A Mother Like Alex: One Defiant Woman. Nine Special Children. Paperback – 3 Nov 2008
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‘In a market awash with true-life memoirs, it is refreshing to find a book that really feels different. As Alex tells each of [the childrens’ ] stories, there are traumatic episodes, lots of humour and plenty of heartache - but more than anything, a genuine insight into the redemptive power of love.’ The Bookseller
An inspiring true story of a life devoted to helping Downs children. Alex Bell is a 53 year old woman who lives in Swinton, on the outskirts of Manchester. She is feisty, funny with a real firecracker of a personality. She has needed that strength of character for Alex is the adoptive mother of 8 children with Downs Syndrome or other disabilities, children who some parts of society would perhaps prefer to forget. Age 28 and unmarried, Alex adopted her first Downs child, Matthew - and became one of the first people in the UK to be approved for adoption as a single woman. Amazingly, she went on to take eight more children under her wing, Simon, Adrian, Nathan, Andrew, Chloe, Tom, Emily and Callum. Some had been through a frustratingly bureaucratic care system, or moved from one foster parent to another. It sometimes seemed an impossible challenge, but Alex was determined to give these children stability, love and the best life possible. With her down-to-earth charm, Alex also brings together the families often torn apart by Downs. She encourages the birth families to get together - some of whom have sadly turned their backs on their son or daughter, but others have now long been happily involved in their children's lives. The nine children each have unique, sometimes heartbreaking stories, but they are also the most joyful, compelling and fascinating children you're ever likely to meet: / Happy-to-lucky Matthew, 24, who takes people on tours of Man. Utd - the only Downs child to be given such a privileged position, and testament to Alex's care / Adrian, the family timekeeper and numbers wiz, as if born with a clock inside his brain / Chloe, the lovable, mischievous scamp known as Little Miss Dynamite Prepare to be amazed, moved and entranced by this powerful true story that will change the way we all look at disabilities. Alex believes special needs children are 'gifts', and spending any time with her it becomes obvious that she also has a very special gift of her own.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
First, I expected it to fall into line with other books about children in difficulties. In a sense it does (the children certainly have difficulties), but it altogether avoids cliche or easy expectations. Each child of those Alex Bell has taken into her family has their own distinct personality, and each story is very different. There is a variety to the stories that urges one on.
Second, although the book moved me to tears at a number of points, it is not a 'misery' read. It is a hugely positive story about what love - in Alex's case, hard-nosed love - can achieve.
Finally, the book is very well written. i find it hard to agree with the reviewer who found the author's take on the children unsympathetic. Good writing tells the truth. A MOTHER LIKE ALEX does so with humour, sensitivity, and courageous involvement.
This is an uplifting account of woman who has truly achieved and is still striving to achieve more in a world where many of us choose not to venture. Her family leap from the pages as fantastically inspiring animate individuals, their struggles and triumphs lovingly documented. For those who have compassion and empathy for the subject matter this is a must read, for those who simply want a good book, and how often do they really turn up, this is also a must read.
I don't generally read biographies, but I'm close to these people so I thought I would see if anything was recorded that I didn't already know.
The way the language was used was deliberate. I understand that this can be unhelpful in perpetuating a prejudiced vocabulary, but underlying Alex's story is Bernard Clark's own journey from what might be seen as the society norm (it certainly seemed that society was that way in the late 80s when Alex and Bernard first met) towards his being accepted as almost part of her family. Many reviewers here failed to pick up on that aspect of the work; I found it slightly galling, but once you understand that the author is also telling his tale it becomes part of it. The lack of attention to the more common experience of families during the early days of being gifted with a DS child is purely an artefact of the fact that Alex's children were all adopted for a variety of reasons, and this book is not about the usual experience.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This woman is inspirational. I have a daughter with ASD and it gave me a completely different outlook. Made me learn to stand up for my daughter's needs!!!!Published 19 months ago by th54tracy
I loved this book and the lady whose story is told is absolutely amazing to devote her whole life to people who have disabilities..a true inspiration to us allPublished on 14 Mar. 2014 by Cathy Rawlings
I bought this on the recommendation from a friend, it's inspirational what Alex has done to dedicate her life to these children who each have their own challenges but ensures they... Read morePublished on 19 July 2013 by Fuzzybear
This is the inspirational story of Alex Bell, a woman who has adopted and cared for nine children with special needs ranging from downs syndrome to autism. Read morePublished on 19 Jun. 2013 by ragdoll6
Unconditional love, hard to find in many people but Alex is an exception to the rule.
A book in which everyone should realise that every person is important and unique... Read more
excellent book, very moving and very touching. I like the fact it is based on true experiences , excellent read.Published on 6 Jan. 2013 by stephen hessey
I absolutely loved reading this book.It is a must read for people adopting or any one not adopting.It has funny parts and sad parts. Read morePublished on 18 Oct. 2011 by Mrs.B
Not read it yet, but have seen Alex's story on TV. From personal experience I know Downs children can be hard work but oh so rewarding. Read morePublished on 3 Jun. 2011 by Julia
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