When an unplanned pregnancy threatens to turn the life of 32-year-old, single, careerwoman Leah Fine upside down, she fears her own child may be impaired, just like her aunt. But how do you test for a problem when you don’t know what the problem is? In a frantic search to discover the truth about her aunt’s condition, Leah learns she may be a carrier of an inherited genetic mutation – Fragile X – a leading cause of cognitive impairment, learning disabilities and autism. Not only must she wrestle with the heart-breaking option of termination, but in her search for answers, she uncovers secrets which alter everything she has come to know and trust.
Set within the context of traditional Jewish family life, during the last 30 years of the 20th Century, The Trouble With My Aunt is written with both humour and insight, while offering a brutally frank account of the emotional and social dynamics of caring for an intellectually challenged relative, particularly during an era when little or nothing was known about the particular condition or its causes.
Moving and captivating, this is a testimony to the fiercely powerful bonds of motherhood and sisterhood, as well as a sensitive examination of the sacrifices we make to uphold ingrained principals and prejudices, while keeping our darkest secrets hidden.
‘Spun through with love, lust, and a healthy helping of humour, this richly evocative saga of family and destiny grabs you by the heart and never lets go.’
‘Leah Fine’s life is about to change, in ways she could never have imagined …
This is the story of a young woman at the centre of a wonderfully convoluted family saga, incorporating an intriguing medical conundrum and a roller coaster romance… These are the ingredients that make The Trouble with my Aunt such an engrossing read. Holding it all together is the love mothers have for their children. Deep, abiding, sometimes confused but always true, this love links three generations of Leah Fine’s family.’
Máire Fisher ~ author of Birdseye and The Enumerations.
‘This delightful read is full of rich and complex characters, wit and wisdom.’
Sarah Bullen, author and agent
‘Pacy and highly readable, the characters are instantly recognisable – Hedi Lampert has recreated a family we all know. She has also opened the door on a subject that is perhaps uncomfortable at times, but undoubtedly needs to be discussed and understood.’
Beryl Eichenberger, Fine Music Radio
Hedi Lampert is a published author and award winning journalist. She has grown up with an aunt who suffers from Fragile X syndrome, and has spent the last 15 years researching the condition. Hedi brings an insatiable curiosity in the fields of genetics, psychology and relationship dynamics into her writing, which has been described as witty, warm, honest and invariably, profoundly insightful. She is also a magazine editor, writing coach, professional speaker, voiceover artist, photographer and food stylist.
Hedi lives in Cape Town with her son and daughter, a mostly Labrador called Jemima, three cats and Nero – an albino squirrel.
Find out more about the book and the author
Listen to this wonderful podcast with Hedi Lampert interviewed by Jonathan Ancer. The book “The Trouble with my Aunt’ is available on Amazon and will be in all good bookstores once lock-down is over! Please share!
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Sue Grant-Marshall of Radio Today interviews Hedi Lampert on her show Reading Matters
“If you don’t go to school how will you ever make money?
Do you want to land up like a hobo on the street?” I picture myself sitting next to the man with the purple face and the dirty yellow hair on the pavement outside the Spar in Rondebosch. We’re playing a game with old discarded bottle tops. Mom’s words break through the vision. “Go inside now, Michael, go into class, your teacher will look after you, you’ll be safe.” But I never was. Not for one day. I could never shake the feeling of being endangered.
Mike Greeff grew up in the 60s and 70s when children with learning disabilities were classified as lazy, disorganised, slow or just plain stupid. He was finally diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) at the age of 33. With appropriate medication, therapy and behaviour modification, his life changed radically. Today Mike is one of Cape Town’s most successful entrepreneurs.
From the schoolboy antics of the junior school playground to the grim realities of life on ‘The Border’ and Mike’s emotional struggle to gain his father’s elusive approval, this brutally honest book is at times both shocking and deeply moving. While it will serve as an invaluable handbook for parents of children with learning disabilities, or indeed adults who suffer from any symptoms of ADD, this is a story of courage, determination and hope, from which we can all learn.
"Inspirational and such a good read.”
"I couldn’t put this book down. Descriptive, moving and informative. It’s also a quick read, so excellent for anyone with ADD too!"
"A hugely insightful and brilliantly written account of what it’s like to wrestle with ADD. Highly recommended."