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Book Title: The Broken Cord|
The author of the book: Michael Dorris
ISBN 13: 9780060916824
Format files: PDF, Epub, DOCx, TXT
The size of the: 769 KB
Edition: Harper Perennial
Date of issue: January 1st 1989
Reader ratings: 8.7
Loaded: 399 times
Read full description of the books The Broken Cord:
It would be a shame if the circumstances surrounding the author's death cast a shadow over this fine book, because it is beautifully written, deeply felt, and a devastating account of the impact of fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) among Native Americans.
Michael Dorris, a young unmarried college teacher and writer, adopts a Native American boy "Adam" whose developmental problems, he believes, are the result of poor nutrition, poor health care, and lack of proper parenting. In time, however, he discovers that Adam was born with FAS, a condition Dorris knows very little about. Believing that proper care can reverse the effects of FAS, he takes on the daunting and nearly futile task of helping Adam achieve a "normal" boyhood. The damage done, it turns out, is irreversible; Adam is almost maddeningly unable to learn simple tasks and responsibilities. FAS-related health problems, including seizures, often turn merely difficult days and nights into nightmares for the single father.
The book Dorris writes is meant as an eye-opener for readers who are unaware of the potential harm in consuming alcohol during pregnancy. Given naturally to research and study, he shares with the reader much of what he learns about FAS and the Native American culture that has had such a fatal connection with alcohol. To that extent, this is almost a textbook on the subject.
But this is also the story of a father and son, and most poignant, for this reader, is the relationship between them that is a thread throughout the book. Dorris never surrenders to the barriers that exist between him and his son. Having taken responsibility for Adam, he gives his all to making even the smallest difference in the boy's life. It's a heroic effort and often heartbreaking.
Read information about the authorMichael Dorris was a novelist, short story writer, nonfiction writer, and author of books for children
The first member of his family to attend college, Dorris graduated from Georgetown with honors in English and received his graduate degree in anthropology from Yale. Dorris worked as a professor of English and anthropology at Dartmouth College.
Dorris was part-Native American through the lineage of his paternal. He founded the Native American Studies department at Dartmouth in 1972 and chaired it until 1985.
In 1971, Dorris became the first unmarried man in the United States to adopt a child. His adopted son, Reynold Abel, was diagnosed with fetal alcohol syndrome and his condition became the subject of Dorris' The Broken Cord,(the pseudonym "Adam" is used for his son in the book).
In 1981, Dorris married aspiring writer Louise Erdrich. Throughout their relationship, Erdrich and Dorris edited and contributed to each other's writing.
In 1991, Dorris' adopted son, Reynold Abel, died after being hit by a car. In 1996, Louise Erdrich separated from Dorris. On April 10, 1997, Dorris committed suicide in Concord, New Hampshire.
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