Mary Collins was born three months premature to an American couple who had just relocated to Ireland to sponsor a publishing venture. Before she reached her first birthday, she had been diagnosed as brain-damaged--though the specific effects of the damage were not known. The news sent her mother Pat--counting on a picture-book child like Mary's sister and brother--into a tailspin. Guilt over medical neglect during her pregnancy, as well as an inability to cope with either the fact or the consequences of Mary's handicaps, forced Pat into a wrenching decision: when the Collinses returned to N.Y. to salvage their failing business, Mary was left temporarily in an Irish foundling home. The projected six months turned into two years; but the business finally blossomed, the family settled on Long Island, and Mary was sent for--though not before Pat had first succumbed to and then stared down the bottle, self-pity, and self-recrimination. Despite problems--including two very painful operations and some motor impairment--Mary became a courageous, strong-willed, voluble child, who reclaimed her mother's heart and enabled Pat to make her peace with the ""screaming"" inside. An affecting journey toward maturity; mothers of children similarly afflicted will admire Pat's honesty and be cheered by her discoveries.