Letter To Louis
‘I’ve never quite known where to begin when someone asks me what I’ve been up to. I’ve never quite known how to explain what our daily life is like. I wanted to write how it is in order to give others a greater understanding of disability and caring. And to be totally honest, I wanted to write something that would make people consider being Louis’ friend. So here is me introducing you: Louis, this is your story. Readers, this is my son.’
Audie Awards best memoir finalist
‘I’ve never quite known where to begin when someone asks me what I’ve been up to. I’ve never quite known how to explain what our daily life is like. I wanted to write how it is in order to give others a greater understanding of disability and caring. And to be totally honest, I wanted to write something that would make people consider being Louis’ friend.
So here is me introducing you: Louis, this is your story. Readers, this is my son.’
In 1996 Alison’s first child, Louis, was delivered by emergency caesarian section at thirty-two weeks gestation. He suffered severe brain damage due to her undetected pre-eclampsia within hours of his birth, and has cerebral palsy and learning difficulties. From this point Alison’s life drastically changed.
Alison’s memoir, addressed to Louis, explores their first eighteen years together. Louis is still unable to walk, eat or do most basic tasks unaided but his indomitable spirit, irreverent humour, and surprising talents shine through. Her book offers a glimpse into the world of disability and caring and also explores hope: the hope we place in others, in systems, and the hope we have for the future.
This is a memoir about a mother’s love for her son. It is addressed to Louis. It is also a memoir about hope – hope in others, hope in systems, and hope for the future.
‘So good…. A beautiful piece of writing that had me gripped from the first page… What an achievement.’
Cathy Rentzenbrink, author of The Last Act of Love
‘Poignant and painful. This is what unconditional love looks like.’
Bella Pollen, author of Meet Me in the In-Between
‘Superbly written… [an] unflinching, unsentimental, life-enhancing book, which should be required reading for politicians, health workers and all of us who should care for carers everywhere – indeed, for anyone who has a heart…It’s a heroic book about hope.’
Jackie McGlone, The Herald
‘A searingly honest depiction of raising a disabled child . . . Intimate, sometimes heartbreaking and often funny, this letter of love is essential reading.’
Mail on Sunday
‘White’s frank memoir yields a deep understanding of disability, and her voice reverberates with strength and tenderness.’
Times Literary Supplement
‘Heartbreaking . . . beautifully written . . . in equal measure, admirable, uplifting, terrifying.’
Louise Doughty, Observer
‘Profoundly moving . . . frank and open-hearted but unsentimental.’
‘I hurtled with increasingly admiration through this beautifully written and affecting account of the first eighteen years in the life of the author’s first child Louis, who suffered severe brain damage owing to White’s undetected pre-eclampsia in the days preceding his birth. This trauma is less the point, more so the portrait, both tender and tough, that she paints of day-in, day-out life with a disabled child, with its pains, its frustration, and its small, but giddy triumphs. It provides everyday insights and is all the more powerful for it.’
Bookseller, Editor’s Choice
‘Completely compelling and told in beautifully elegant prose, the book swept me away – a heartfelt and moving love letter to a son.’
Kate Hamer, bestselling author of The Girl in the Red Coat