"What follows...is a chronicle of honesty, of mistakes, of love and messiness, of laughter, of pee. It’s a journey of panic and course corrections and sweet, surprising successes. Kari has troubles with homeschooling: “I forgot a lot of people wanted to be home with their children all day. I had never been that person.” Kari is awful with bureaucrats. Some of them are awful to her. Kari cries a lot. She feels, deeply.
And it’s also a story of a boy. Thorin is slow, but he is smart. He has trouble speaking, but he communicates brilliantly. He is adorable, but he is a pain in the ass. He is, in other words, a human child, no less and no more than your special darling with the bumper sticker for student of the month."
- From Foreword by Lawrence Downes
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“When author Wagner-Peck and her husband adopted a son, Thorin, with Down syndrome, their learning curve was steep. Peck recounts their journey in this intimate peek at three individuals who had to overcome many obstacles before becoming, in Peck’s words, a “forever family.” Navigating state bureaucracies and compliance issues was among the challenges they faced. So were awkward, well-meaning neighbors, Thorin’s occasionally overbearing biological sibling, a grandmother with misgivings, and a large and varied cast of medical professionals...to continue reading." -Publisher's Weekly
"A beautiful book full of love and wisdom, and laughter, too. Kari is the friend we all want and the guide we all need in times of uncertainty and challenge. She makes it so obvious: focus on love, and, somehow, things will work out." -Tim Shriver, Chairman of the Special Olympics
“I loved this book. [Wagner-Peck] wants people with Down syndrome not to be isolated...or.. outcast. I think it’s a great story about Down syndrome and inclusion in life and everyone should read it.” AnnaRose Rubright, self-advocate, public speaker, Special Olympics athlete and a full-time college student.
"With wit, insight, and humor, Wagner-peck has written a book for all parents because it gives us the true power of unconditional love." -Bob Keyes, Arts Reporter at the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram
"I don't have much in common with Kari's experience yet I remained glued to her story, gulping it down in two sessions. Your own parenting trajectory need not be the same as hers to understand, sympathize, and thoroughly enjoy hers." -Meriah Nichols, meriahnichols.com
"Her easy conversational writing will keep you turning pages to see what happens next... books about Down syndrome either have made me want to kill myself with their list of all the terrible things about having a baby with Down syndrome or puke at the blessings of it all. Not Always Happy was something that I could relate to and laugh with, and it helped me see Thorin for who he is, not the extra chromosome he has." -Lin Rubright, mother of six, advocate and founder of Anna Foundation for Inclusive Education
"Not Always Happy is a book you'll be glad to read thanks to Kari Wagner-Peck's wry humor, unvarnished observations, and memorable anecdotes about her son... Parents of children with disabilities will relate to this mother's metamorphosis into an advocate." -Ellen Seidman, lovethatmax.com
"Not Always Happy is the book that, as a parent of a child with Down syndrome, I have always wanted to read. And, it is the book that I want everyone else to read... drawn with humor and without the opportunistic sentimentality so often used in the literary treatment of disabilities." -Catia Malaquias, founder and director of Starting With Julius, director of Down Syndrome Australia and the Attitude Foundation
"Intimate, entertaining, at times hilarious... it illustrates that parenting a child with disabilities is really no different than parenting any other child. What is different are the attitudes and obstacles encountered along the way - and that's the problem we, as a community, still need to solve!" -Peter V. Berns, Chief Executive Officer, The Arc
"...I found myself nodding, laughing, and grumbling audibly - each story feeling frustratingly familiar to me, bringing back memories of my experience as a disabled person who received a public education. ...Not Always Happy [is] a gem that's worth the read." -Emily Ladau, wordswheelby.com, Editor in Chief of the Rooted in Rights Blog, Host of The Accessible Stall
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