Raising Owen

An Extra-Ordinary Memoir on Motherhood

Non-Fiction - Autobiography
228 Pages
Reviewed on 12/23/2023
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Author Biography

Suzanne Lezotte was born and raised in Michigan, in a family of nine kids. When she became pregnant with her first child, she never expected he would be diagnosed with Down syndrome, seven days after his birth. Her journey through parenthood required a different learning curve, one filled with trials and tribulations, but also joy and amazement. She embraced inclusion for her son not only in the classroom, but in the world.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Joe Wisinski for Readers' Favorite

Suzanne Lezotte’s first child, Owen, was born with Down Syndrome. Lezotte did not know about his diagnosis until a week after his birth. The identification of Owen as a Down Syndrome child brought with it the expected feelings of grief, fear, and doubts. The experience of raising a Down Syndrome child led Lezotte to write Raising Owen, which addresses all aspects of both Owen’s life and that of his family. Despite his diagnosis, Owen successfully navigated school, including the years of middle and high school, which are tough for anyone. The book concludes with Owen in junior college and applying to a four-year college. His success is partially because Lezotte fought for him every step of the way, including having to deal with a difficult in-law. As the book progresses, we learn not only about Owen’s successes but also about how his mother’s life was changed.

Raising Owen is a remarkable book. Author Suzanne Lezotte writes with complete honesty about both the difficulties and joys of raising a Down Syndrome child. Although the book is non-fiction, it reads like a well-crafted novel, perhaps due to the author’s background as a public relations professional. An especially interesting aspect is the recounting of how Lezotte consistently fought for full inclusion for Owen in his educational pursuits, meaning that she wanted him in the same classes and doing the same activities as any other child. Although Lezotte doesn’t hesitate to admit her mistakes, her vast love for Owen, and his determination to always fight for what’s best for him, shines through on every page. I highly recommend this excellent book not only to parents of a Down Syndrome child but also to those who may have any other disability, and indeed to any parent or anyone else who wants to read a fascinating, inspiring book.