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Just Like Other Daughters

by Colleen Faulkner

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476423,275 (4.29)None
Alicia Richards loved her daughter from her very first breath. Days later, when tests confirmed what Alicia already knew--that Chloe had Down syndrome--she didn't falter. Her ex-husband wanted a child who would grow to be a scholar. For Alicia, it's enough that Chloe just is. Now twenty-five, Chloe is sweet, funny, and content. Alicia brings her to adult daycare while she teaches at a local college. One day Chloe arrives home thrumming with excitement, and says the words Alicia never anticipated. She has met someone--a young man named Thomas. Within days, Chloe and Thomas, also mentally challenged, declare themselves in love. Alicia strives to see past her misgivings to the new possibilities opening up for her daughter. Shouldn't Chloe have the same right to love as anyone else? But there is no way to prepare for the relationship unfolding, or for the moments of heartbreak and joy ahead. With grace and warmth, Colleen Faulkner tells an unflinching yet heartrending story of mothers and daughters, and of the risks we all take, both in loving and in letting go. "Faulkner's latest is a bittersweet and humorous glimpse into the relationship between a loving, protective mother and her adult daughter with Down syndrome. . .readers will find it surprisingly easy to relate to and sympathize with Alicia as she guides her special-needs daughter through love for the very first time."- RT Book Reviews "Marvelously authentic. In Alicia the author has captured the heart and will and spirit of most special needs moms. . . an interesting, emotional read which I thoroughly enjoyed. This story is all about love - the joy of finding it, the pain of losing it and the realization that it is all around us, sometimes in the most unexpected of places. I would recommend this novel to anyone who is prepared to laugh, cry and rejoice as they experience life through the eyes of some very special people." - All About Romance… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
This is my first read of 2017, and it's a re-read of a favorite. I also re-read all the reviews before writing this. Some of the criticisms are fair. The ending is abrupt (no spoiler), Ally isn't the most likeable parent on the planet, and there are stereotypes of people with intellectual disabilities rampant in the narrative.

However, life doesn't always give closure when life happens. I guess that's why an abrupt ending feels okay here. I know that many readers don't like it when the climax comes so close to the end of the book, and you don't even have time to catch your breath. But I do. It feels realistic when that happens.

Again, Alicia (Ally) wasn't the most likeable or the most politically correct parent on the planet. Her counterpart, Thomas's mother Margaret, was much more likeable. She was pleasant and cheerful and fully supportive of his inclusion in certain activities. But when it came to the relationship between Chloe and Thomas, Alicia was the more realistic parent about the limitations of these two individuals. Not all mentally challenged people are incapable of romantic relationships, but this isn't a story about people in general. This is a story about Chloe and Thomas. It may not have been politically correct to resist their marriage, but Alicia knew her daughter. She knew what she could handle and what she couldn't. I don't think that Margaret realized the impact that this relationship could have on everyone.

At the end, who was affected the most by what happened? Not Margaret and her husband. Chloe and Thomas lived with Alicia during their marriage. Yes, there were things I'm surprised that Alicia didn't handle differently (birth control being one of them). That came from her denial of the possibility of sexuality for someone with an intellectual disability. By the time she realized her mistake, she couldn't take some of the actions she might have if she had dealt with it when Chloe was younger. (I'm not saying that those actions would have been the right thing to do, but they would have been alternatives that many parents might have considered.)

I'm not sure what I would have done in her shoes. All I know is that everything I know and believe about intimacy for people with disabilities was turned upside down for re-examination. I don't know if it will ever look quite the same.

Now that's a novel.
  gentlespirit512 | Nov 27, 2018 |
2.5/5 stars (rounded down)

I enjoyed reading this book, but I didn't particularly like it at all( if that makes any sense). And to be honest the more I think about it the more things I find to dislike. But let's start with the good stuff.

​I enjoyed the writing style - I think that's actually what kept me reading. Although it was muddy at times when the time table changed from present to the story the main character was telling, for the most part it was easy and pleasant.
I liked the lesbian best friend living next door - although to be completely honest, her character felt a bit too flat and there could have been more to her story.
I also enjoyed having things told from Chloe's point of view, but there wasn't nearly enough of that.

Now onto the things I didn't enjoy. The main character was pretty much horrid for most of the book - controlling, prejudiced and selfish (which boggles my mind because you'd think that having a child with Down syndrome would make you understand things better). The story definitely revolves around Alicia, it only gives off a fake impression that the story is about Chloe. It's about Alicia hating her ex husband, it's about Alicia's dating life, it's about Alicia's dreams and hopes that got ruined, it's about Alicia's regrets, it's about Alicia's feelings... You get the drill.

​In some sense I liked reading about the challenges of raising a Down syndrome child - it's the way Alicia handled things that I disliked so much. At moments the things she said and thought, while were raw and true for her, really bordered on being just plain rude. She did come around at the end of the book, and was a bit better about things, but my opinion of her was well ruined by then.

I honestly think that when parents who have down syndrome child (or any other mental disability) read this book would be offended by the tone of the storytelling. I certainly was - and I don't even have kids.

​The plot was very predictable and also had a lot of unnecessary fillers that didn't go anywhere. Alicia's outing to her old church. There was a significant amount spent on this but by the end it was never mentioned again at all. Alicia's constant need to tell Randall everything and ask his opinion, while it was clear that he didn't give a flying rat's ass about anything. A lot of decisions and things she did were out of character and had no real meaning behind them.

The ending was the worst part. First of all it was very predictable. Second of all, it was just so messed up.
SPOILER
Chloe dies and Alicia is left with a perfect, healthy baby boy that her daughter delivered. Thomas gives up his parenting rights and so do his parents, so it's Alicia's baby now. She finally got a healthy, normal baby that she always wanted. I'm sorry, but what the hell is this load of crap? Her disabled daughter conveniently dies and Alicia gets to do her life over with a new baby AND a new boyfriend??
END SPOILER

At first I thought that this book was great for Down Syndrome rep, but after that ending I am not completely sure it was repping in it's favor at all.
​Also, any book that bad mouths any breed of a dog, be it a Pit bull, a Shepard, a Doberman, a Husky, automatically gets a no-no from me. There's enough of stupid "dog breed prejudice" online or from the people on the streets. No need to bring it into books. Dogs aren't born vicious, just like people aren't born evil.

I wouldn't recommend. ( )
  bookandsword | May 5, 2018 |
Not sure how I feel

At first I didn't like the Mom at all - she seemed like such an intellectual snob, even as she criticized her ex for the same thing. But she grew on me because of her love for her daughter. Good book, ends with hope. ( )
  Cfo6 | Mar 19, 2018 |
I won this book through Member Giveaway! Have not receive! It has been many many weeks!
  Amelianovich | Feb 5, 2014 |
Just Like Other Daughters is a remarkable story. It is simple, direct and beautiful and then deceptively complex. Chloe goes to adult care on a day she doesn’t normally attend and meets Thomas. How can two mentally disabled 20-somethings make a go of a real relationship and do they deserve that chance? As much as Alicia loves Chloe she sees her as somewhat suspended in time. A forever child. Alicia, to an extent, has also put her own life on hold using her daughter as something of an excuse not to spend too much time with anyone or get close to anyone. In a bold and brillant move, Faulkner not only gives us the tale from Alicia’s point of view but Chloe’s as well.

Just Like Other Daughters is a character driven tale of the relationship of a mother and daughter who have been on their own throughout the daughter’s life. Readers will think of the novel’s description that they’ve read this story before. You have not. Faulker’s approach is fresh and new. She takes chances from which a less experienced writer might shy away. Whatever happens in the course of the story, the reader is left with the sense that this is a mother who truly loves her daughter and truly wants the best for her. Sentimentality isn’t usually my chosen genre but I could not put Just Like Other Daughters down. The course seemed obvious but as the tale progressed I simply had to know what would happen next. ( )
  TammyDewhirst | Nov 27, 2013 |
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Alicia Richards loved her daughter from her very first breath. Days later, when tests confirmed what Alicia already knew--that Chloe had Down syndrome--she didn't falter. Her ex-husband wanted a child who would grow to be a scholar. For Alicia, it's enough that Chloe just is. Now twenty-five, Chloe is sweet, funny, and content. Alicia brings her to adult daycare while she teaches at a local college. One day Chloe arrives home thrumming with excitement, and says the words Alicia never anticipated. She has met someone--a young man named Thomas. Within days, Chloe and Thomas, also mentally challenged, declare themselves in love. Alicia strives to see past her misgivings to the new possibilities opening up for her daughter. Shouldn't Chloe have the same right to love as anyone else? But there is no way to prepare for the relationship unfolding, or for the moments of heartbreak and joy ahead. With grace and warmth, Colleen Faulkner tells an unflinching yet heartrending story of mothers and daughters, and of the risks we all take, both in loving and in letting go. "Faulkner's latest is a bittersweet and humorous glimpse into the relationship between a loving, protective mother and her adult daughter with Down syndrome. . .readers will find it surprisingly easy to relate to and sympathize with Alicia as she guides her special-needs daughter through love for the very first time."- RT Book Reviews "Marvelously authentic. In Alicia the author has captured the heart and will and spirit of most special needs moms. . . an interesting, emotional read which I thoroughly enjoyed. This story is all about love - the joy of finding it, the pain of losing it and the realization that it is all around us, sometimes in the most unexpected of places. I would recommend this novel to anyone who is prepared to laugh, cry and rejoice as they experience life through the eyes of some very special people." - All About Romance

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