Carrier: Untangling the Danger in My DNA

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Catapult, Apr 6, 2010 - Biography & Autobiography - 321 pages
This memoir of one woman’s struggle with her DNA’s legacy and its effects on multiple generations of family is “amazing” in “the raw courage she exhibits” (Publishers Weekly, starred review).
 
When testing reveals that Bonnie Rough is a carrier of a genetic condition known as hypohidrotic ectodermal dysplasia, or H.E.D., she begins a journey into her family’s painful history and faces agonizing moral decisions about her own future as a parent.
 
Characterized by what look like superficial complications—unusual facial bone structure, an inability to sweat, lack of teeth or cone-shaped teeth, and sparse hair—H.E.D. is a rare condition with surprisingly serious repercussions for its sufferers. In this emotionally honest exploration of the disorder’s effects on her own family, Rough writes in the voices of her grandfather Earl, who had the condition, and her mother Paula, who inherited the gene and transmitted it to her son.
 
These first-person accounts of living with the effects of H.E.D.—and the damaging ways Earl tried to fight it, which led to him dying penniless and addicted to drugs—are marked by their raw honesty and anger. Knowing that the disorder is transmitted by mothers to sons, Rough and her husband must face their own excruciating choices about future parenthood, and confront how the past will inevitably shape their future.
 
 

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Contents

Title Page
paula
part
earl
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paula
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earl
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part four

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About the author (2010)

Bonnie J. Rough holds an MFA from the University of Iowa. Currently a Bush Artist Fellow, she has taught at The Loft Literary Center and is also a trained birth doula. Her writing has appeared in The Sun, the Modern Love column of The New York Times, and elsewhere. She has traveled extensively and currently divides her time between Amsterdam and Washington State. This is her first book.

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