CBA Record January-February 2020



Degrees of Difficulty

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D egrees of Difficulty is the first fiction book of writer Julie Justicz, and it does not disappoint. The writing is fluid and quickly draws readers in. The story moves along at a good pace through- out. The characters are real and robust. The details Ms. Justicz uses are those very details that spark recognition of the characters, allowing readers to fit characters into their own world and personalize them as if they could be neighbors. At its core, this story is about family. It follows a family in which one of the three children, Ben, has profoundly high needs, as he lacks the skills of most children, including speech and full mobility. Much of the book’s exploration focuses on the day-to-day realities of living with a family member with profound needs. Each family member relates to Ben in a unique way. The author’s examination of this sheds light on how and why some people need to protect themselves from the needs of others, how the realities of our private existences shape our ability to perform or pursue our dreams and desires, and even our choices of those very dreams. The book is also a tale of how the stress and lack of resources and support for families with special needs children can be profoundly destructive. But, through all of the unique circumstances of this particular family, each of its members are whole people who are, frankly, likeable and who have lives that continue on regardless. The book is a fast read and is easy to get lost in, but be forewarned you may want to have some tissues handy.

Degrees of Difficulty By Julie E. Justicz Fromite, 2019 Reviewed by Clare McMahon, Editorial Board Member

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Clare McMahon, a member of theCBARecordEditorial Board, is a sole practitioner whose practice consists largely of family law matters.

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