Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Review by Susan Kramer, MP for Richmond Park

“Shared Experiences” is a wonderful, positive book that draws together the experiences of so many families with children who have upper limb deficiencies, not only to share their worries and difficulties but also to share their successes and joys.

When I was young, we often visited family friends whose beautiful little daughter was a victim of Thalidomide with very short arms and minimal hands. We all envied her gorgeous blond hair and classical beauty but she so often felt such utter frustration with her short arms and just being different that she would break out into anger hitting all of us children on our arms. She and her family, who felt very isolated, would have devoured Charlotte Fielder’s book and its sense of all that is possible as well as its acknowledgement of the challenges.

The book focuses most on birth and the early years since, as Charlotte herself says, for older children “life has turned out well despite some bad experiences”. It’s an important message. And because the book has behind it the support of “Reach”, it can link parents to a national organisation for support and advice.

This book is written with such loving kindness and yet such a recounting of real experience, that it will resonate with many who have never encountered upper limb deficiency but are aware that in our world, no-one faces life without challenges.

Susan Kramer MP for Richmond Park

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