The Book of Kehls

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Macmillan, Jan 5, 2005 - Biography & Autobiography - 224 pages
3 Reviews
In this memoir, Christine Kehl O'Hagan describes the ways in which muscular dystrophy shaped the life of her family. From her 1960s childhood growing up under the elevated trains of Jackson Heights, Queens, to the leafy streets of a Long Island suburb where O'Hagan later cared for her own two boys - one healthy and one with the disease - she was always surrounded by the ghosts of past victims. They included two young uncles, dead of muscular dystrophy when they were ten and twelve, as well as her brother, Richie, whose birth Christine celebrated with great joy and whose decline underscored her family's pain. But even as they struggled, there was much laughter in their lives. Christine's grandmother and aunt - Old World Irish Catholics who lived in the apartment next door - provided an eccentric, loving hilarity, as did her father. He was just as likely to come home on the subway wearing oversized green furry costume shoes with claws, stolen from a local television show, as he was to sleep off a beer-soaked night in the neighborhood bar.
Eventually Christine would marry and have a healthy son. But when she saw her second boy, Jamie, struggle to climb onto the school bus, she realized that muscular dystrophy would be with her the rest of her life. The Book of Kehls is the story of a family who had love, courage, and heartbreak in equal measures - and how they survived.

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User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

Irish-American O'Hagan, born and raised in Queens, takes her heart and squeezes until it purely aches as she relates how her son's life came to a premature close.It was a terrible family legacy: her ... Read full review

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User Review  - Whisper1 - LibraryThing

A well-written, poignant story of a very brave woman and her family devastated by generations of young men debilitated by muscular dystrophy. Christine Kehl O'Hagan discovered a photo of "the boys ... Read full review

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