Friday, September 3, 2010
This Lovely Life Wins the 2010 PEN USA Literary Award for Creative Nonfiction
This evening comes word that Vicki Forman's book, This Lovely Life, has won the 2010 PEN USA Award for Creative Nonfiction.
This Lovely Life is a book that I read in one sitting last July on the beach. As I read, I realized that I was reading the story of the premature birth of Vicki's twins, Ellie and Evan, on their birthday.
That coincidence made the book especially vivid for me, but it didn't need the calendar (nor my and The Husband's experience as NICU parents of boy/girl twins, nor being parents of a child with special needs) to make it so. The writing would have done so on its own, for this lovely memoir is simply remarkable, heartfelt, and all so real.
Here's the synopsis from Barnes and Noble:
Vicki Forman gave birth to Evan and Ellie, weighing just a pound at birth, at twenty-three weeks’ gestation. During the delivery she begged the doctors to "let her babies go" — she knew all too well that at twenty-three weeks they could very well die and, if they survived, they would face a high risk of permanent disabilities. However, California law demanded resuscitation. Her daughter died just four days later; her son survived and was indeed multiply disabled: blind, nonverbal, and dependent on a feeding tube.
This Lovely Life tells, with brilliant intensity, of what became of the Forman family after the birth of the twins — the harrowing medical interventions and ethical considerations involving the sanctity of life and death. In the end, the longdelayed first steps of a five-year-old child will seem like the fist-pumping stuff of a triumph narrative. Forman’s intelligent voice gives a sensitive, nuanced rendering of her guilt, her anger, and her eventual acceptance in this portrait of a mother’s fierce love for her children.
The list of 2010 PEN USA Literary Award winners and finalists is here. Many congratulations, Vicki, on this well-deserved honor!
copyright 2010, Melissa (Betty and Boo's Mommy, The Betty and Boo Chronicles) If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.