My Heart Can’t Even Believe It:
A Story of Science, Love and Down Syndrome
Book Author: Amy Silverman
Review by: Maureen A. Mills,
Raising Special Kids
Photo by Johanna Huckeba
Let me start with this disclaimer: I’ve always been a sucker for the smart + funny combo. When you add in a smattering of profanity, I’m a goner. For those traits and more, author Amy Silverman is the most recent object of my affection for her newly-published memoir, My Heart Can’t Even Believe It: A Story of Science, Love and Down Syndrome (Woodbine House).
The book is Silverman’s first and explores her relationship with her younger daughter Sophie, who has Down syndrome. I’ve been the mother of a son with Down syndrome for eighteen years, and I have read my fair share of books surrounding the subject, both fiction and nonfiction.
Photo courtesy of Amy Silverman
As the managing editor of the Phoenix New Times, Silverman has decades of reporting experience. This book showcases the author’s ability to look at her circumstances from two perspectives: the curious, cool-headed journalist looking for answers and the determined, loving mother who celebrates her spirited daughter.
Silverman is willing to expose her own vulnerabilities and insecurities without resorting to the platitudes heard so often by families who have children with unexpecte diagnoses. Silverman wants facts and explanations, and tenaciously digs for answers in places many of us, without her considerable skills as a journalist, would overlook.
Silverman’s book is educational, funny, surprising and sweet; an honest and open exploration of her relationship with Sophie and with Down syndrome. And, as she makes perfectly clear, although these two facts may be inextricably entwined, the latter does not define the former. The book is less about Down syndrome and more about how the author, as she so eloquently wrote in the book’s first chapter, “morphed from a spoiled, self-centered brat… into [a] mother;” the type of transformation which, I daresay, many parents will recognize.