Thursday, July 9, 2009

A Different Life: Growing Up Learning Disabled and Other Adventures

Candor. Memoirs from authors in their twenties attract readers less from the disclosure of wisdom acquired over decades than from telling a story about something extraordinary and worth reading about in a life at its beginning. Quinn Bradlee’s memoir, A Different Life, tells the story of the first twenty six or so years of his life. The child of Washington Post luminaries Ben Bradlee and Sally Quinn, the extraordinary story he tells here is a sweet tale of being supported by loving parents as he struggled with learning disabilities and medical problems. After years of illnesses, Quinn was diagnosed at age fourteen with something that’s estimated to impact one in 2,000 people: Velo-Cardio-Facial Syndrome. This genetic syndrome is manifested through multiple physical ailments and learning disabilities. Quinn’s candor in A Different Life led me to wince at times and laugh at others as he tells his story in his own unique way, and without a trace of embarrassment. Any parent of a child with learning disabilities or physical ailments will resonate with what Quinn describes on many of these pages. Through his parents, Quinn has had doors open to him that would be closed to others, and he has used that advantage well in this case as a chance for a young man with learning disabilities to talk about his life and call attention to genetic syndromes that we might not have heard about before reading this book.

Rating: Three-star (Recommended)

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