Matthew: A Son's Life, A Mother's Story

Overview

From the moment she held him in her arms, Anne Crosby had deep fears for her newborn son. Although the staff at the hospital in London paid no attention to her concerns, her instincts were correct: Matthew had Down syndrome. After struggling with her contradictory feelings, Crosby set about doing whatever she could to help Matthew lead as full a life as possible.

Matthew is the moving, honest, perceptive, and often funny account of the life he made with the help of his ...

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Overview

From the moment she held him in her arms, Anne Crosby had deep fears for her newborn son. Although the staff at the hospital in London paid no attention to her concerns, her instincts were correct: Matthew had Down syndrome. After struggling with her contradictory feelings, Crosby set about doing whatever she could to help Matthew lead as full a life as possible.

Matthew is the moving, honest, perceptive, and often funny account of the life he made with the help of his mother and many other caring people. With an eye for detail and an acute ear for voices, Crosby describes Matthew’s family and friends, doctors and teachers—a large cast that includes Gladys Strong, his Cockney caregiver, the famous child psychologist D.W. Winnicott, and Princess Anne, a benefactor of Matthew’s boarding school. Crosby evokes the forbidding atmosphere of Normansfield, the residential institution founded by the man who gave his name to Down syndrome; the spacious beauty of Mentmore, the country estate where she often took Matthew to play; and the touching camaraderie of the hospital ward in which Matthew died of heart failure at age twenty-five.

In this remarkable memoir, Crosby also explores Matthew’s inner life, telling of his mimicry and unexpected humor, his outbursts of affection and occasional fits of misery, his gallantry toward his first love, and his disappointment over the loss of his first job. Crosby’s portrait gives us an image of Matthew that deepens our understanding of what it means to be human.

"Anne Crosby has written a chronicle of caring--an account of a life that is at once painful, mysterious, and transformative."--Timothy Shriver, Chairman, Special Olympics

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In the early 1960s, before extensive prenatal testing was available, Anne Crosby expressed to her gynecologist that there was something "terribly wrong" with her unborn baby. Her doctor dismissed her concerns, suggesting that her "problem" was that she had a baby with a man who was not her husband. Crosby gave birth to a son, Matthew, with Down's syndrome. She struggled for Matthew's entire life (he died at age 24) to provide him with quality care and a sense of security, despite being encouraged by professionals to focus her full attention on her older daughter and to accept Matthew as "The Throwaway Child." Through journal-like entries, Crosby, a painter from England, creates a beautiful portrait of Matthew throughout his years, sparing no painful detail, and underscores the importance his physical surroundings play in his emotional well-being. She's conflicted in discussing Matthew's father, Theo, especially when portraying Theo's feelings toward his son's disability (at one point accusing Crosby of being "too attentive" as Matthew was slowly dying in a hospital ward from heart failure). Crosby's memoir, both humorous and sad, is raw in emotion and unflinching in its honesty. (June) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781589880269
  • Publisher: Dry, Paul Books, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 6/1/2006
  • Pages: 350
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.70 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author


Anne Crosby was born in 1929 in England. She divides her time between London and Washington, DC. Matthew is her first book.
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