Rachel in the World by Jane Bernstein is a truly astonishing account of what it is like to love, raise and send out into the world a child with special needs. Jane's incredibly honest--this is no treacle and spice account, but rather a gritty, fearless and heart-wrenching story about the love she feels for her daughter, as well as the irritation, and her anger at a system that doesn't make things easy. Filled with photographs that are prose poems in themselves, this is a really wonderful, wonderful book.
Jane's a friend of mine (full disclosure) and I've met Rachel when I was in Pittsburgh. Rachel was bouncy with energy, gorgeous, feisty and her own person. But the real story is that I first met Jane through her novel Departures, one of my favorite novels of all times. I read it while I lived in Pittsburgh and was wading through an increasingly unhappy first marriage, and when I got to New York, I pressed her novel on my friends in one of those "You've got to read this" moments. And I finally got bold enough to email her out of the blue and tell her how much I admired her work, and we hit it off. And I've come to know her more both in person and through her incredible brave books like Bereft, about the murder of her sister, and Loving Rachel, about the very young Rachel. Jane's daughter Charlotte's a talented filmmaker and she's making a film about Rachel, so check out Jane's website for details.