To read Emily Rapp’s memoir The Still Point of the Turning World is to have that life river that you’re navigating—an eddy here, a riffle there—go all Niagara on your ass. You’re in a barrel with Rapp, the mother of a child—Ronan—who’s just been diagnosed with Tay-Sachs disease (100% terminal), plummeting over the precipice. Then you’re in the plunge pool, churning, roiling, wondering vaguely which way is up, or if there is a way up, to the surface. Rapp has brought you here, but now that you’re weeping underwater and she’s slapping you around a bit for being so inexcusably feeble, you aren’t sure she’ll show you any mercy. And, really, who can blame her, a mother with a dying baby to deal with, a writer who is writing to save herself, if she won’t spare you….
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