Beautiful Eyes: A Father Transformed
"I could not put down Beautiful Eyes. It’s a riveting book: honest, fierce, and complex. Not only is it an account of the author’s relationship with Sarah, his vulnerable, smart, and sassy daughter, born with Down syndrome, it’s an insightful story about our long, torn social history of both helping and harming the disabled." - Virginia Holman, author of Rescuing Patty Hearst: Growing Up Sane in a Decade Gone Mad.
“From the title to the last word, Beautiful Eyes is honest, sensitive, exquisitely observed. A memoir not just for the immediate family of a child with Down syndrome, but for the whole human family.” - Peggy Payne - author of Sister India
"In this beautiful, unflinching memoir, Paul Austin uses science, history, and a father's love and fear to trace his emotional journey with his daughter Sarah. Eventually, she becomes less his daughter with Down syndrome and simply his daughter. And every step of the way you will root for Austin, for Sarah, for everyone who has had to learn how to accept the path they are on. I simply love this book!” - Ann Hood, author of The Obituary Writer.
"Paul Austin writes with passion, compassion, and welcome humor in this compelling account of one father's learning how to be a father.... refreshing in its honesty and candor, a family story that comes to life artfully on the page and will tug at your heartstrings." – Philip Gerard, author of The Patron Saint of Dreams
“Austin gives us a portrait of a spectacular young woman, his daughter Sarah, who is wise, bright, determined, often hilarious, occasionally sad, and always compelling. As we follow Sarah’s story, the label ‘Down syndrome’ begins to disappear, replaced instead by an image of a complicated and unforgettable human being.” - Dana Sachs, author of The Secret of Nightingale Palace
Paul Austin is the guy you want waiting for you when you are wheeled into the emergency room—he is clear-eyed to both the beauty and to the suffering of this world. The world here is simply a story about a father and his daughter—nothing more, nothing less—yet every time the daughter—Sarah—appears, it is transcendent. The language Austin has found to express this essential relationship, in all it’s complexity, is a gift, and Beautiful Eyes will slowly enter your bloodstream, and change you. - Nick Flynn, author of The Captain Asks For a Show of Hands: Poems
“Paul Austin's subject may be his first child Sarah, born with Down Syndrome. But for the reader, Sarah isn't simply the subject but the occasion of this profound, brilliantly humane inquiry into unconditional love and its surprising source. Beautiful Eyes is essential reading for our age of ethical confusion and uncertain commitment. It's a page-turner, and its honesty is by turns comic and fierce. It is not simply Sarah's story, but the history of a father determined to think and feel his way through the lethal prejudices of history into full relationship with his beautiful child.” - Patricia Hampl, author of The Florist’s Daughter
"This heartbreaking and hopeful memoir deals head-on with how it feels to discover that your newborn daughter has Down syndrome, how it feels to live with the trials -- and yes, deep joys -- over the next twenty-something years. An intimate, richly layered story about the things that happen to us when we're not ready for them, about accepting life as it is, about learning from the ones we're supposed to be teaching. If you have a child with Down syndrome, of course, you should read this book. If you don't have a child with Down syndrome, you should read it, too. The impact is that strong." - Judy Goldman, author of Losing My Sister: A Memoir