Saturday, September 8, 2012

Book Suggestions: "Expecting Adam" by Martha Beck

Martha Book Suggestions Image
"Expecting Adam" may make you feel differently about the possibility of having a child with severe disabilities. It may make you want to get on a Soapbox about whether a woman should ever be encouraged to abort her baby. It will certainly make you think about whether Harvard University is what it seems to be. But, at least three other book lovers have emailed me regarding this book and how much they connected to it -- without any reference to these controversies it addresses.

I deeply connected to this book, too. Generally, the books I love have extensive characterization. I'll admit that I'll look past a lot of dull in a book and read for a great character. "Expecting Adam" had no amount of dull, but I love it for the relationship of the characters. I know that the relationship between Adam and Martha is more of a focus in this book, but I kept reading "Expecting Adam" because I loved the relationship that Martha and John have and develop through the story.

I read this while my husband was deployed to Iraq. I was cleaning and fixing and nursing and training and witnessing milestones and barely sleeping and talking to my husband about once every two weeks. During this time, our son developed severe food allergies and was put on a strict diet free of peanuts, soy, eggs, and milk. I was confused and worried and I was making every parenting decision on my own. When John and Martha were finally able to share their experiences with each other and found such a common ground, I longed for a meeting of minds with my husband.

Of course, this book is a memoir. These aren't just characters. I knew nothing of Martha Beck before I read the book, but looked in to it when I'd finished. I found that Martha had been a Mormon and had controversially left the church. She's published other books (best-sellers, I might add) regarding this part of her life. Having several Mormon friends and family members, I was surprised and curious about this extended view of her life, but...

I was devastated to find out that Martha and John have divorced because they both realized they were gay.

I was discussing this fact with an friend who is in her sixties and had read the book shortly after I had. She insisted that Martha and John's divorce was happy because they are both gay now so they are being who they were meant to be. Regardless of your feelings on homosexuality, I find the dissolving of any relationship, especially a marriage, to be worthy of mourning.

Discussion Questions:
1. What do you think, am I taking this too hard because I related so much to the struggles of their relationship in early marriage? Is this information disappointing - I daresay, a shock - for you?
2. In what ways do you feel like you might be able to cope with finding out that your unborn child has a disability?

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