We are proud to announce that BookBrowse has won Platinum in the 2024 Modern Library Awards.

Reviews of A Special Education by Dana Buchman

A Special Education

One Family's Journey Through the Maze of Learning Disabilities

by Dana Buchman

A Special Education by Dana Buchman X
A Special Education by Dana Buchman
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Feb 2006, 208 pages

    Paperback:
    Mar 2007, 196 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team
Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

Fashion designer Dana Buchman tells of her daughter Charlotte's severe struggle with learning disabilities and of her own steep learning curve to become the mother Charlotte needs her to be.

Fashion designer Dana Buchman tells of her daughter Charlotte's severe struggle with learning disabilities and of her own steep learning curve to become the mother Charlotte needs her to be.

Dana Buchman knew almost nothing about "learning differences" when her oldest daughter, Charlotte, was diagnosed with neurological, spatial, and motor skill disabilities as a toddler. Furthermore, from the Ivy League to the launch of her own fashion label, Buchman had encountered few obstacles that couldn't be overcome through hard work and determination. Unfortunately, Buchman's well-developed ability to "fix" things would not serve her in her efforts to deal with Charlotte's disabilities; she would have to develop a new skill set to be able to see Charlotte as a person with unique abilities.

A riveting and intensely personal memoir, A Special Education reveals the long and arduous process of Charlotte's development as well as Buchman's own path to self-discovery. Confessing frequent anxiety, guilt, frustration, and anger, Buchman describes the difficult search to find the right school and care for Charlotte and the strain the process put on her marriage and family life. In addition, Buchman tells of her own struggles with excessive drinking and workaholism - and of finally letting go of her drive to be "perfect."

A moving mother-daughter story, A Special Education is an inspiring account of one mother's journey to acceptance and understanding as well as a family's triumph over daunting circumstances.

Chapter 1
The Wonder Year

Some people, when faced with a major life change, make a conscious effort to slow everything else down. A woman who’s having a child for the first time might decide to lighten her load at work. Someone who is taking on new responsibilities in her job might hold off on starting a family that year.

I have never been one of those people.

For most of my life, I have been a serious doer, undaunted by the notion of having too much on my plate. If anything, I would jump at the chance to juggle more for all the world to see. I had been encouraged early on by my mother and my grandmother to be a high achiever, and I got hooked on the accolades they showered on me. I wanted to be a superwoman, the embodiment of the “having-it-all” feminist ideal that became so popular when I was in college in the 1970s.


A Special Education

If there was ever a year when I got to shine, it was 1986, probably the most action-...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

It was a happy surprise to find Buchman's memoir is surprisingly readable. If her solution had been to throw money and experts at her daughter's "problems" then the book would have been of little interest. However, instead she shows that it was she that had to change in order to recognize her daughter's unique abilities. As a parent, the lesson of meeting one's children at least half way is one many of us can appreciate...continued

Full Review (308 words)

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access, become a member today.

(Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).

Media Reviews

Library Journal - Walter J. Cegelka
Kudos to Buchman for her forthright memoir, which should go a long way toward lifting the stigma of learning disabilities. Highly recommended for all public libraries.

Booklist - Vanessa Bush
Families facing similar issues will appreciate this heartfelt and inspiring book.

Publishers Weekly
Buchman's forthright memoir (and list of resources) will go far in lightening the pall surrounding children with special needs.

Reader Reviews

Judy R.

That's My Child
I loved this book!!! As I read, highlighting significant passages on every page, I clearly saw my daughter. Wow, it helped me TREMENDOUSLY to understand her better! It answered many of my "why's". For me, it was life changing.
Jessica

Motivating
I came across this book in the library while taking a course in Special Education to complete my degree in Communication Disorders. I decided to read the book and could not put it down. I went to a mainstream school that stereotyped every student...   Read More
ann gusmus

amazing and heartwarming...
I had to read this book in a day. I was so impressed with the way the author and her daughter worked through their many issues. The love of a mom and the struggles of a child trying to make it with a learning disability - raw emotions from both. I ...   Read More

Write your own review!

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Read-Alikes

Read-Alikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked A Special Education, try these:

  • This Boy We Made jacket

    This Boy We Made

    by Taylor Harris

    Published 2023

    About this book

    A Black mother bumps up against the limits of everything she thought she believed - about science and medicine, about motherhood, and about her faith - in search of the truth about her son.

  • To Siri with Love jacket

    To Siri with Love

    by Judith Newman

    Published 2018

    About this book

    From the author of the viral New York Times op-ed column "To Siri with Love" comes a collection of touching, hilarious, and illuminating stories about life with a thirteen-year-old boy with autism that hold insights and revelations for us all.

We have 9 read-alikes for A Special Education, but non-members are limited to two results. To see the complete list of this book's read-alikes, you need to be a member.
Search read-alikes
How we choose read-alikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Join our inner reading circle, go ad-free and get way more!

Find out more


Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: Neighbors and Other Stories
    Neighbors and Other Stories
    by Diane Oliver
    The history of American segregation, along with changes to it in the 1960s, is sometimes taught and ...
  • Book Jacket: Wild and Distant Seas
    Wild and Distant Seas
    by Tara Karr Roberts
    Tara Karr Roberts is a newspaper columnist who also teaches English and journalism. Wild and Distant...
  • Book Jacket: The Djinn Waits a Hundred Years
    The Djinn Waits a Hundred Years
    by Shubnum Khan
    Shubnum Khan's eloquent and moving debut novel opens in 1932, when a djinn that haunts a house by ...
  • Book Jacket: Transient and Strange
    Transient and Strange
    by Nell Greenfieldboyce
    Throughout her powerful essay collection, Transient and Strange, science reporter Nell ...

BookBrowse Book Club

Book Jacket
Mockingbird Summer
by Lynda Rutledge
A powerful and emotional coming-of-age novel set in the 1960s by the bestselling author of West with Giraffes.

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Adversary
    by Michael Crummey

    An enthralling novel about a small town struggling to survive, and a bitter vendetta between two rivals.

  • Book Jacket

    Strong Passions
    by Barbara Weisberg

    Shocking revelations of a wife's adultery in 19th New York explode in an incendiary trial exposing the upper-crust and its secrets.

Win This Book
Win The Cleaner

The Cleaner
by Brandi Wells

Rarely has cubicle culture been depicted in such griminess or with such glee."
PW (starred review)

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

I Wouldn't T H W A T-F P

and be entered to win..

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.