify and help Jess’s special needs.
Vickie Rubin’s memoir, Raising Jess: A Story of Hope, is a heartwarming, compassionate story about a mother’s (and father’s) enduring love through difficult and challenging times. The author leads the reader on a journey through Jess’s life, right up to the growing concern of the global pandemic and how it might affect this charming, special needs child-turned-young woman. The story unfolds from the mother’s perspective, including journal entries and medical reports that document the growing concerns and research required to help this special child. The language is pure and to the point, pulling the reader right into this one family’s story; for a story about a special needs child is more than a child’s story, it’s a family’s story. The inclusion of a family photo album, pictures taken over the years, adds to the warmth and revealing love that engulf this story. This story will bring tears to the eyes of readers as they are educated and enraptured by one family’s journey with a special needs child. Thanks for sharing your story.