A brutally frank account of caring for an intellectually challenged relative

'The Trouble With My Aunt' is written with humour and insight

04 March 2020 - 15:23
'The Trouble With My Aunt' is a fictionalised account of the author's experience with Fragile X.
'The Trouble With My Aunt' is a fictionalised account of the author's experience with Fragile X.
Image: Supplied

"Nobody really knew what the trouble was with Aunty Vi – all I knew was that it was Gran’s fault."

When an unplanned pregnancy threatens to turn the life of 32-year-old, single, career woman 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 that 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.’ - Gus Silber

Hedi Lampert is a published author and award-winning journalist. She grew up with an aunt who suffers from Fragile X syndrome and has spent the past 15 years researching the condition. 

  • Article provided by Porcupine Press