Goodnight, Brian, Steven H. Manchester, 2013, Kindle e-book

Here is a story about one family's journey through life, in the face of some considerable obstacles.

Brian Mauretti is the second child of Jan and Frank Mauretti, residents of Rhode Island. For his first few months, while he is breast-fed, everything is fine. When Jan switches him to a supposedly organic, soy-based, bottle formula, Brian's condition collapses. It starts with constant diarrhea, and inability to sleep, and goes downhill from there. Her pediatrician says not to worry. After six months of this, another pediatrician diagnoses Brian's condition.

The formula maker intentionally removed the salt from the formula, allegedly to make it more healthy. A newborn baby needs certain minerals, including salt, every day. The lack of salt has done major damage to Brian's frontal lobe; he will never be able to walk or talk on his own.

After the tears and anger, Jan's mother, Mama, the family matriarch (as New England Italian as they come), dismisses the bleak diagnosis from the doctor. She tells the family that the number one priority is helping Brian to reach his full potential. Dissent will not be tolerated. It takes several years, but Brian does learn to walk and talk. He thrives in the Rhode Island Special Olympics.

If any of the local kids start teasing Brian, or just look at him the wrong way, Russ, his older brother, has no problem with pounding that person into a bloody pulp. As the years go on, the family experiences the same trials and tribulations that happen in any family. Jan and Frank's marriage does not survive. A daughter of Jan's sister Bev declares that she is gay, while the other daughter marries a black man. Mama takes the news much better than does Bob, Bev's husband. Mama is slowing down, but doesn't tell anyone in the family that she has cancer.

This may sound like a silly cliche, but do whatever is necessary (and legal) to get a copy of this book. If purchasing it is not possible, then ask your library to get a copy. When life gets too difficult, a person sometimes needs an old-fashioned inspirational story about things like love and faith and hope. This is that story.

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