The Book about James

Non-Fiction - Inspirational
104 Pages
Reviewed on 03/31/2015
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Author Biography

Julia Gray lives in Germantown, TN and has been blessed with a wonderful husband and 9 children, the youngest of which has Down syndrome. She doesn’t have the life or fabulous career she always thought she would, and for that she is very thankful. Julia's purpose for sharing her innermost thoughts in this book is simply to challenge people to have the courage to see children with special needs without preconceived notions and prejudices.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Ashley Tetzlaff for Readers' Favorite

In her work, The Book About James, Julia Gray shares her thoughts on raising her son born with Down Syndrome. The book is broken into twenty-one “articles” – chapters that can be read as stand alones or in conjunction with the rest of the book (just like a magazine article). In each article, Julia Gray deals with a particular issue or experience: her reaction to James’ birth, schooling James, trusting in God when things are rough, side-effects of Down Syndrome, etc. Julia is honest about how her feelings were and what they are now. For those who are just starting to walk this road, this book will offer encouragement and hope. For all others, it's a peek into the ups and downs of life with Down Syndrome and God’s grace for it all.

Wow! Julia Gray’s The Book About James blessed me so much! I confess, I have always had this little fear in the back of my head that I would have a “forever child” – a kid with Down Syndrome or something like it. This is funny since as a kid I had friends who had DS and I loved to be around them. Who doesn’t enjoy a forty-year-old who plays like someone who is six? But I was afraid of having one myself. Julia Gray came face-to-face with her own fears when James was born: what would others think of her? Of him? How would her other children be affected? I really appreciated Julia’s honesty. She is willing, not only to share her joy in James NOW, but the feelings of fear she had THEN. I was encouraged that even if I do have a forever child one day, DS can be a blessing and not a burden.

Even though my two children are “normal”, I still found much encouragement in this book as a mother: no matter what our kids do or don’t accomplish, they are special just the way they are. And God gives us the grace to deal with everything – no matter how overwhelmingly big it seems to us. He really does work all things together for good and The Book About James shows us that. Beautifully written. Wonderful witty style. Well edited. Altogether highly recommended. Is there such a thing as a dozen stars?

Jack Magnus

The Book About James is an inspirational nonfiction work written by Julia Gray. Gray had already given birth to nine children, eight of whom survived, when her last child, James, was born with Down Syndrome. She was appalled and confused, and didn't really know how she would cope, but her faith and her husband helped her begin to accept what was now her reality. Little did she know that she would find her child with Down Syndrome to be charming and lovable, and enhanced by that extra chromosome. In the series of articles that comprise this book, Gray shares from her first moments with James through the stages of his growth as he learns to walk and talk, and goes on through kindergarten into primary school.

Julia Gray's inspirational nonfiction work, The Book About James, is brutally honest and sincere. She unabashedly shares both her dismay and doubts at James' diagnosis and the tale of her growing admiration and love for her enhanced child. I've had the pleasure of getting to know some young adults with Down Syndrome and knew I wanted to read this book when I saw it. Each of these articles is filled with warmth and love, and the collection forms a touching and humorous love story about an exceptional child. I think my favorite part of The Book About James discusses his elopement issues. While they were obviously not something a parent would want to have to deal with, the image of James watching, waiting and calculating the exact moment to bolt will keep me smiling for a long time. The Book About James is a marvelous collection of articles, and it's most highly recommended.

Charity Tober

The Book About James by Julia Gray is a candid and personal story regarding Down Syndrome and how it impacts everyday life. Gray begins the book by honestly describing her preconceived notions and prejudices against people with disabilities, and how she had to adjust her thought process when her own child was born with Down Syndrome. Gray recounts how she coped with this situation – initially with fear and despair – but she quickly learned a valuable lesson about people with disabilities from her own son. Baby James quickly wins and charms those around him - even to this day - with his sunny disposition and innocent nature, showing the family that a person with Down Syndrome is much more than just a person born with a genetic chromosome disorder. Gray describes life with James, from birth all the way to school age, describing the difficulties James faces – socially, physically and mentally - but also the joy he brings to their lives.

In The Book About James, Julia Gray does not hold back. She presents an honest and personal account, describing to readers her lowest moments, most embarrassing and hurtful thoughts, and the difficulties of raising a mentally disabled child in today’s world. But Gray doesn’t focus on the challenges alone; she gives the reader hope and inspiration with numerous personal accounts of how James impacted not only her life for the better, but also those around him, including his siblings, teachers and neighbors. I think this book is beneficial not only to parents of a Down Syndrome child but also to anyone wishing to learn more about living life with a mentally disabled person.