The Unfinished Child
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When Marie MacPherson, a mother of two, finds herself unexpectedly pregnant at thirty-nine, she feels guilty. Her best friend, Elizabeth, has never been able to conceive, despite years of fertility treatments. Marie's dilemma is further complicated when she becomes convinced something is wrong with her baby. She then enters the world of genetic testing and is entirely unprepared for the decision that lies ahead.
Intertwined throughout the novel is the story of Margaret, who gave birth to a daughter with Down syndrome in 1947, when such infants were defined as ""unfinished"" children. As the novel shifts back and forth through the decades, the lives of the three women converge, and the story speeds to an unexpected conclusion.
With skill and poise, debut novelist Theresa Shea dramatically explores society's changing views of Down syndrome over the past sixty years. The story offers an unflinching and compassionate history of the treatment of people with Down syndrome and their struggle for basic human rights. Ultimately, The Unfinished Child is an unforgettable and inspiring tale about the mysterious and complex bonds of family, friendship, and motherhood.
to motherhood relatively late, Shea has always been particularly sensitive to the technological and moral issues surrounding women’s choices regarding childbirth. Follow Theresa on Twitter at @SheaTheresa. MORE GREAT FICTION FROM BRINDLE & GLASS The Matter of Sylvie by Lee Kvern On a Wednesday in July 1961, Jacqueline Burrows begins her day perched on the cool concrete of her front steps, smoking. Jacqueline is the mother of three children, including her sweet, difficult daughter, Sylvie.
jealousies and irritations. And sometimes the tables turned and the person who’d always been doing the envying was suddenly the one who was envied. It happened that way when Marie had her children. Then it was Elizabeth’s turn to suck it up. “Aren’t you having any coffee?” Elizabeth asked. “No, not now.” Marie dropped her gaze and felt her friend’s eyes studying her. “You look kind of tired. Are you sleeping well?” Elizabeth asked. “You’ve got circles around your eyes. How’s work?” “Work’s
outside much, if at all, and she loved being outside. She especially adored watching the birds and, when summer arrived, touching the roses that grew in a flowerbed next to their favourite bench. It was Monday. Her other children were in school until three-thirty. The bus back to the city left in an hour. Sunshine would do Carolyn good. Another attendant stationed at the locked door to the courtyard let them outside, where the fresh air seemed even sweeter because of the stark contrast. May
she accomplished here? Nothing. She needed to go shopping. She would load her cart with all their necessities then return home and line the canned goods evenly on the pantry shelf. Lunch with Elizabeth no longer looked attractive. She was tired of being the one who always called first. She had her family to keep her busy; maybe she didn’t really need Elizabeth that much anyway. TWENTY-TWO Elizabeth awoke on Saturday at home in her apartment with nothing on her calendar. She made oatmeal with
quickly when she’d looked perplexed. What did he mean that hers was a memorable case? “What’s going on here?” she asked. “I’m getting the feeling there’s something that I should know but I don’t.” “It was nice to hear from you again,” Dr. Maclean said lightly. “Give my regards to your mother.” “My mother? Why are you so solicitous of my mother?” And which mother? If he remembered the date of her birth, maybe he knew who her real mother was. “Which mother do you mean? My birth mother or my