On Mother’s Day 2001 Henny Beaumont gave birth to her third child. For the first four hours, her baby seemed no different from her two other little girls.
When the registrar told Henny and her husband that their daughter might have Down’s Syndrome, she thought that her life was over. How would she be able to look after this baby, who might die, and manage her other two children at the same time? How could this weak little baby, who needed so much more from Henny than her other two children, provoke such feelings of hatred and resentment? And how would she learn to love her? If she can’t trust her own reactions to Beth, how could she expect other people to overcome their prejudices and ignorance about her condition?
Hole in the Heart is a moving, funny, ironic and refreshingly honest look at living with a child who has special needs. Henny’s remarkable journey speaks not only to parents who have had a similar experience and the medical and care professionals who try to help them, but to every one of us who feels anxiety about our children – wondering whether they are achieving enough, whether we do enough for them, and whether we love them enough.
As the PE teacher asks: ‘Who’s really got the special needs here?’
"Baby Beth is born with an atrial septal defect—a literal hole in her heart—and her arrival brings not joy but urgent fear and alarm to her parents, compounded when she is diagnosed with Down Syndrome. Beaumont’s graphic memoir of her child and family digs unsparingly into uncertainty and despondency, resentment and acceptance. It portrays a complicated issue with compassion, deftly joining pictures and dialogue to give intense awareness of the lives portrayed.
Beaumont opens herself and her inner thoughts with a painful immediacy through unspoken dread and anger expressed through thought balloons and remarkable visual symbolism. A shopping street literally closes inward to imprison her; an unsympathetic schoolmaster falls asleep on Henny’s protests, using the word balloon as an actual pillow. This harrowing and uplifting graphic memoir speaks to the families that include people with Down's Syndrome, each page lovingly saturated with humanity." - Publishers Weekly
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Myriad Editions (9 Jun. 2016)
Size: 170mm x 240mm