Dad of Divas' Reviews: Book Review - The Shape of the Eye

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Book Review - The Shape of the Eye

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About the Book
THE SHAPE OF THE EYE is the winner of the 2012 Oregon Book Award in Creative Nonfiction. Originally published in hardcover in a limited manner by the now-suspended Southern Methodist University Press, this paperback edition includes a new afterword wherein Estreich provides an update on his family’s life and delves into the new technological advances and quandaries of the disorder.

Within the book, not only does Estreich recount his experiences raising his daughter, but he also:

  • Provides an in-depth examination of the history of the syndrome (interesting fact: John Langdon Down who originally dubbed the syndrome “Mongolian idiocy,” which he considered a regression in intelligence, ended up having a relative with Downs).
  • Discusses the possible future treatments for the disorder (a cognitive pill is currently being tested, which caused a stir last summer in papers like The Washington Post).
  • Explores the new prenatal tests and their implications on society (particularly the MaterniT21 test, which he has discussed here and here).

About the Author
George Estreich received his M.F.A. in poetry from Cornell University. His first book, a collection of poems entitled Textbook Illustrations of the Human Body, won the Gorsline Prize from Cloudbank Books. The Shape of the Eye was awarded the 2012 Oregon Book Award in Creative Nonfiction. Estreich currently writes for Biopolitical Times, the blog of the Center for Genetics and Society, teaches a course in literature and medicine at Oregon State, and can also be found online at He lives in Oregon with his family.

My Take on the Book
This was a beautifully written book that allows you to see the love of a father for his daughter as well as the journey that he was on to understand and to help his daughter with her disability. The book shows the pain and frustration that follows such a journey, while at the same time allows the reader to see the steps that this father takes to be able to move forward. The author is open and honest in his approach and you are definitely drawn into the story and the journey itself. The book also makes you think deeply about the things that are important in your own life and about what you would do for your own children (or at least it did for me). As you read this book you will definitely learn and grown along with the author. The story is gripping and you will be wrapped into the text until the very end!

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