I really did enjoy the book. I was able to understand the fear and tangled emotions of both Anna and Tobias as they struggled to cope with their baby. I worked for many years with young people (not babies) who had severe learning and physical disabilities, and so many of the parents of these children and young adults spoke of their despair and frustrations when faced with the problems, both personally and with the authorities, that they faced on a daily basis and also how they sometimes fought against the final decisions to tube-feed their child. Some seemed to feel as if in allowing this, that they were no longer able to nourish their child themselves, which is surely a basic need for any parent.
I'd like to ask Saira one question (although the link that penguinpaperback was really informative). Saira, you have shown in your novel that your relationship with your mother changed as you recognised that you couldn't be parted from Freya. Did you have a similar relationship with your own mother as Ailsa was growing? I hope this isn't too personal a question to be asking.
Thanks for your comments. Yes, I wanted to deal with the things that are difficult sometimes to express about disability: that you can feel a failure, you can be unsure as to how much you will be able to love your child. Right at the beginning, a primitive part of your brain (which probably helped our prehistoric ancestors survive) tries to do a sort of calculation in your head: ‘how much love and care can I afford to invest in this child?’ But of course life, and love, doesn’t work like that...
And in answer to your question - Not at all Marelli. Anna’s mother is a very different personality to mine. My real mother (who has recently passed away but who read, and loved, the book) was more accepting of Ailsa than Anna’s mother is of Freya. But the two mothers are parallel. Both of them are trying to make sense of what has happened. Some of the crazy things Anna’s mother says (such as “you can even train a slug”) were said by my mother. And like Anna’s mother, my own mother had a struggle at first to work out if her loyalties were with her daughter or her grand-daughter. All the rest is fiction.