Cherie Reads

Goodnight, Brian

Goodnight, Brian - Steven Manchester This book was emotionally draining but ultimately uplifting. It's a book about family, unconditional love and perseverance. I loved it. In a nutshell, Brian Mauretti is placed on a special formula because he is lactose intolerant. After months on the formula, his mother, Joan, is convinced that something is wrong despite the insistence of her pediatrician that everything is fine and he will grow out of his digestive problems. After a second opinion, they find that Brian has a rare disorder caused by a lack of sodium and chloride in his diet. His formula was making him sick and causing irreparable brain damage. The family was told that he would never walk, talk or do any other normal activity. Mama, Brian's maternal grandmother, knows otherwise. She knows that with hard word, love, and perseverance, Brian will do all of those things and more. As Brian grows, Mama works tirelessly to prove the doctors wrong.The first few chapters were especially hard for me to read. As a mother to two young boys, I really felt for Joan. As a mother, you do everything you can to make sure your child is healthy and happy. The author did a fantastic job of writing all the emotions a mother would feel in that situation: guilt, anger, exhaustion, frustration. I felt all of those things right along with Joan and my heart just broke for her. I find that sometimes male author shy away from delving too deeply into female emotions but Mr. Manchester really did a fantastic job. The author also did a fantastic job of painting a picture of Mama and her surroundings. She's a short, round Italian lady with a soft middle who smells of Jean Nate and garlic. She's fiercely protective of her family and loves them all unconditionally. She has more patience than I could ever hope to have. I could almost smell her red gravy, ravioli and spinach pies as I read. I could almost hear the ocean and feel the sand as they spent time on the beach. I really saw the strings of garlic in the windows of the shops in Little Italy. Not only do the descriptions paint a picture, they draw you in and make you a member of Mama's family.We follow Mama and her family from the late 70's through the early 90's. We are there and share in their joy when Brian has his "firsts." We are also there when Mama helps others in the family to deal with their struggles. She helps them get through divorce, relationships, leaving home, and more while doling out the kind of wisdom and unconditional love that I can only hope to offer my own grandchildren one day. This is not a book filled with mystery or action. The reader knows, for the most part, what's going to happen and where things will end. This isn't a book you read because you want to know what's going to happen next. There is some difficult subject matter, and there are some very emotional scenes. I've even read some reviews saying that it's depressing. I do not agree. This is a book you read to nourish your soul. It's a book that will instill a sense of hope. It's a book that can teach you how to love unconditionally, how to have patience, how to persevere in the face of defeat. It was uplifting.Note: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are 100% my own.