A Human Condition

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Set in Eastern Mass—parts of Boston and Cape Cod—The Condition chronicles the lives of the members of the Drew-McKotch family. Paulette and Frank's rocky marriage takes a turbulent turn for the worse when they discover that their daughter, Gwen, suffers from Turner's Syndrome, a chromosomal affliction that will keep her from ever entering puberty, trapping her in a child's body forever. Over the years, the family members, including Gwen's two brothers, Scott and Billy, deal with their own demons—successful Billy harbors a huge secret; Scott discovers that, perhaps, his inability to achieve much isn't entirely his own fault; and Paulette and Frank deal with having a fractured family. Meanwhile, Gwen does her best to learn how to cope with her condition.

Written by Jennifer Haigh, The Condition manages to do much more than raise awareness of a rare genetic defect. By the end of the book, Haigh, in fluid prose, makes readers feel as if they have an intimate knowledge of each character's personality and the struggles they endure and eventually overcome.

Haigh appears this week at in South Hadley to read from and sign copies of her book.

Aug. 14, 7 p.m., Odyssey Bookshop, 9 College St., South Hadley, (413) 534-7307, www.odysseybks.com.

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