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Alternative Family

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  1. 10.2 hrs • 8/16/2016 • Unabridged

    In the spirit of The Blind Side and Friday Night Lights comes a tender and profoundly moving memoir about an ESPN producer’s unexpected relationship with two disabled wrestlers from inner city Cleveland, and how these bonds—blossoming, ultimately, into a most unorthodox family—would transform their lives. When award-winning ESPN producer Lisa Fenn returned to her hometown for a story about two wrestlers at one of Cleveland’s toughest public high schools, she had no idea that the trip would change her life. Both young men were disadvantaged students with significant physical disabilities. Dartanyon Crockett was legally blind as a result of Leber’s disease; Leroy Sutton lost both his legs at eleven, when he was run over by a train. Brought together by wrestling, they had developed a brother-like bond as they worked to overcome their disabilities. After forming a profound connection with Dartanyon and Leroy, Fenn realized she couldn't just walk away when filming ended; these boys had had to overcome the odds too many times. Instead, Fenn dedicated herself to ensuring their success long after the reporting was finished and the story aired—and an unlikely family of three was formed. The years ahead would be fraught with complex challenges, but Fenn stayed with the boys every step of the way—teaching them essential life skills, helping them heal old wounds and traumatic pasts, and providing the first steady and consistent support system they’d ever had. This powerful memoir is one of love, hope, faith, and strength—a story about an unusual family and the courage to carry on, even in the most extraordinary circumstances.

    Available Formats: Download, CD, MP3 CD
    Carry On by Lisa Fenn

    Carry On

    Read by Lisa Fenn
    10.2 hrs • 8/16/16 • Unabridged
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  2. 7.1 hrs • 2/23/2016 • Unabridged

    When Hillary and Jeff Whittington posted a YouTube video chronicling their five-year-old son Ryland’s transition from girl to boy, they didn’t expect it to be greeted with such fervor. Beautiful and moving, the video documenting Hillary’s and Jeff’s love for their child instantly went viral and has been seen by more than seven million viewers since its posting in May 2014. Now for the first time, they tell their story in full, offering an emotional and moving account of their journey alongside their exceptional child. After they discovered their daughter Ryland was deaf at age one and needed cochlear implants, the Whittingtons spent nearly four years successfully teaching Ryland to speak. But once Ryland gained the power of speech, it was time for them to listen as Ryland insisted, “I am a boy!” And listen they did. After learning that forty-one percent of people who identify as transgender attempt to take their own lives, Hillary and her husband Jeff made it their mission to support their child—no matter what. From the earliest stages of deciphering Ryland through clothing choices to examining the difficult conversations that have marked every stage of Ryland’s transition, Hillary Whittington shares her experiences as a mother through it all, demonstrating both the resistance and support that their family has encountered as they try to erase the stigma surrounding the word “transgender.” In telling her family’s story, she hopes she can assist the world in accepting that even children as young as five can have profound and impactful things to say and share. What emerges is a powerful story of unconditional love, accepting others for who they are, and doing what’s right, regardless of whether those around you understand it.

    Available Formats: Download, CD

    Raising Ryland

    7.1 hrs • 2/23/16 • Unabridged
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  3. 0 reviews 0 5 4 4 out of 5 stars 4/5
    8.2 hrs • 5/19/2015 • Unabridged

    Stillwater College in Virginia, 1966. Freshman Peggy, an ingénue with literary pretensions, falls under the spell of Lee, a blue-blooded poet and professor, and they begin an ill-advised affair that results in an unplanned pregnancy and marriage. The two are mismatched from the start—she’s a lesbian, he’s gay—but it takes a decade of emotional erosion before Peggy runs off with their three-year-old daughter, leaving their nine-year-old son behind. Worried that Lee will have her committed for her erratic behavior, Peggy goes underground, adopting an African American persona for her and her daughter. They squat in a house in an African American settlement, eventually moving to a housing project where no one questions their true racial identities. As Peggy and Lee’s children grow up, they must contend with diverse emotional issues: Byrdie deals with his father’s compulsive honesty; while Karen struggles with her mother’s lies—she knows neither her real age, nor that she is “white,” nor that she has any other family. Years later, a minority scholarship lands Karen at the University of Virginia, where Byrdie is in his senior year. Eventually the long-lost siblings will meet, setting off a series of misunderstandings and culminating in a comedic finale worthy of Shakespeare.

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    Mislaid

    8.2 hrs • 5/19/15 • Unabridged
    0 reviews 0 5 4 4 out of 5 stars 4/5
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  4. 8.8 hrs • 6/3/2014 • Unabridged

    From PEN/Hemingway award winner Brando Skyhorse comes this stunning, heartfelt memoir in the vein of The Glass Castle or The Tender Bar, the true story of a boy’s turbulent childhood growing up with five stepfathers and the mother who was determined to give her son everything but the truth. When he was three years old, Brando Kelly Ulloa was abandoned by his Mexican father. His mother, Maria, dreaming of a more exciting life, saw no reason for her son to live his life as a Mexican just because he started out as one. The life of “Brando Skyhorse,” the American Indian son of an incarcerated political activist, was about to begin. Through a series of letters to Paul Skyhorse Johnson, a stranger in prison for armed robbery, Maria reinvents herself and her young son as American Indians in the colorful Mexican American neighborhood of Echo Park, California. There Brando and his mother live with his acerbic grandmother and a rotating cast of surrogate fathers. It will be over thirty years before Brando begins to untangle the truth of his own past, when a surprise discovery online leads him to his biological father at last. From an acclaimed, prize-winning novelist celebrated for his “indelible storytelling” (O, The Oprah Magazine), this extraordinary literary memoir captures a son’s single-minded search for a father wherever he can find one and is destined to become a classic.

    Available Formats: Download, CD, MP3 CD, Digital Rental
    Take This Man by Brando Skyhorse

    Take This Man

    8.8 hrs • 6/3/14 • Unabridged
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