A micro-preemie fights for survival in this extraordinary and gorgeously told memoir by her parents, both award-winning journalists.
Juniper French was born four months early, at 23 weeks' gestation. She weighed one pound, four ounces, and her twiggy body was the length of a Barbie doll. Her head was smaller than a tennis ball, her skin was nearly translucent, and through her chest you could see her flickering heart. Babies like Juniper, born at the edge of viability, trigger the question: Which is the greater act of love - to save her or to let her go?
Kelley and Thomas French chose to fight for Juniper's life, and this is their incredible tale. In one exquisite memoir, the authors explore the border between what is possible and what is right. They marvel at the science that conceived and sustained their daughter and the love that made the difference. They probe the bond between a mother and a baby, between a husband and a wife. They trace the journey of their family from its fragile beginning to the miraculous survival of their now thriving daughter.
"Kelley and Thomas French are two of America's best narrative journalists, and here is their most important story yet. Juniper is an astonishingly intimate and honest account of a mother, a father, and a complicated baby whose very existence calls into question every easy assumption about what a life means. This is a deeply moving and meaningful book." (David Finkel, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of Thank You for Your Service)
"The Frenches put forth a love story about their daughter, with highs and lows throughout and moments of sheer joy that will keep readers involved until the very last page. This achingly tender memoir is also a roller-coaster...." (Publishers Weekly)
"This is what happens when two great writers join together to tell something really worth telling. This book, of a life barely there, breaks your heart on one page, and makes you want to pump your fist in the air just a few paragraphs later. It is an achingly lovely book, all the lovelier because it is true." (Rick Bragg, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist)
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Very personal story, beautifully written
Honest - because although everything turned out OK for Juniper, the Frenchs make it clear that they doubted themselves at every turn.
Moving - in particular the relationships that the Frenchs formed with the hospital staff and their doctors, and their developing relationship with their daughter.
Uplifting - because it is a story about hope and involves a lot of clever people coming together to save a child.
I found it very moving when Thomas described reading Harry Potter to his tiny daughter.
Both of them have very pleasant speaking voices and read the story in a way that hinted at how they felt at the time, without becoming melodramatic. They narrate as well as they write!