“Dear Sam, my life was changed the moment you were born.” So begins this remarkable collection of 32 intimate and compassionate letters that Dan (“Pop”) Gottlieb wrote to Sam, his grandson. Frank and honest, they address the same challenges we all face, each in our own way, and listening to them delivers an inspiring and emotional punch. Although the themes of the letters are universal, they draw from a highly personal well of experience.
Dan Gottlieb has been paralyzed from the neck down since a nearly fatal automobile accident 25 years ago. His grandson Sam was diagnosed at 14 months old with Pervasive Developmental Disability, a severe form of autism. Dan wrote these letters with the hope that Sam would one day be able to read them and, through them, get to know his grandfather.Yet you will find no self-pity or regret in these letters. They sing with the purity of a grandfather’s love, understanding, concern, and wisdom, and cover universal life lessons: dealing with parents, coping with school, falling in love, living with disappointment, experiencing joy, and achieving personal success.
Written with keen intelligence and hard-won sensitivity, these are letters that illuminate the moments a man and a boy share. Dan’s healing voice of tolerance, hope, and experience is inspiring and serves as a wonderful reminder that, regardless of our abilities and limitations, we all share in the human condition.
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My best read so far. Beautiful work!