The acclaimed, poignant story of a boy with Williams syndrome, a condition that makes people biologically incapable of distrust, a “well-researched, perceptive exploration of a rare genetic disorder seen through the eyes of a mother and son” (Kirkus Reviews).
What would it be like to see everyone as a friend? Twelve-year-old Eli D’Angelo has a genetic disorder that obliterates social inhibitions, making him irrepressibly friendly, indiscriminately trusting, and unconditionally loving toward everyone he meets. It also makes him enormously vulnerable. On the cusp of adolescence, Eli lacks the innate skepticism that will help him navigate coming-of-age more safely—and vastly more successfully.
In “a thorough overview of Williams syndrome and its thought-provoking paradox” (The New York Times), journalist Jennifer Latson follows Eli over three critical years of his life, as his mother, Gayle, must decide whether to shield Eli from the world or give him the freedom to find his own way and become his own person. Watching Eli’s artless attempts to forge connections, Gayle worries that he might never make a real friend—the one thing he wants most in life. “As the book’s perspective deliberately pans out to include teachers, counselors, family, friends, and, finally, Eli’s entire eighth-grade class, Latson delivers some unforgettable lessons about inclusion and parenthood,” (Publishers Weekly).
The Boy Who Loved Too Much explores the way a tiny twist in a DNA strand can strip away the skepticism most of us wear as armor, and how this condition magnifies some of the risks we all face in opening our hearts to others. More than a case study of a rare disorder, The Boy Who Loved Too Much “is fresh and engaging…leavened with humor” (Houston Chronicle) and a universal tale about the joys and struggles of raising a child, of growing up, and of being different.
Jennifer Latson has written for The Boston Globe, the Houston Chronicle, and Time. She received an MFA in creative nonfiction from the University of New Hampshire and was a recipient of the Norman Mailer Fellowship for nonfiction in 2013. The Boy Who Loved Too Much is her first book.
"Latson tells [this] story with great sympathy and eloquence, giving voice to the frustration, anguish, and despair a parent feels when their child struggles with a rare disorder. A well-researched, perceptive exploration of a rare genetic disorder seen through the eyes of a mother and son." ---Kirkus Reviews
"[Jennifer Latson] skillfully interweaves the science—what we do and don’t know about genetic disorders such as Williams—with a powerful story line. Eli and especially Gayle are beautifully drawn, and their struggles with an unknown future are both unique to their situation and universal to all parents. As the book’s perspective deliberately pans out to include teachers, counselors, family, friends, and, finally, Eli’s entire eighth-grade class, Latson delivers some unforgettable lessons about inclusion and parenthood." ---Publishers Weekly
"Latson blends life concerns and hard medical facts in this widely appealing chronicle of a fascinating disorder." ---Booklist