Roots and Fences: A Generational Story of Friends, Family and Disability
Sharon Gregory Duncan, EdD
Outskirts Press (2013)
Reviewed by Janet Reeves for Reader Views (2/14)
“Roots and Fences” by Dr. Sharon Gregory Duncan starts by taking you down memory lane, back to the day when it was fun to go on adventures to the corner store and buy penny candy, or go uptown for ice-cream! Sharon shares her childhood experiences of living with an aunt who had an “intellectual disability,” which was called “retard-ness” in the 1960’s. This book delivers a true account of what it was like to live with a disability such as Downs Syndrome, especially at a time when very little was known about it and it was a big secret - everyone could see it, but it was not discussed.
Sharon Duncan weaves together her story, and how the events in her life lead her to pursue her passion - making a difference in the lives of people living with disabilities. There is no coincidence that the doctor’s career is as an educator teaching others how to educate those with disabilities. Therein lay the synchronicities of life.
Sharon’s involvement in another organization stems from her passion and love for people from her childhood; her Aunt Jackie and the neighborhood friend, Chuck. Sharon had the gift to “just be” with Chuck and her Aunt Jackie. Totally accepting, their disability may have existed to everyone else but not with her!
This author uses metaphors throughout the book that seemed a little odd on one hand, and yet I understood what she was saying (it also helped that the metaphors were explained). I found a little of the writing hard to follow at times but the stories were so compelling, especially the story about Jonathon and his success in college - it truly warmed my heart.
It’s not every day that I think about families with disabled children and how they learned to cope with the daily challenges of life. “Roots and Fences” really opened my eyes to the challenges many amazing families learn to cope with. This book will certainly teach us how to be grateful for our health!