Writer Mama Every-Day-In-May Book Giveaway: Day Four Book By Kerry Cohen

by @thewritermama on May 4, 2013 · 13 comments

I first encountered Kerry Cohen from the audience at a panel I attended at AWP a couple of years ago. She was talking about her book, Loose Girl, and I found her honesty and gutsiness refreshing. Please help me welcome Kerry Cohen to the book giveaway!

Introducing Kerry Cohen

Kerry Cohen is the author of six books, including the internationally bestselling Loose Girl: A Memoir of Promiscuity and Seeing Ezra, A Mother’s Story of Autism, Unconditional Love, and The Meaning of Normal. She has appeared on Good Morning America and Dr Phil, and her work has been published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and many journals and anthologies. She lives in Portland, Oregon with the author James Bernard Frost and their four children. Learn more at Kerry-Cohen.com.

Learn about Seeing Ezra: A Mother’s Story of Autism, Unconditional Love, and The Meaning of Normal, Seal Press, 2011

Seeing Ezra is the soulful, beautifully written memoir of a mother’s fierce love for her autistic son, and a poignant examination of what it means to be “normal.” When Kerry Cohen’s son Ezra turns one, a babysitter suggests he may be “different,” setting her family on a path in which autism dominates their world.

As he becomes a toddler and they navigate the often rigid and prescriptive world of therapy, Cohen is unsettled by the evaluations they undergo: At home, Ezra is playfully expressive, sharing profound, touching moments of connection and intimacy with his mother and other family members, but in therapy he is pathologized, prodded to behave in ways that undermine his unique expression of autism.

It soon becomes clear that more is at stake than just Ezra’s well-being; Cohen and her marriage are suffering as well. Ezra’s differentness, and the strain of pursuing varied therapies, takes a toll on the family—Cohen’s husband grows depressed and she pursues an affair—all as she tries to help others recognize and embrace Ezra’s uniqueness rather than force him to behave outside his comfort level. It isn’t until they abandon the expected, prescriptive notions about love, marriage, and individuality that they are able to come back together as two parents who fiercely love their little boy.

Powerful and eye-opening, Seeing Ezra is an inspirational chronicle of a mother’s struggle to protect her son from a system that seeks to compartmentalize and “fix” him, and of her journey toward accepting and valuing him for who he is—just as he is.

I asked Kerry three questions about our giveaway’s theme topic, self-expression:

1. Is self-expression an important part of your life today, why or why not?

I think that my memoirs prove that it is!

2. What does self-expression mean to you and how do you do it in the world?

Self-expression means honesty in communication. I do it largely as a memoirist, but also with my children, partner, and close friends. I believe that who I am as a “writer” and persona closely matches who I am inside, and I’m proud of that. My goal is authenticity in just about everything I do. It’s when I feel most whole and connected to the world and other people.

3. How does your self-expression impact the world—your family, your friends, your readers, and everyone else?

Many people feel intimately connected to my work. Others hate me with such vitriol you’d think I killed their dogs or something. My sense is that what happens when you reveal yourself as I do is that people then project what they need to on you. It’s like they I’ve made myself available for their use, to work out their own stuff. I don’t always love it, but I accept it.

And Now, Your Turn…

You remember how this works right?

Please read the complete rules at least once!

I ask you a question.

You answer in the comments for your chance to win a book each day.

Please just respond once, even if you make a typo. ;)

Answer in the comments in 50-200 words (no less and no more to qualify to win one of today’s books).

When was the most creative period in your life thus far? What were you doing and why do you think the juices were flowing so well then?

Ready, set, comment! I will hold the drawing tomorrow and post the results here in my blog.

Thanks for participating in the Writer Mama Every-Day-In-May Book Giveaway!

And thanks for spreading the word. We will be giving away great books by wonderful women authors all month.

View the complete list of authors and books.

View the giveaway Pinterest board.

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