Beautiful Eyes: A Father Transformed

Overview

Through parenting a child with a disability, a father discovers patience, acceptance, and unconditional love.
In 1987, Paul Austin and his wife Sally were newlyweds, excited about their future together and happily anticipating the birth of their first child. He was a medical student and she was a nurse.
Everything changed the moment the doctor rushed their infant daughter from the room just after her birth, knowing instantly that something was ...
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Beautiful Eyes: A Father Transformed

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This item will be available on October 20, 2014.
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Overview

Through parenting a child with a disability, a father discovers patience, acceptance, and unconditional love.
In 1987, Paul Austin and his wife Sally were newlyweds, excited about their future together and happily anticipating the birth of their first child. He was a medical student and she was a nurse.
Everything changed the moment the doctor rushed their infant daughter from the room just after her birth, knowing instantly that something was wrong. Sarah had almond-shaped eyes, a single crease across her palm instead of three, and low-set ears—all of which suggested that the baby had Down syndrome.Beginning on the day Sarah is born and ending when she is a young adult living in a group home, Beautiful Eyes is the story of a father's journey toward acceptance of a child who is different. In a voice that is unflinchingly honest and unerringly compassionate, Austin chronicles his life with his daughter: watching her learn to walk and talk and form her own opinions, making decisions about her future, and navigating cultural assumptions and prejudices—all the while confronting, with poignancy and moving candor, his own limitations as her father.It is Sarah herself, who, in her own coming of age and her own reconciling with her difference, teaches her father to understand her. Time and again, she surprises him: performing Lady Gaga’s "Poker Face" at a talent show; explaining how the word "retarded" is hurtful; reacting to the events of her life with a mixture of love, pain, and humor; and insisting on her own humanity in a world that questions it. As Sarah begins to blossom into herself, her father learns to look past his daughter’s disability and see her as the spirited, warmhearted, and uniquely wise person she is.
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Editorial Reviews

Dana Sachs
“A sensitive account of a family’s experience with Down syndrome…Paul Austin gives us a portrait of a spectacular young woman, his daughter Sarah, who is wise, bright, determined, often hilarious, occasionally sad, and always compelling. As we follow Sarah's story, the label 'Down syndrome' begins to disappear, replaced instead by an image of a complicated and unforgettable human being.”
Ann Hood
“In this beautiful, unflinching memoir, Paul Austin uses science, history, and a father's love and fear to trace his emotional journey with his daughter Sarah. Eventually, she becomes less his daughter with Down syndrome and simply his daughter. And every step of the way you will root for Austin, for Sarah, for everyone who has had to learn how to accept the path they are on. I simply love this book!”
Virginia Holman
“A riveting book: honest,fierce, and complex…A beautifully crafted, complex investigation into what it means to be fully human and fully loved, both as a parent and as a child. Everyone should read this book.”
Judy Goldman
“An intimate, richly layered story about the things that happen to us when we're not ready for them, about accepting life as it is, about learning from the ones we're supposed to be teaching. If you have a child with Down syndrome, of course, you should read this book. If you don't have a child with Down syndrome, you should read it, too. The impact is that strong.”
Peggy Payne
“Beautiful Eyes is honest, sensitive, exquisitely observed. A memoir not just for the immediate family of a child with Down syndrome, but for the whole human family.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393082449
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/27/2014
  • Pages: 320

Meet the Author

Paul Austin
Paul Austin, an emergency-room doctor, is the author of a previous memoir, Something for the Pain. His essays have appeared in Creative Nonfiction, the Southeast Review, and the Gettysburg Review. He lives in Durham, North Carolina.
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