Hannah Holborn wowed me the first time I read her fiction. Her short story, "Without Strings," included in the superb 2008 anthology, Love You to Pieces: Creative Writers on Raising a Child with Special Needs, edited by the novelist Suzanne Kamata, blew me away it hit so close to home.
Angelman's. Parents of typical children without chromosomal abnormalities cannot imagine* how crushing it is upon hearing the news that their child has a severely debilitating developmental disorder, and yet Hannah Holborn, who is not the parent of a special needs child, not only imagined it but nailed it. After Alice receives little sympathy from her look-on-the-"upside"-of-life-mother and her mother's latest beau (unless the latest beau's "boo-hoo" can be construed as signifying genuine sympathy), she walks home and broods:
"...my neighbors slept with confidence inside their heavily mortgaged homes knowing that their children would be icons of socially conscious fashion, win athletic awards, read before kindergarten, earn honors, be beautiful or handsome or both. When grown they would graduate with multiple degrees and then move to the United States because the wages are higher. They would marry well and buy nicer homes than these. They would make their parents proud.
They would avoid my daughter like the plague."
Knocks the wind out of you, a passage like that.
*I can imagine only because I was the parent of a special needs child (Down syndrome) for fifteen-plus years (August 11, 1998 to December 27, 2013).