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Friday, March 17, 2006



Honestly? I feel like there's a place for everyone's story. "I had it harder than you" isn't helpful. There will undoubtedly be some parent who would say to that blog author, "Your child has to go to the hospital to have a cavity out? Well, my child lives in the hospital. He has terminal cancer," to which the next parent might respond, "Oh yeah? Well, at least your child is living now. Mine died." And then: "Oh yeah? Well at least yours died from medical causes, mine was murdered" and on and on. Good stories are about going through challenges, whatever those might be. Sometimes an audience wants to hear about a happy, high-profile person who seems to have it all, only to find out that she is subject to the same human conditions as everyone else.

Full disclosure: I work for the LD school that the author's child attended, though I never knew the family personally.


Actually, I posted this because I had the same reaction to Buchman's book. I wish some regular mom had written a similar book.

Dick Dalton

I think my review was a bit harsh. I recently heard an interview of her on a radio program, and it did help clarify a lot more on the subject.

I guess I do need to have a re-do on the subject and extend just a bit more.



Dick's "re-do" is here: Re-Doing Special Education--first paragraph follows.

In a prior post, I did a small review of an excerpt of a book A Special Education by Dana Buchman. A couple of things have developed out of those few lines. One is that I happened to hear an interview with Ms. Buchman on the radio program The Satellite Sisters. As a parent, I could identify with much of what she has gone through in raising a child with learning disabilities. Ms. Buchman’s story, as she says, is a narrative of the emotions behind the journey.

Dana Buchman's interview with The National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) is here (Buchman is donating all profits from the book to NCLD)

I travel around the country a great deal in my work as a designer and I realized, in speaking with many of the women whom I've met in my travels, that a lot of families have children with learning differences. And I felt I had something to say, so it really started from that. Charlotte was beginning her senior year in high school, and I felt I was at the end of my journey, so part of the reason was for me – because I wanted to look at what she and I had come through – and part of it was a sincere desire to help other families who were just beginning that journey, to help alert them to the things that might come their way.

And another review:

New designer memoirs not cut from the same cloth, By Jill Radsken/ Sunday Best, Sunday, March 19, 2006

Fashion designer Dana Buchman calls “A Special Education,” her new book about her daughter’s learning disability, the equivalent of “turning out about 20 collections.”
“It was wrenching and difficult and exhilarating,” she said.

Mostly, though, Buchman said, writing the memoir (Da Capo Press, $21.95) was cathartic.

The journey with Charlotte, now 19 and a college freshman, had often been lonely and bewildering. Charlotte’s diagnosis was late in coming, followed by unsuccessful drug treatments and Buchman’s fear that she wouldn’t be able to attend a “mainstream” school.

In discovering that image isn’t everything, Buchman said she’s been amazed at her customers’ response. In her travels to trunk shows and store appearances across the country, countless mothers have told her, “I have been there, too.”

Buchman’s writing style is largely stream-of-consciousness and is long-winded at times. But the story lacks the pretentiousness normally associated with someone in the fashion biz. She admits she and her husband saw a couples therapist, and recounts many evenings when a few drinks were required to help ease the stress.

Buchman, who will donate all of the book’s proceeds to the National Center for Learning Disabilities, said, “If I had known so much, I could have enjoyed the process differently.”

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