Babyface: A Story of Heart and Bones by Jeanne McDermott
The riveting true story of a child, a family, and life on the outskirts of normal.
When Jeanne McDermott’s second child, Nathaniel, was born with Apert syndrome—a condition that results in a towering skull, a sunken face, and fingers webbed so tightly that hands look like mittens—she was completely unprepared for it. In this extraordinary memoir, McDermott calls on her dual roles as science journalist and mother to share her family’s traumatic yet enriching experience. Though McDermott and her family had to endure Nathaniel’s harrowing surgeries and the stares and comments of strangers and well-meaning friends, they were also transformed by the boy’s amazing strength and exuberant personality. With grace, courage, and humor, McDermott shows readers how a child with a rare syndrome can illuminate “a whole new way of seeing, not simply him and others, but ourselves.”
“Babyface is not so much about a child with special needs as it is about a normal family and what happens when life takes an unexpected turn.”—The Boston Globe
“As richly peopled as a novel . . . Jeanne McDermott has taken her education in grief and its transcendence and given it, with tenderness and even wit, to her readers.”—Rosellen Brown
“Jeanne McDermott’s dual identity as a cerebral science writer and fiercely loving mother gives her book an unusual breadth and depth, one it could never attain were she a narrower writer or a narrower human being.”—Anne Fadiman, author of The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down
Jeanne McDermott has written for the Smithsonian, Horticulture, The Wall Street Journal, Popular Science, and other publications. She was a Knight Fellow. Currently a science teacher in Cambridge, she lives in the Boston area with her husband and two children.