Thursday, September 29, 2011

GIVEAWAY and Book Review: A Good and Perfect Gift by Amy Julia Becker

After 3 days in the hospital, I was discharged to go home with my baby girl who had been diagnosed with Down syndrome. Any parent who has received a diagnosis understands how hard it is to deal with it at the beginning. There is a lot of grief and fear when you know so little about what the diagnosis will mean to your family and your child. On the way home from the hospital, we stopped at a Christian bookstore. I asked one of the clerks for their special needs section, which they did not have. I then asked for a book on special needs or Down syndrome, which they did not have either. Among their hundreds of books there was nothing that would help me deal with my baby’s diagnosis or that could give me hope and understanding. Thankfully, I was able to find the book "Gifts" at Barnes N Noble, which till this day continues to be my favorite book written by parents for parents, about Down syndrome.

A Good and Perfect Gift by Amy Julia Becker is the book I had hoped to find 4 years ago.

Written from a Christian perspective, Becker invites us to journey with her as she wrestles with her daughter’s diagnosis with Down syndrome. She shares the lessons learned and the ways in which God changed her perspective and rearranged her priorities. It is a beautiful, open, honest memoir of her experience dealing with her child’s diagnosis. Like the subtitle of the book says, it is about faith, expectations, and a little girl named Penny.

As a mother of a child with Down syndrome, and as a Christian, I was able to relate and appreciate Becker’s journey. I still find it incredible that somehow, with all of us being so different from one another; our children with Down syndrome teach us similar lessons.

The book is divided in 3 parts. The first 2 parts were my favorite “This Child” and, “Whoever Receives This Child, Receives Me”. Her last section “Just Penny” seemed to focus on her daughter and all that she is able to do. As much as I loved the first 2 parts, I wrestled with her last section. Penny seems to be a very “high functioning” child. So much indeed, that I had trouble “seeing” that she has Down syndrome. In fact, Penny seems to be “normal.” Penny’s speech, communication, and behavior at age 2 were outstanding, which made it hard for me to relate to her since my 4 year old is not there yet. And I felt guilty. Guilty that maybe I was not doing enough for my daughter. It made me wonder if her portrayal of Penny was accurate. It is other parents with kids with Down syndrome that will be drawn to her book, and I wonder if others will feel the same. Maybe not, maybe, Amy Julia’s book has simply challenged the insecurities I feel as Nichole’s mom

Overall, I liked her book. I appreciated her story. (I have edited this post)

Here you can download and read the first chapter of the book.

So, if you would like to get a copy of “A Good and Perfect Gift” by Amy Julia Becker, leave a comment! On Sunday (Nichole’s birthday) she will draw a name and Bethany House will send you a copy of the book!

And the winner is...


  1. Jenn Ridgeman5:27 PM

    I can so relate to the searching for information / books to help me understand or to have a glimpse of what to expect in Jack's future. There really wasn't much out there and doctors certainly weren't filled with knowledge or information. One of the first books I read was GIFTS. I will be excited to read this one too! We are all truly blessed by our children and the lessons they teach.

  2. RHonda Gleim6:19 PM

    It's so true...I was searching 6 years ago when our daughter was born and couldn't find much. I have learnt so much from my daughter, Tamara, she truley is a blessing to our family. This sounds like a very interesting book

  3. I went and read the first chapter,it made me cry.Wow,did that bring back memories of having my little Ruby and finding out she had Down syndrome.
    Looks like a good book!

  4. Ladies, I felt exactly as you did, when I brought my Christina home nine years ago. I am publishing a book like "Gifts" called "A Special Mother is Born" with 34 stories about how God blessed these Catholic parents with a special needs child. Most of the stories are about Down syndrome.

    I am now reading Amy Julia's book and will be reviewing it as well.

  5. Anonymous10:36 AM

    I would like to be added to the drawing.
    Gladys T

  6. Bonni5:05 PM

    Would love to read this, as a christian mom and mother of a daughter with DS. I am sure I will relate to some of her initial thoughts and fears. Please add me to the drawing.

  7. It is great that there are more resources for parents now... 20 years ago I found even less than you did.

  8. Nadine5:55 PM

    I loved the biblical theology that underpinned Amy's book. It was great to read about another Christian coming to terms with the arrival of a child with DS. This was of great encouragment to me as I reflected upon my own struggles with the arrival of my son Charlie with DS in 2009. I must agree with Ellen though about the last section of the book. Charlie is pretty much the same age as Penny is in this section and he is not doing anywhere near as much. I thought he was doing really well. I found this section really hard going and felt guilt and grief. It soured my view of the book and I finished it feeling quite upset. At this stage I would really struggle passing it onto someone else. I spend a lot of time assuring family and friends that Charlie is doing fine and that he is within normal range for children with DS. Perhaps the issues I have with the book are my own issues that I need to sort through but I wanted to be honest about my reaction as well. I would however recommend "Take Heart" by Kate Hurley and "Same Lake, Different Boat" by Stephanie Hubach.


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