Hot Best Seller

An Uncomplicated Life: A Father's Memoir of His Exceptional Daughter

Availability: Ready to download

A father’s exhilarating and funny love letter to his daughter with Down syndrome whose vibrant and infectious approach to life has something to teach all of us about how we can better live our own.  Jillian Daugherty was born with Down syndrome. The day they brought her home from the hospital, her parents, Paul and Kerry, were flooded with worry and uncertainty, but also ov A father’s exhilarating and funny love letter to his daughter with Down syndrome whose vibrant and infectious approach to life has something to teach all of us about how we can better live our own.  Jillian Daugherty was born with Down syndrome. The day they brought her home from the hospital, her parents, Paul and Kerry, were flooded with worry and uncertainty, but also overwhelming love, which they channeled to “the job of building the better Jillian.” While their daughter had special needs, they refused to allow her to grow up needy—“Expect, Don’t Accept” became their mantra. Little did they know how ready Jillian was to meet their challenge. Paul tells stories from Jillian’s mischievous childhood and moves to her early adulthood, tracing her journey to find happiness and purpose in her adult life, sharing endearing anecdotes as well as stories about her inspiring triumphs. Having graduated from high school and college, Jillian now works to support herself, and has met the love of her life and her husband-to-be, Ryan. In An Uncomplicated Life, the parent learns as much about life from the child as the child does from the parent. Through her unmitigated love for others, her sparkling charisma, and her boundless capacity for joy, Jillian has inspired those around her to live better and more fully. The day Jillian was born, Paul says, was the last bad day. As he lovingly writes, “Jillian is a soul map of our best intentions”—a model of grace, boundless joy, and love for all of us.


Compare

A father’s exhilarating and funny love letter to his daughter with Down syndrome whose vibrant and infectious approach to life has something to teach all of us about how we can better live our own.  Jillian Daugherty was born with Down syndrome. The day they brought her home from the hospital, her parents, Paul and Kerry, were flooded with worry and uncertainty, but also ov A father’s exhilarating and funny love letter to his daughter with Down syndrome whose vibrant and infectious approach to life has something to teach all of us about how we can better live our own.  Jillian Daugherty was born with Down syndrome. The day they brought her home from the hospital, her parents, Paul and Kerry, were flooded with worry and uncertainty, but also overwhelming love, which they channeled to “the job of building the better Jillian.” While their daughter had special needs, they refused to allow her to grow up needy—“Expect, Don’t Accept” became their mantra. Little did they know how ready Jillian was to meet their challenge. Paul tells stories from Jillian’s mischievous childhood and moves to her early adulthood, tracing her journey to find happiness and purpose in her adult life, sharing endearing anecdotes as well as stories about her inspiring triumphs. Having graduated from high school and college, Jillian now works to support herself, and has met the love of her life and her husband-to-be, Ryan. In An Uncomplicated Life, the parent learns as much about life from the child as the child does from the parent. Through her unmitigated love for others, her sparkling charisma, and her boundless capacity for joy, Jillian has inspired those around her to live better and more fully. The day Jillian was born, Paul says, was the last bad day. As he lovingly writes, “Jillian is a soul map of our best intentions”—a model of grace, boundless joy, and love for all of us.

30 review for An Uncomplicated Life: A Father's Memoir of His Exceptional Daughter

  1. 4 out of 5

    Debbie "DJ"

    Won through GR first-reads, thank you. When I received this book I wondered why I had entered a giveaway about a father and daughter relationship, as my own is so lacking. Then I realized the authors daughter has Down Syndrome. I have met many folks with this syndrome, and found them to be the most loving, joyous, and live-in-the-moment people around. It is a shame that I found a memoir such as this lacking in depth and heart-felt connection. The author, Paul Daugherty, is a sports columnist. In t Won through GR first-reads, thank you. When I received this book I wondered why I had entered a giveaway about a father and daughter relationship, as my own is so lacking. Then I realized the authors daughter has Down Syndrome. I have met many folks with this syndrome, and found them to be the most loving, joyous, and live-in-the-moment people around. It is a shame that I found a memoir such as this lacking in depth and heart-felt connection. The author, Paul Daugherty, is a sports columnist. In this memoir, he clearly states that his marriage is the perfect mix, he likes to work, his wife, to nurture. In fact, he didn't bother to show for his first child's birth, he was busy working at a sporting event. While much is spoken of God, and how God has given them their life's work, I felt an "oh brother" escape my lips. This book chronicles the life of their second child, Jillian, born with Down Syndrome. Daugherty describes the physical and emotional struggles of his daughter, the pain of "fitting in," and the cruelty of others. He also rejoices in Jillian's triumphs, her many achievements, graduating from high school, and finding a love of her own. The writing is somewhat pedestrian, but I can see this being an enjoyable book for mainstream readers. In fact, I plan to give this to my conservative mother, who I imagine liking it very much.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Melinda

    Such an uplifting and inspirational story. Paul Daugherty shares an intimate reminiscing of his daughter Jillian from birth to present. A story of a father’s love as he navigates parenting and life with a daughter with Down syndrome. Paul’s tribute to Jillian isn’t limited to Down syndrome it reads more of a love story – a love of father-daughter and their unbreakable bond, his wife Kerry’s dedication and determination to raise an independent young woman, their son Kelly who through the eyes and Such an uplifting and inspirational story. Paul Daugherty shares an intimate reminiscing of his daughter Jillian from birth to present. A story of a father’s love as he navigates parenting and life with a daughter with Down syndrome. Paul’s tribute to Jillian isn’t limited to Down syndrome it reads more of a love story – a love of father-daughter and their unbreakable bond, his wife Kerry’s dedication and determination to raise an independent young woman, their son Kelly who through the eyes and love of his sister Jillian, discovered himself deep within. An entire family playing a vital role in raising Jillian and offering opportunities capable of allowing her independence while in a positive loving environment. Paul shares Jillian’s comedic side, her crazy antics, her achievements, she is such an amazing young woman. He introduces us to the prominent players adding to Jillian’s life. Paul is brutally honest, admitting it wasn’t always a piece of cake, he also shares his frustrations, concerns while addressing a few thought provoking topics such as education and ethics. Wonderful read all will enjoy, Jillian is a memorable young woman along with the entire Daugherty clan. A gem exploring parenting and life in general, with a variety of messages, a story encompassing much.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Leslie

    4.25/5 Surprised I honestly really enjoyed Jillian's story! She is such an amazing, funny, caring person & aaaahhh this was great. So glad my teacher made us read this book. 4.25/5 Surprised I honestly really enjoyed Jillian's story! She is such an amazing, funny, caring person & aaaahhh this was great. So glad my teacher made us read this book.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Gaufre

    Picked it up randomly at the library and ended up reading it for one hour. It was beautiful. https://pauldaughertyuncomplicatedlif... Picked it up randomly at the library and ended up reading it for one hour. It was beautiful. https://pauldaughertyuncomplicatedlif...

  5. 4 out of 5

    Travis

    Disclaimer: I received this book for free in a giveaway from Goodreads First Reads. I didn't realize until I started reading that this book was written by a sports columnist. Paul Daugherty is apparently a longtime writer for the Cincinnati Enquirer and has done some work for Sports Illustrated. That's probably why I had never heard of him before; can't say I'm a huge SI fan. SI articles tend to be long, human interest stories with sports as their background. Quite frankly, all I want to know is Disclaimer: I received this book for free in a giveaway from Goodreads First Reads. I didn't realize until I started reading that this book was written by a sports columnist. Paul Daugherty is apparently a longtime writer for the Cincinnati Enquirer and has done some work for Sports Illustrated. That's probably why I had never heard of him before; can't say I'm a huge SI fan. SI articles tend to be long, human interest stories with sports as their background. Quite frankly, all I want to know is who they think will win the Super Bowl. If you want the human interest, however, there's plenty of it in this book. This is the true story of Daugherty's second child Jillian, who was born with Down Syndrome. More accurately, perhaps I should say it's the story of all those Jillian touched, which encompasses quite a few people: the neighbor that Jillian walked in on as he was getting out of the shower, the brother that would kiss her on the forehead in front of his buddies before heading out, her high school classmates who never quite seemed to know what to do with her, the college basketball coach who asked her to be team manager... The list goes on. Daugherty likes to refer to his daughter's activities as "the Jillian show." We get the full show here. Daugherty offers a very poetic writing style. He's fond of using analogies and often stops to wax philosophical on the difference between being alive and living, the "fairness" of life, the nature of relationships, etc. Perhaps the main strength of his work is that he holds absolutely nothing back- we get the good, the bad, and the ugly. He doesn't try to sugarcoat the dismay he felt when he first found out his daughter wasn't "perfect." He doesn't cover up the times he yelled at his daughter during late night homework sessions. Neither does he ever miss a chance to relate how desperately he loves his little girl, and how he would do anything for her. Well, if your greatest strength is also your greatest weakness, I think we have a fine case study here. From the sheer intimacy of the book, I get the distinct impression that it was not written for its readers. As it draws to an end, and Daugherty deals with the bittersweetness of Jillian's growing independence, I begin to feel like I'm eavesdropping on something private. There are lessons for those of us who are strangers to him as he makes statements about disability, and urges us to look past the differences in those around us and see the perfect human inside, but they almost seem incidental, perhaps even obligatory. I can't shake the feeling that he wrote this book for himself, maybe for Jillian as well, a therapeutic effort as he looks back on the last 20-something years. That's certainly not a bad thing. I don't fault him at all for wanting to relive his journey up to this point. Unfortunately, I ended up feeling isolated. Have you ever had an elderly relative who wanted to tell you about his late wife who died before you were born? (I haven't, but you know, good analogy) He's a great guy, you wish you could have known his wife, you certainly feel for his loss, and you know it'll do him good to talk about it... But, well, couldn't he, you know, maybe cut a few details and get to the point? Then of course you feel like a horrible human being for having such selfish thoughts, but the fact remains that you're having difficulty relating. If that all comes across as overly negative, allow me to backtrack a little- this is a well written book, funny, sincere as heck, and with a fair amount of emotion. But eventually, as the pages begin to rack up, the emotion begins to give way to a sense that I'm an outsider here. Daugherty hopes that those of us peeping in will share in his pain and his joy. As one who never had the privilege of knowing Jillian, I find I can only observe. Perhaps I wasn't meant to do more.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

    I received an advanced copy of this book from The Reading Room in exchange for an honest opinion. This is a father's memoir of the joys and challenges of raising a child with special needs. In this case, his daughter has Down's syndrome. The author shares it all, good, bad, joys, sorrows, with honesty. As a grandparent of a child with special needs, I can easily relate to how the parents felt when they learned their child was not "normal", and over time, learned that they had to be constant advoc I received an advanced copy of this book from The Reading Room in exchange for an honest opinion. This is a father's memoir of the joys and challenges of raising a child with special needs. In this case, his daughter has Down's syndrome. The author shares it all, good, bad, joys, sorrows, with honesty. As a grandparent of a child with special needs, I can easily relate to how the parents felt when they learned their child was not "normal", and over time, learned that they had to be constant advocates for their child, in every situation. It is a never-ending job! I have mixed feelings about this book. The author is a sports-writer, and it shows - there is no doubt of the author's love for his daughter, but the writing style is detached, a bit choppy, at times wordy, and very much like a report. Also, the book seems to be written for the author as a personal tool to remember his daughter's life, challenges and accomplishments, rather than for an outside reader. While I can relate to what he was saying, he never made the reader feel part of it - I felt like an outsider through most of the book. Hard to explain what I mean. Still, it was great to see all that Jillian was able to accomplish, and a reminder to not judge people based on appearances or labels, but on their character, actions and achievements. Because of my mixed feelings, I will leave it to each reader's judgement as to whether they would like to read this book.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Mary Kenyon

    I think this book should be given to every parent whose child is born with Down Syndrome and every teacher who works with them. It isn't a book about disabilities, but one about hope and "abilities," of parents helping their child reach her full potential. That said, for all his talk of God (he even mentions a higher Heaven for animals), I wondered at his assertion that "virginity is quaint, damned near Victorian," when it came to his daughter's sexuality. "The notion of 'saving' oneself for mar I think this book should be given to every parent whose child is born with Down Syndrome and every teacher who works with them. It isn't a book about disabilities, but one about hope and "abilities," of parents helping their child reach her full potential. That said, for all his talk of God (he even mentions a higher Heaven for animals), I wondered at his assertion that "virginity is quaint, damned near Victorian," when it came to his daughter's sexuality. "The notion of 'saving' oneself for marriage probably died with the invention of the backseat," the author writes. Really? These parents took their daughter to the doctor to get the pill and then arranged for her boyfriend to spend the night. Then they asked about "it" the next morning. They insisted on treating their daughter like any other child...Would they have "arranged" the same overnight for their son? I can't help but think that they encouraged their daughter to have sex before she was married, when she would have been fine waiting, with a different kind of encouragement. Oh, Mr. Daugherty, you expected so much from your daughter. You couldn't expect her to wait until she was married? Especially when you knew that marriage was coming? And you have already decided there won't be any children resulting from the union of these two beautiful adults who live together? You and the young man's parents know that at "some undetermined time" you will have to sit down with them and explain "they wouldn't be having children." Because "the likelihood of a couple with Down syndrome having a child with Down syndrome is great." And even if it weren't, "the responsibility of caring for a child would be overwhelming for them." Didn't you just spend over 300 pages convincing the reader that your daughter is a blessing in your life, and her potential is much higher than anyone ever imagined? And yet, now it is YOU putting limits on her. I have to wonder, after learning so much about your determined daughter, if SHE might have something to say about that when the time comes.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    Full disclosure: I have a three year old with Ds. I live in the town just South of where Jillian was raised and I already look up to the Daughertys for paving the path for those of us who come after them. I only have three+ years experience raising a child with Ds and it has high highs and low lows. As stereotypical as it sounds, it really is worth it - I don’t see Ds in my daughter’s eyes, I see HER. This book helps me keep a high bar for her and her achievements. I’ve dog-eared so many pages f Full disclosure: I have a three year old with Ds. I live in the town just South of where Jillian was raised and I already look up to the Daughertys for paving the path for those of us who come after them. I only have three+ years experience raising a child with Ds and it has high highs and low lows. As stereotypical as it sounds, it really is worth it - I don’t see Ds in my daughter’s eyes, I see HER. This book helps me keep a high bar for her and her achievements. I’ve dog-eared so many pages for reference. I love Paul’s writing style and straight-forwardness. I try not to think too far ahead and stay in the current goodness. Will my daughter have friends? Will we have to battle our school for her education? Will my husband and I have some sliver of freedom down the road? Will my daughter have freedom? This book acts as our standards. It gives me a beacon of hope that my daughter will achieve everything Jillian has. I agree with the sentiment that the hardest part of raising a child with Ds is breaking down others’ perceptions of what Ds is and should be. Thank you Daughertys and Mavriplis’ for clearing the path for us and setting the high bar.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Shari Larsen

    Jillian Daugherty was born with Down syndrome, to parents with an overwhelming love for her. They wanted the best for their daughter. While Jillian had special needs, they also wanted to her to have the chances that other so called "normal" children had. The refused to put her into special education, and fought for right to a mainstream education. They did not try to force her to be "like everybody else", rather, they just wanted her to have the same chances. This memoir traces Jillian's journey Jillian Daugherty was born with Down syndrome, to parents with an overwhelming love for her. They wanted the best for their daughter. While Jillian had special needs, they also wanted to her to have the chances that other so called "normal" children had. The refused to put her into special education, and fought for right to a mainstream education. They did not try to force her to be "like everybody else", rather, they just wanted her to have the same chances. This memoir traces Jillian's journey through birth, and on through to graduations from high school and college, and ends with Jillian working to support herself and engaged to Ryan, the love of her life. I really enjoyed Jillian's story, and her inspiring spirit. Everyone she met had their lives changed for the better because of knowing her. I especially loved reading about some of her mischievous adventures during her childhood, and I was laughing WITH her and her parents, not AT her. I recommend this book not only to those who may have a family member or know someone with Down syndrome, but to anyone who likes who likes to read uplifting and inspiring stories. I won an advanced reader's copy of this book from TheReadingRoom.com; it will be released to the general public in March 2015.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Colleen Oakley

    I won this book as a First Reads giveaway! It's a quick read, but has a lot of depth and heart — you really feel like you know and have been touched by Paul's daughter Jillian. A great reminder that it's what's inside that counts. I won this book as a First Reads giveaway! It's a quick read, but has a lot of depth and heart — you really feel like you know and have been touched by Paul's daughter Jillian. A great reminder that it's what's inside that counts.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Matt

    As the proud new parent of a child with Down Syndrome, I was naturally drawn to this book by a father who has gone before me. I'm thankful for Paul Daugherty's honest recollections about raising his daughter Jillian. I identified a lot with his emotions, and at times the book made me hopeful while other times it seemed to reinforce a lot of my fears. Obviously every child and parent is different, and from what little I know already about Down Syndrome, it's important for others who read this sto As the proud new parent of a child with Down Syndrome, I was naturally drawn to this book by a father who has gone before me. I'm thankful for Paul Daugherty's honest recollections about raising his daughter Jillian. I identified a lot with his emotions, and at times the book made me hopeful while other times it seemed to reinforce a lot of my fears. Obviously every child and parent is different, and from what little I know already about Down Syndrome, it's important for others who read this story to keep that in mind. Not every person with DS is like Jillian, and Jillian is not like every person with DS. With that said, I did have some issues with the book. At some points it felt oddly self-congratulatory, and at others it seemed to contradict itself. The author made a huge deal about he and his wife let "Jillian define Jillian" and didn't want to hold her back from anything, and yet they wouldn't let her try out for her college dance team because they "knew" she wouldn't be able to make it. I also could not tell, and this will be something I will need to glean from my own experience, if his praising of Jillian's "uncomplicated" life was, in a way, reinforcing a stereotype of people with DS as always cheerful, always loving, "uncomplicated" people. I don't know, I just know at some points it made me uncomfortable. I also have to note that I listened to the audiobook version, and I had an issue with the way the narrator performed Jillian's "voice." It felt at times like an able-bodied person doing an impression of a disabled person, and it just bothered me. All in all though, I'm thankful for the overall positive tone of this memoir. I wish there were more like it to portray the broader depth of experiences of the wider Down Syndrome community.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Hensley Barnes

    I read this book in OT school in my pediatrics course. It is a father’s account of his journey and roller coaster of emotions raising a daughter with Down Syndrome. It is a heartwarming book that follows Jillian as she meets milestones, gains independence, and even meets her husband. It also highlights the ups and downs of raising a child with disabilities. I appreciated how real Paul is when documenting his emotions, because he does not sugarcoat things. It helped me become a better therapist a I read this book in OT school in my pediatrics course. It is a father’s account of his journey and roller coaster of emotions raising a daughter with Down Syndrome. It is a heartwarming book that follows Jillian as she meets milestones, gains independence, and even meets her husband. It also highlights the ups and downs of raising a child with disabilities. I appreciated how real Paul is when documenting his emotions, because he does not sugarcoat things. It helped me become a better therapist and see things from a parent’s POV, but I honestly would recommend this book to everyone - it is so sweet and tab worthy, full of sweet quotes that will warm your heart!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Natalie

    Wow! This book is well-written. It provides new perspective on what it's like to raise a child with Down Syndrome. It's not for the faint of heart. Highly recommended. Wow! This book is well-written. It provides new perspective on what it's like to raise a child with Down Syndrome. It's not for the faint of heart. Highly recommended.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Angela Scott

    I didn't finish this book, I guess the plot was touching. A little bit of a downer, the writer seems pretty pessimistic and resistant to excepting help from those who care. I didn't finish this book, I guess the plot was touching. A little bit of a downer, the writer seems pretty pessimistic and resistant to excepting help from those who care.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    Probably one of the most endearing books I have ever read. This book was so honest, open, wonderful and many other adjectives. I would highly recommend it :-)

  16. 4 out of 5

    Tiffany

    I wanted very much to like this book and enjoy an uplifting, "uncomplicated" story of a girl with Down syndrome, but never really connected emotionally with her. Instead the author made it complicated and more about himself then about his daughter, Jillian. I felt the author was dishonest, or at least unauthentic in his writing. At one point he writes about all the close minded people still in the world who categorize "these children" because of their Down syndrome and insists that his daughters I wanted very much to like this book and enjoy an uplifting, "uncomplicated" story of a girl with Down syndrome, but never really connected emotionally with her. Instead the author made it complicated and more about himself then about his daughter, Jillian. I felt the author was dishonest, or at least unauthentic in his writing. At one point he writes about all the close minded people still in the world who categorize "these children" because of their Down syndrome and insists that his daughters goodness and gifts are not because of Down syndrome. In the very next chapter he writes pages about how chromosome 47 is the reason for her compassion and kindness--"nothing defines her more." He wants it both ways too often in the book. He wants her to be a full participant in a regular classroom, but then insists that her work be modified, is sad when she has no social connections because she has no Down syndrome peers, and insists the school send her to extra-curricular tutoring. For all his insisting that no one has the right to define or restrict Jillian or her goals based on their own preconceived notions, it comes across that all of his fighting about her education, etc. are to further his own goals and ego. He admits several times in the book that he really just wanted to "win" what HE had preconceived in his mind was best for her. I addition, for all his shaming of others for making generalizing statements, he sure makes a lot. One example (which is just kind of funny, but shows his narrow view of the world): "no one gets a goldfish for their kid for Christmas". I got a goldfish for my kid for Christmas and she loved it and it was a dream come true. Finally, his position on God is very confusing. At some points in the book he is crediting God for giving them this purpose and direction in their lives and he knows it is all for a good reason. At other points he describes being confused and skeptical when his mother brings up the subject of God having a hand in all of this. Maybe he is just trying to please everyone in his writing. Regardless, I concluded my reading with the feeling that the author isn't really sure what to believe about most things he addressed in this book--except that his daughter, Jillian, is a lovely, kind and joyous person who adds to everyone's life around her.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Marlene

    Every expectant parent wishes for a healthy baby. But what do you do when, after nine months of anticipation, you find out that your baby has Down syndrome? First you panic, then you blame God. Once you pull yourself together and realize that this is not a punishment but a blessing, you make a plan. A plan to give your child the best possible life. A life that is just as happy and fulfilling as any other child’s. For Paul Daugherty and his wife, that’s exactly what they did. They refused to allo Every expectant parent wishes for a healthy baby. But what do you do when, after nine months of anticipation, you find out that your baby has Down syndrome? First you panic, then you blame God. Once you pull yourself together and realize that this is not a punishment but a blessing, you make a plan. A plan to give your child the best possible life. A life that is just as happy and fulfilling as any other child’s. For Paul Daugherty and his wife, that’s exactly what they did. They refused to allow the school system or society to dictate the direction of their daughter, Jillian’s life. Instead they educated themselves and became their daughter’s biggest advocates. In this book, you will follow Jillian’s journey from birth, primary school, college, all the way to her engagement! Throughout, you will see the power of love and what one can do when given the proper tools. You will feel the happiness and pure joy that Jillian brings to not only her family, but everyone she encounters. And you will see that one’s challenges can turn out to be their biggest strength! As a parent to a special needs child, and an advocate for the special needs population, this book spoke volumes to me. I could relate to much of what the family has gone through. From the shock of finding out your child has needs, to dealing with the school system, to educating others in hopes of changing society’s “norms” I felt like I was reading a story based on my life. In this day and age, with many people choosing to terminate pregnancies or put a child up for adoption when they discover that their child has needs, I commend the author (and his family) for being so proactive in Jillian’s life and giving her an upbringing that is no different than a typical child’s. After all, don’t us parents all want the same things for our children? For them to be happy and live productive lives? Thank you, Paul, for sharing Jillian with us. She truly is an exceptional person!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Cynthia Sillitoe

    Sweet without being saccharine. I love Jillian's feistiness. I think the title is a bit of a misnomer. Jillian's view of the world may be uncomplicated, but her life is complicated. Or maybe what created the foundation of her life is complicated. This isn't exactly "warts and all" like Raising My Rainbow is. I can't believe that there aren't more moments of frustration and defeat or times when Kelly (Jillian's brother) didn't want things to be different. Maybe those were withheld for privacy rea Sweet without being saccharine. I love Jillian's feistiness. I think the title is a bit of a misnomer. Jillian's view of the world may be uncomplicated, but her life is complicated. Or maybe what created the foundation of her life is complicated. This isn't exactly "warts and all" like Raising My Rainbow is. I can't believe that there aren't more moments of frustration and defeat or times when Kelly (Jillian's brother) didn't want things to be different. Maybe those were withheld for privacy reasons, but their omission costs the book a sense of authenticity. There's something about a moment of a family all sick with stomach flu, ten loads of laundry waiting to be done, and someone playing the same damn song for the twentieth time and everyone starts screaming that makes a reader think "oh, so they're really just like my family."

  19. 4 out of 5

    Paula Yerke

    I was really looking forward to this book since the author is a Cincinnati sports writer who often includes stories about his daughter Jillian in his columns. (Those columns are always my favorites.) Jillian has Downs Syndrome and this book is about the joys and struggles of raising her. The book did not disappoint. It did bring up lots of interesting questions such as what is expected of the school system in educating special needs kids and what is the balance of support vs. independence, inclu I was really looking forward to this book since the author is a Cincinnati sports writer who often includes stories about his daughter Jillian in his columns. (Those columns are always my favorites.) Jillian has Downs Syndrome and this book is about the joys and struggles of raising her. The book did not disappoint. It did bring up lots of interesting questions such as what is expected of the school system in educating special needs kids and what is the balance of support vs. independence, inclusion vs separate activities, etc. necessary to give her the best possible life. There is no "users manual" that comes with any child. A good parent just tries to love a child the best they know how. This book is a great example of that. Interesting side note, I finish this book on Jillians wedding day. She is getting married today at the nature center Gary and I hike at every weekend we are home. Congrats to the family!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Stacy

    I received an ARC of this book in exchange for my unbiased opinion. An Uncomplicated Life tells the story of Paul and wife Kerry's life, raising their son Kelly and daughter Jillian, who has Down Syndrome. From the day she was born, Paul and Kerry refused to accept the limitations doctors told them Jillian would face in her life. They strove to give her a mainstream education, as permitted by the 1975 Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and to allow her to achieve as many milestones as s I received an ARC of this book in exchange for my unbiased opinion. An Uncomplicated Life tells the story of Paul and wife Kerry's life, raising their son Kelly and daughter Jillian, who has Down Syndrome. From the day she was born, Paul and Kerry refused to accept the limitations doctors told them Jillian would face in her life. They strove to give her a mainstream education, as permitted by the 1975 Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and to allow her to achieve as many milestones as she could. It was inspiring to read the lengths to which they went and the extent to which their daughter was able to succeed because they wouldn't give up, and at times, his joy and love for his daughter really shone through. At other times, though, the story seemed to ramble. Overall, it was a good read.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Monica

    I'm not sure I can articulate what this book means to me. It was fantastic. Well-written. Funny. Sweet. Absolute perfect poetry and an amazing love letter from a father to his daughter. Most of all I liked how honestly and accurately he portrayed the experience of having a child with Down syndrome. The book didn't gloss over the negative or the positive. It was *relatable* and inspiring. I liked how he didn't make Jillian's outcome seem predestined - it's always easy to look at everything you di I'm not sure I can articulate what this book means to me. It was fantastic. Well-written. Funny. Sweet. Absolute perfect poetry and an amazing love letter from a father to his daughter. Most of all I liked how honestly and accurately he portrayed the experience of having a child with Down syndrome. The book didn't gloss over the negative or the positive. It was *relatable* and inspiring. I liked how he didn't make Jillian's outcome seem predestined - it's always easy to look at everything you did right when you win and ignore the times when you weren't sure what was happening. It would be a great read for someone who doesn't have a child with Ds who just wants to learn more. I genuinely want to be able to explain here how much I liked the book and why, but I'm no Paul Daugherty.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Pamela Small

    3.5. The subject matter of having a Down's syndrome child was inspirational and uplifting: challenges, successes, frustrations, accomplishments, fears, dogged determination, heartbreak and utter joy. The writing itself became problematic for this reader: redundancy ,overstating concepts, disjointed. However, The author wrote this like a journal covering over two decades, so the style is understandable. AN UNCOMPLICATED LIFE is important read that causes one to ponder many issues about life,livin 3.5. The subject matter of having a Down's syndrome child was inspirational and uplifting: challenges, successes, frustrations, accomplishments, fears, dogged determination, heartbreak and utter joy. The writing itself became problematic for this reader: redundancy ,overstating concepts, disjointed. However, The author wrote this like a journal covering over two decades, so the style is understandable. AN UNCOMPLICATED LIFE is important read that causes one to ponder many issues about life,living, and loving;it touches on political and moral elements of people with disabilities. It will stay with me, and, I trust, I will be a better person having read it.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    This was a great narrative, and a good way to learn about how parents feel raising a child with special needs. As a teacher, sometimes I'm lost on the parent's angle, so this was helpful. Touching, funny, good read. This was a great narrative, and a good way to learn about how parents feel raising a child with special needs. As a teacher, sometimes I'm lost on the parent's angle, so this was helpful. Touching, funny, good read.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Betty

    Paul Daugherty and his wife, Kerry, were overjoyed at the prospect of another baby to join their son Kelly. But then Jillian was born and she had Down Syndrome. How do you cope with the news and how do you raise your child? With love, joy and confidence is how the Daughertys decided! This is Jillian's story lovingly told by her father. Full disclosure: I received an advance copy of this book from The Reading Room in exchange for an unbiased review. Paul Daugherty and his wife, Kerry, were overjoyed at the prospect of another baby to join their son Kelly. But then Jillian was born and she had Down Syndrome. How do you cope with the news and how do you raise your child? With love, joy and confidence is how the Daughertys decided! This is Jillian's story lovingly told by her father. Full disclosure: I received an advance copy of this book from The Reading Room in exchange for an unbiased review.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Alice

    A beautifully written story about a daughter born with Down's Syndrome and how her parents help her adapt and prepare to be an exceptional adult. I'm so glad that we have brought people with disabilities out from the shadows. We still have a ways to go in helping them reach their potential. I think this book should be read by everyone to help them realize that everyone can develop self-actualization. A beautifully written story about a daughter born with Down's Syndrome and how her parents help her adapt and prepare to be an exceptional adult. I'm so glad that we have brought people with disabilities out from the shadows. We still have a ways to go in helping them reach their potential. I think this book should be read by everyone to help them realize that everyone can develop self-actualization.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Amanda NEVER MANDY

    **I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.** What a beautiful and captivating story, a real eye opener. I found myself pausing multiple times just to reflect. I wasn’t a huge fan of the author’s disjointed writing style though. I also struggled with the times he would overstate an idea or concept. For me, the two things combined really took from the story.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lori

    Loved the story, but not the writing. I guess I prefer Paul Dugherty in small columns in the paper rather than a whole book.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Zack

    http://www.examiner.com/review/review... http://www.examiner.com/review/review...

  29. 5 out of 5

    Hannah K

    Heartfelt and beautiful story about raising a daughter with Down Syndrome, and going beyond perceptions and expectations. Very well-written.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Ewald

    When you are expecting a baby, you often have aspirations for your child from the very beginning. When you have an exceptional daughter with Down's Syndrome, you have to adjust your expectations. When Paul and his wife Kerry greeted their daughter, Jillian, they knew one thing, that she was beautiful and came out announcing it to the world. It wasn't until later that they were presented with a test result that gave them the news that Jillian had Down's Syndrome. It took them awhile to change the When you are expecting a baby, you often have aspirations for your child from the very beginning. When you have an exceptional daughter with Down's Syndrome, you have to adjust your expectations. When Paul and his wife Kerry greeted their daughter, Jillian, they knew one thing, that she was beautiful and came out announcing it to the world. It wasn't until later that they were presented with a test result that gave them the news that Jillian had Down's Syndrome. It took them awhile to change their mindset to one in which they would not dwell on what Jillian's could not do, but focus on what she could. Throughout their journey with Jillian, the had to constantly fight school officials for her right to receive the same education as able children, and not be segregated into classes for 'challenged' students. Until laws were passed in 1975, often children were denied any public education, and often when they were in school, they were segregated from regular classrooms. As Paul writes: "they were segregated from their non-disabled peers, in a sort od out-of-sight, out-of mind purgatory. In the land of the free, these kids wore chains. They had no chance." The Daugherty's took heart in the federal law, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act or IDEA. Mind you, that they often had to fight school officials to take Jillian's education to the 'letter of the law.' Through their many-fought battles, Jillian thrived on being in classes with regular children, usually with an aide to assist her in her learning. That worked fine in lower grade classes, but as she grew older and advanced to junior high and high school, the issues became tougher. But the Daugherty's, and Jillian, did too. Educational obstacles aside, they always had to deal with how other students related to Jillian, and often, she was left out socially. Without giving away Jillian's story, she did thrive, and grew in her social abilities and outlets. This is such an uplifting book, and I hope that this book gives inspiration to the many Jillians facing their worlds. The writing is beautiful. Take this passage written when Jillian is waiting with her dad for the bus that will take her to her classes at Northern Kentucky University, a commuter college. "She hugs me, a second or two, longer than normal. Or maybe I'm just imagining that. Probably, I am. I watch my almost 23-year-old little girl make the short walk from the parking lot to the bus stop. Time for a new sidewalk. This constant push-pull occurs with all our children. Pain and pride swirl and dance until they become interchangeable. It hurts so good. We want them to stay. We know they can't. The heart is insistent. It must be ignored. It's Jillian's life now. Not mine. I pull from the lot. Three years earlier, I'd have stayed until the bus arrived. That lasted until Jillian allowed that people riding the Metro don't require their parents to hang out until the bus shows up. I drive away. Jillian stands at the stop. Her backpack tugs at her shoulders. Maybe that's why she appears to be slumping. Maybe it's something else. I wave as I make the right turn from the lot and toward home. 'Bye,' I say, through the open car window. She can't hear me. The traffic drowns it out. I say it again, anyway. Goodbye, Jillian. It's possible to be devastated and overjoyed, all at once. I punch up Jackson Brown on the Pandora. There are not coincidences in life. Fate is fate. 'For a Dancer' is the first tune: Keep a fire burnin' in your eye Pay attention to the open sky... Into a dancer you have grown. I drive home to a house that is suddenly larger and less joyous. Just as it is meant to be. Three days later, on a Monday morning, I call Jillian at 7:50 a.m. I am standing in that nowhere/everywhere place between sad and elated that I think only dads and daughters can know. 'You at the bus stop?' 'Yes. I am,' she says. 'Well. Have a great day,' I say. 'Oh, I will,' Jillian says. 'I'm so happy.'" The joy and sadness of letting go...

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...