“In this wise and moving memoir, George Estreich tells the story of his family as his younger daughter is diagnosed with Down syndrome and they are thrust into an unfamiliar world. Estreich writes with a poet's eye and gift of language, weaving this personal journey into the larger history of his family, exploring the deep and often hidden connections between the past and the present. Engaging and unsentimental, The Shape of the Eye taught me a great deal. It is a story I found myself thinking about long after I'd finished the final pages.”—Kim Edwards, author of The Memory Keeper’s Daughter
When Laura Estreich is born, her appearance presents a puzzle: does the shape of her eyes indicate Down syndrome, or the fact that she has a Japanese grandmother? In this powerful memoir, George Estreich, a poet and stay-at-home dad, tells his daughter's story, reflecting on her inheritance—from the literal legacy of her genes, to the family history that precedes her, to the Victorian physician John Langdon Down’s diagnostic error of “Mongolian idiocy.” Against this backdrop, Laura takes her place in the Estreich family as a unique child, quirky and real, loved for everything ordinary and extraordinary about her.
“Estreich brings a poet's eye and ear, an historian's depth of understanding, a humorist's healthy skepticism, and a scientist's curiosity to this poignant story of what it means to be a family.”—Tracy Daugherty, author of Hiding Man: A Biography of Donald Barthelme
“A beautifully told adventure tale of the heart. As the title suggests, George Estreich artfully and honestly—and often humorously—explores how we shape and are shaped by the people closest to us. What he discovers is nothing less than a revelation about the nature of love.”—Mitchell Zuckoff, author of Choosing Naia: A Family’s Journey
About the Author
George Estreich's collection of poems, Textbook Illustrations of the Human Body, won the Gorsline Prize and was published in 2004. A woodworker, fly-fisherman, and guitar player, he has taught composition, creative writing, and literature at several universities. He lives in Corvallis with his wife Theresa, a research scientist, and his two daughters, Ellie and Laura.