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Life as Jamie Knows It: An Exceptional Child Grows Up

by Michael Berube

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Reading Michael Berube's second book, I found that his writing style was accessible and conversational, while also dispensing quite a bit of information about disability studies - in a way that a non-academic could easily understand. I especially appreciated this, as I started the book having not read his first book about life with his son, Jamie, and knowing virtually nothing about Down's syndrome - or rather just enough to be misinformed!

While I am sure that there is a rather wide continuum of "disability" and ablilty among persons Down's syndrome, I felt foolish that had never considered how intellectually curious, emotionally sensitive, and "able" those individuals COULD be. If for nothing other than debunking my preconceived ideas in that area, the book is a tremendous gift to the reader.

The sensitivity that Berube shows regarding what Jamie would or would not like to be included in the book was also important, as it reminds the reader that Jamie is not simply the passive subject of his father's memoir/commentary on disability. I also had to chuckle, as the mother of 14-year-old twins, when, in observing that Jamie requires some reminding about maintaining personal hygiene, Berube observes that this is "very much like every American male teenager" - TOO true! ( )
  vasquirrel | Nov 25, 2016 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
As a teacher of exceptional young adults, I enjoyed reading this book about the life of an interesting and thoughtful young man. Aside from the accounts of Jamie's life and activities, there are parts of the book that made me think about more than just the life of a young man with Downs but about the lives of my two grown sons and indeed my life. What is important, after all? I want everyone to see my students for the people they are, not through the lens of their disabilities. I enjoyed meeting Jamie through these pages and hearing about what he thinks about many things. ( )
  hobbitprincess | Nov 17, 2016 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Life as Jamie Knows It is part sharing of Jamie's life experience and a general outline of how disability and society should interact. Prior to reading this book I thought that it would be more of a memoir. While I would have enjoyed reading more about Jamie and learning more about his specific experiences and life, it was a good mix of stories and factual/sociological commentary.
After reading this book, I now see it as more of a scholarly review than a traditional memoir. Bérubé organized the book with each chapter discussing a central theme such as health or school.
  n_cat | Nov 1, 2016 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Inspirational, heartwarming, feel good describes Life as Jamie Knows It. I love this book. The author writes about his son, Jamie, from age 10 to 23, who has Down syndrome. It is a heartwarming book that shows the give and take and the love between Jamie and the whole family. The great thing about this book, besides the love that comes through every page, is that the reader learns that those with Down syndrome are no different than those without Down syndrome, except for one thing...they have an extra chromosome. Jamie loves life and his family loves life with Jamie. ( )
  toothpick1 | Oct 25, 2016 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I went back and read the original book, _Life as We Know It_, before reading this, and if I had not gotten this one via LibraryThing (though my actual copy hasn't arrived yet and I read a library copy), I might not have gone for it given the earlier book, which is more philosophizing about disability than a story of a family. This second book does a little better in actually discussing Jamie's life, but it's still heavy on the ideas and light on the stories. After two books featuring Jamie, I know a lot about Down syndrome, but I feel I know very little about Jamie, and that may be better for my overall understanding of the world, but it still left me disappointed.
  benruth | Oct 24, 2016 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0807019313, Hardcover)

The story of Jamie Bérubé’s journey to adulthood and a meditation on disability in American life

Published in 1996, Life as We Know It introduced Jamie Bérubé to the world as a sweet, bright, gregarious little boy who loves the Beatles, pizza, and making lists. At four, he is like many young people his age, but his Down syndrome leads most people to see him only in terms of his disability.

Twenty years later, Jamie is no longer little, though he still loves the Beatles, pizza, and making lists. In Life as Jamie Knows It, Michael Bérubé chronicles his son’s growth and his growing love of the world, writing as both a disability studies scholar and as a father. He follows Jamie through the transitions within his family and home life, through his school years, through the complicated process of entering the workforce with a disability. In a book that joins stirring memoir and sharp philosophical inquiry, Bérubé guides us through the labyrinth of ethical issues surrounding how we approach disability and uses Jamie’s story to argue for a deeper understanding of disability that challenges us to move toward a more just, more inclusive society.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 06 Jun 2016 19:12:16 -0400)

"The story of Jamie Berube's journey to adulthood and a meditation on disability in American life Published in 1996, Life as We Know It introduced Jamie Berube to the world as a sweet, bright, gregarious little boy who loves the Beatles, pizza, and making lists. At four, he is like many young people his age, but his Down syndrome leads most people to see him only in terms of his disability. Twenty years later, Jamie is no longer little, though he still loves the Beatles, pizza, and making lists. In Life as Jamie Knows It, Michael Berube chronicles his son's growth and his growing love of the world, writing as both a disability studies scholar and as a father. He follows Jamie through the transitions within his family and home life, through his school years, through the complicated process of entering the workforce with a disability. In a book that joins stirring memoir and sharp philosophical inquiry, Berube guides us through the labyrinth of ethical issues surrounding how we approach disability and uses Jamie's story to argue for a deeper understanding of disability that challenges us to move toward a more just, more inclusive society"--… (more)

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