Author: Julie E. Justicz
Genre: Literary Fiction
Published: October 1, 2019
Book Description: Love is the foundation of family, but at what cost? After Ben Novotny is born with a rare chromosomal disorder that produces profound mental disability and brain-racking seizures, his parents, Caroline and Perry, and their two other children are asked to give more than they have. When Ben is an infant, the care and the fear are constant. The demands and pressure only mount when he and his older brother and sister become teenagers. Ben needs even more from his family, just as Hugo, the athlete and the “good soul”, and Ivy, the ambitious rebel, must carve out their own identities. Over the span of decades, this deep and understanding novel follow each family member, Perry and Caroline, Hugo and Ivy, as their lives diverge. In Degrees of Difficulty, grace is found amidst heartache, love finds a way after loss.
Rating: 4 1/2 Stars
Review: I had no idea to what to expect when I received an eGalley of this book. I had to keep going back and reading the description and kept thinking this in totally in my wheelhouse.
This is the story of the Novotny family and centers around Ben who is born with a rare chromosomal disorder. Ben needs constant care as he has many seizures and an IQ in the 30’s. Each chapter is alternating between, Caroline (mom), Perry (dad), Ivy (sister) and Hugo (brother). When the story begins Ben is being kicked out of another group home and is coming to live with his family until they can find a new living situation.
The author wrote an absolutely beautiful story. You can feel the love, pain and everything in between this family feels. Writing in multiple POV’s was extremely smart, just as you thought a character was unlikeable, the POV would change and you would get that character’s perspective and I felt I would start to understand them, A lot of authors fail at writing this style because all the characters feel the same. Justicz, did a fabulous job making each character feel that they could stand on their own.
This is simply beautiful story that will break your heart. This emotional rollercoaster is well worth the read. I look forward to seeing what else this debut author writes.
Thank you NetGalley and Fomite for an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.