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

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

by Anne Crosby
     
 

"Crosby creates a beautiful portrait of Matthew throughout his years…Crosby's memoir, both humorous and sad, is raw in emotion and unflinching in its honesty."—Publishers Weekly

"Anne Crosby has written a chronicle of caring—an account of a life that is at once painful, mysterious, and transformative. From draconian institutions to

Overview

"Crosby creates a beautiful portrait of Matthew throughout his years…Crosby's memoir, both humorous and sad, is raw in emotion and unflinching in its honesty."—Publishers Weekly

"Anne Crosby has written a chronicle of caring—an account of a life that is at once painful, mysterious, and transformative. From draconian institutions to matronly neighbors to adoring friends, Matthew, his parents, and his sister travel a road of full of struggle, humor, and the unknown. This book will remind all people of good will of the enormous struggle that so many families have had to endure to gain even the simplest sense of dignity."—Timothy Shriver, Chairman, Special Olympics

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 doctor who gave his name to Down syndrome; the spaciousness 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.

"I knew and liked and respected Matthew. I thought he merited a biography, and I'm very glad that he now has one, especially that it is such a very good one. In this singular story, Anne Crosby tells us of Matthew's outer and inner life: his sad acceptances, his capacity to love and fall in love, his ambitions and their fulfillment, and his idiosyncratic sense of humor. Anne Crosby is able to tell us all this because, as we learn again from this book, love and knowledge are very much related. Matthew was a mystery to many. But because his mother empathized with him so keenly and has captured him so precisely with her sharp intelligence and brilliant powers as a writer, Matthew comes to us in this gripping book as a whole and delightful and unforgettable person."—Galway Kinnell

Anne Crosby was born into a large family in England in 1929. Crosby received little formal schooling as a child, due to the turmoil of the Second World War, her father's "experimental" ideas about education, and having been diagnosed with dyslexia. She came to excel in art school, and at the age of twenty she lived abroad for several years in Rome, Paris, and the Var region of France. After returning to London she painted and taught in art schools. In 1960 she married Theo Crosby with whom she had a daughter, Dido, and a son, Matthew. She continues to paint, and now divides her time between Washington, DC, and London. Matthew is her first book.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Praise for Anne Crosby and Matthew

"Crosby creates a beautiful portrait of Matthew throughout his years…Crosby's memoir, both humorous and sad, is raw in emotion and unflinching in its honesty."—Publishers Weekly

"Anne Crosby has written a chronicle of caring—an account of a life that is at once painful, mysterious, and transformative. From draconian institutions to matronly neighbors to adoring friends, Matthew, his parents, and his sister travel a road of full of struggle, humor, and the unknown. This book will remind all people of good will of the enormous struggle that so many families have had to endure to gain even the simplest sense of dignity."—Timothy Shriver, Chairman, Special Olympics

"I knew and liked and respected Matthew. I thought he merited a biography, and I'm very glad that he now has one, especially that it is such a very good one. In this singular story, Anne Crosby tells us of Matthew's outer and inner life: his sad acceptances, his capacity to love and fall in love, his ambitions and their fulfillment, and his idiosyncratic sense of humor. Anne Crosby is able to tell us all this because, as we learn again from this book, love and knowledge are very much related. Matthew was a mystery to many. But because his mother empathized with him so keenly and has captured him so precisely with her sharp intelligence and brilliant powers as a writer, Matthew comes to us in this gripping book as a whole and delightful and unforgettable person."—Galway Kinnell

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781589880269
Publisher:
Dry, Paul Books, Incorporated
Publication date:
06/01/2006
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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