This event has been canceled. Please consider purchasing the book to support the author and the shop.
Join us for an evening with author Taylor Harris, who will read from her debut memoir, This Boy We Made: A Memoir of Motherhood, Genetics, and Facing the Unknown. A conversation with author Jocelyn Nicole Johnson will follow. This in-person event will be free and open to the public. We recommend arriving early for the best seating.
About the Book: One morning, Tophs, Taylor Harris’s round-cheeked, lively twenty-two-month-old, wakes up listless, only lifting his head to gulp down water. She rushes Tophs to the doctor, ignoring the part of herself, trained by years of therapy for generalized anxiety disorder, that tries to whisper that she’s overreacting. But at the hospital, her maternal instincts are confirmed: something is wrong with her boy, and Taylor’s life will never be the same.
With every question the doctors answer about Tophs’s increasingly troubling symptoms, more arise, and Taylor dives into the search for a diagnosis. She spends countless hours trying to navigate health and education systems that can be hostile to Black mothers and children; at night she googles, prays, and interrogates her every action.
Some days, her sweet, charismatic boy seems just fine; others, he struggles to answer simple questions. A long-awaited appointment with a geneticist ultimately reveals nothing about what’s causing Tophs’s drops in blood sugar, his processing delays—but it does reveal something unexpected about Taylor’s own health. What if her son’s challenges have saved her life?
This Boy We Made is a stirring and radiantly written examination of the bond between mother and child, full of hard-won insights about fighting for and finding meaning when nothing goes as expected.
About the Author: Taylor Harris is a writer, wife, and mom of three who lives in Charlottesville, Virginia. Her work has appeared in TIME, O Quarterly, The Washington Post, Longreads, The Cut, Romper, Parents, McSweeney’s, and other publications.
About the Moderator: Jocelyn Nicole Johnson is the author of the critically acclaimed book My Monticello. A fellow of Tin House, Hedgebrook, and VCCA, Jocelyn Nicole Johnson has published her writing in Guernica, The Guardian, Kweli Journal, and elsewhere. Her short story “Control Negro” was anthologized in The Best American Short Stories, edited by Roxane Gay, and was read live by LeVar Burton as part of PRI’s Selected Shorts series. A veteran public school art teacher, Johnson lives and writes in Charlottesville, Virginia.
This Boy We Made will be released on January 4. To order the book, please see below for the New Dominion Bookshop book order form or call the shop at 434-295-2552.
"Taylor Harris has masterfully captured the wonder and weight of the endurance race that is motherhood. Mothering in the face of illness and uncertainty as a Black woman is downright Olympian....Their story is heart-wrenching, hopeful, and truly unforgettable."
—Deesha Philyaw, author The Secret Lives of Church Ladies
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