LIKE NORMAL PEOPLE by Robert Meyers

LIKE NORMAL PEOPLE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

When Roger Meyers and Virginia Rae Hensler were married last year, Roger's brother Robert covered the story for the Washington Post: both Roger and Virginia are mildly retarded, and their marriage demonstrates changed attitudes toward retardation (many states formerly prohibited such marriages) and solid evidence of their continuing personal development. Roger grew up an enema to his parents who never found a helpful specialist and who, thinking he might improve, never institutionalized him; their reluctance to admit his limits gave him, in the long run, a stronger sense of self (Robert calls him ""stubborn as the morning"") and the expectation of living like--and among--nonretarded people. So when, after he turned 20, they finally found a suitable residence (where he could live in and get counseling but continue as a restaurant busboy), he moved there with misgivings and ultimately worked on his own to secure for himself a more independent life--in an apartment, with some supervision. Virginia, after early years at home, lived in a relatively progressive institution and never thought of herself as retarded; even today, the two of them resist the label and consider themselves slower than others but determined. Robert Meyers concentrates on the brothers' childhood together, which gives the book a strong home-movie quality: the larger issue shares the limelight with family trivia. That same lack of objectivity, however, does not obscure what strains and confusions the family endured and how they linger or fade as Roger shows what he can do.

Pub Date: Oct. 8th, 1978
Publisher: McGraw-Hill