A Chance: Complete Edition

Graphic Mundi. Jan. 2022. 312p. tr. from Spanish by Katherine Rucker. ISBN 9781637790038. $29.95. MEMOIR
Parenthood takes on a doubly broader meaning for Barcelona dwellers Durán and Bou. Their first child, Laia, appears healthy but, after repeated seizures, is diagnosed with cerebral palsy. She eventually stabilizes, post-toddler, and is a social and charming child, although she’s not able to verbally talk. Durán and Bou fulfill a personal dream of adopting a second child from Ethiopia: orphaned three-year-old Selama. The twin stories, released separately in Spain, chronicle the couple’s dauntingly complex journeys. Durán and Bou (El Día 3) spare no detail relating to medical assessments for Laia and international paperwork required to bring Selama home from Africa. Yet what emerges from their account, and makes it compelling to read, are the warm relationships they make and the kindnesses they encounter wherever they go. The stylized, blocky two-toned art uses aqua/white for settings in Spain and tan/white for settings in Ethiopia. In an especially effective visual metaphor, the adoption process for Selama appears as a mountain maze, reminiscent of artist M.C. Escher’s impossible staircase.
VERDICT Inspiring and informative for would-be parents and for those who enjoy stories about real-life, complicated families.
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