A Different Life

A Different Life : Growing Up Learning Disabled and Other Adventures

3.36 (118 ratings by Goodreads)
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This articulate, frank, entertaining memoir of growing up with a profound developmental and learning disability-by the son of long-time "Washington Post" Executive Editor Ben Bradlee and bestselling author Sally Quinn - will inspire everyone who has or deals with learning differences.Quinn Bradlee was diagnosed with VCFS, a syndrome that affects 1 in 2000 individuals but which stealthily masks itself with 180 symptoms that range from scoliosis to susceptibility to schizophrenia. (VCFS is the result of a submicroscopic deletion of a tiny segment of DNA on the 22nd chromosome that happens randomly in an instant during recombination in sexual cell reproduction). "A Different Life" is a revealing portrait of growing up battling the physical, mental, and social challenges presented by a sometimes debilitating and almost always demanding disorder, and a poignant confessional of the experience of growing up with such limitations as the son of incredibly accomplished and famous parents.From detailing his cringe-worthy loss of sexual innocence, to delineating the difficulties he experiences reading social cues, Quinn opens a door into his world-one in which he constantly questions what, exactly, is normal. At turns funny and saddening, Bradlee's memoir is a poignant rumination on the loneliness of being different, and at the same time, the indisputable joy he experiences in life. A balanced portrait that is optimistic without being Polly-annish, "A Different Life" deftly plumbs the depths of living in a different sort of house. Both benefiting and complicating Quinn's experience are his parents': two larger than life figures who can make things happen for their son, but whose long shadows also threaten to occlude him.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 240 pages
  • 137.16 x 213.36 x 27.94mm | 340.19g
  • PublicAffairs,U.S.
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 1586481894
  • 9781586481896

Review quote

Kate and Jim Lehrer "A Different Life is a marvel--a stunning rocket of honesty about growing up learning disabled. As Quinn explains his frustrations, dreams, set-back and triumphs, he also explores with humor and sensitivity the difficulties in even a loving family's dynamic of dealing with their son. The portrait that unfolds is not so unlike that of many a family -- his father loving but firm and wanting to fit him for the world and a mother who does everything in her power to protect him from the emotional and physical suffering he often endures. Yet through the heartbreak shines Quinn's hopefulness and kindness and spills onto us all. This book is for everyone."Barbara Kantrowitz, The Daily Beast, 3/31 "Bradlee is, at times, funny, mordant, surprisingly perceptive and disturbingly naive.... it's clear that even enormous privilege did not protect him from the profound loneliness of being different." Liz Smith, www.Wowowow.com, 3/31 "You'll be hearing the name Quinn Bradlee a lot now that this son of Sally Quinn and Ben Bradlee of Washington media fame has finished A Different Life: Growing Up Learning Disabled and Other Adventures."show more

About Quinn Bradlee

Quinn Bradlee has made a series of short documentary films about children with learning disabilities and rare genetic syndromes, and he is also launching a website to create a community for l.d. kids and their families. He works for healthcentral.com and lives in Washington, D.C. Jeff Himmelman is a writer based in Washington, D.C. His reporting and writing with Woodward helped The Washington Post win the Pulitzer Prize for its post-9/11 coverage, and he received a front-page byline in the Post for the third instalment of Woodward's series with reporter Dan Balz about the Bush Administration's response to the attacks.show more

Rating details

118 ratings
3.36 out of 5 stars
5 15% (18)
4 27% (32)
3 38% (45)
2 18% (21)
1 2% (2)
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