This father devoted his life to making sure the doctors were doing what they needed to do, and he had the money and connections to make these things happen for the most part , and still lost his son due to negligence. Which begs the question, how many people have died because their families haven't had the money or connections or intelligence or time this father had? The thing that stood out most strongly for me in this book was tha Because I needed another reason to hate hospitals and doctors.
The thing that stood out most strongly for me in this book was that breakdown of the healthcare systems we're encouraged to trust. But as such There were a few beautiful scenes with Damon, and I'm glad to have read them especially Damon risking being seen by his friends to cuddle with his dad in the snow , but I struggled through this book until just before the heart transplant.
I realize the importance of getting to know Damon in order to make us realize just how unjust his death is, but I still think some judicious cuts could have been made for publication. I can see how all of this would have been necessary to the dad--clearly this book was cathartic and part of the healing process for him--but I agree with other reviewers that this almost would be a better book to keep among the family, and a version submitted for publication should have been much more concise.
Man, sometimes being honest with my reviews makes me feel like a bad person. Feb 18, Laura rated it did not like it Shelves: mt-bookpile , old-reads. I just couldn't finish this: what I'd hoped would be about this family's incredible loss has turned into being more about this father's anger and eidetic memory for anything and everything about his son.
This isn't to diminish the pain of losing one's son, or the life he led and might have led had he lived but, well, the son didn't come through as the hero of this as much as the father does. Here's an example: there's about four pages of a conversation, remembered verbatim, the author has wi I just couldn't finish this: what I'd hoped would be about this family's incredible loss has turned into being more about this father's anger and eidetic memory for anything and everything about his son.
Here's an example: there's about four pages of a conversation, remembered verbatim, the author has with the doctor who did Damon's Fonton surgery, which is equal to the number of pages spent describing Damon's bar mitzvah. And another: the discussion of where the heart transplant should take place is more detailed than Damon's directing the school play.
So that's the level of pathos I expected in Immortal Bird , just as I expected that the book or the part of it I got through to be filled with Damon's life.
And while Damon seems to have been a very nice, talented teenage boy he wasn't that different from other equally nice, talented teenage boys I've known - heart problems excepted, of course.
ARC provided by publisher. Nov 21, Mario rated it liked it Shelves: nonfiction , account , auto-biographical , first-reads. I knew pretty early on that this would be a tough book to review. I know that this book will be popular, I can guarantee it. And, in truth, it is everything it should be; heartwarming, heartbreaking, sad, inspiring, etc. If you haven't already read the book, there's a very good chance that you'll love it, so you should probably just go ahead and read it.
I, however, while I am well aware that my reaction is probably highly unusual, did not love it. I'm just going to go ahead and spoiler the bulk I knew pretty early on that this would be a tough book to review. I'm just going to go ahead and spoiler the bulk of this now, partly because there will be a few spoilers, but also because I can't possibly review this without broaching sensitive topics in a not-altogether respectful way. So if you don't want to be spoiled or offended, just stop here.
That is the bulk of my problem with this book. You can't get though more than a couple of pages without hearing how extraordinary Damon was, how handsome, how talented, how "responsibility comes naturally to him," how popular he was, and what a great relationship father and son had.
I'm not going to say that Weber whitewashed Damon's life, and obviously I did not know Damon, so I am really not in a position to say it is entirely possible that Damon was the real perfect, amazing person that everyone else pretends their lost child was. But, to me, it feels like Weber is just too close to the subject. The book feels dishonest. Of course, most of that could be explained away by the different kind of life that sick children are forced to live. When you have far too little energy to get out of bed most days, it isn't hard to stay out of trouble so you end up looking like a model child regardless of your inclinations.
I was sick myself around that same age, so I knew a lot about what he was going through I saw the entire IVIg episode, for instance, coming a mile away.
It is entirely preventable with Benadryl, but they don't give it to you until after you get sick the first time. After that, you don't get any reaction at all. I think they do it on purpose to boost the placebo effect.
For instance, anytime Damon's friend Kyle a girl, if that matters to you shows up, Weber makes a point of playing up the romantic possibilities and the idea that she's his "soul mate," even though there is, at no time, any hint of an actual romantic connection between the two.
Again, I wasn't there, but it seemed like it was far more likely to be the fantasy of a sad, grieving father than something real. In short, Weber does not strike me as an entirely reliable narrator. So that was my problem. I feel like I, as a reader, was robbed a little of getting to know the real Damon because he was hidden behind his father's blindness and wishful thinking.
Really, this is a story about Weber as a father far more than it is about Damon as a son, but Weber does not seem to appreciate how much of the story is colored by his biased perception. Whenever danger approached view spoiler [like with the inner tube, horseback riding, or the Mexican hole hide spoiler ] , I always found myself having to go back and read the last couple of sentences again because I didn't realize there had been any danger at all until it was already being resolved.
I don't know if Weber was too sudden or too subtle, but since it happened more than once, I'm not inclined to blame myself. Again, though, I'm sure that most people will love it, particularly if you have ever had to go through something similar.
I received this free through Goodreads First Reads thanks! Nov 21, Tracy Towley rated it liked it Shelves: first-reads. This review is probably the most difficult I've ever had to write. Immortal Bird is a father's memoir that details the months leading up to his son's death. What this father went through is beyond my comprehension, and I knew that it would be a deeply emotional book.
Unfortunately, I cannot say that the book hit the mark for me. It's obvious that the author needed to write this book. I found myself constantly imagining him sitting alone in a room, remembering every last detail of his This review is probably the most difficult I've ever had to write. I found myself constantly imagining him sitting alone in a room, remembering every last detail of his son's disease, and the countless hours he and his wife spent trying to find a way to battle it.
I can't begin to imagine how completely devastating the writing of this book was, but it seems it was something the author needed to do in order to make some sense of the tragedy his family endured. While it isn't terribly written, it really feels like something that would be of great interest only to his family and friends, or perhaps parents who've seen their children go through this particular disease.
Overall though, the book was much more about a disease and much less about Damon, the boy who succumbed to it. Obviously, as a father, you feel that way about your son. And if the book was written differently, I may have thought he was a pretty exceptional kid myself. However, it seemed that every other page was the father telling us how no kid had ever done xyz as well as his kid, and how every person who met him was just completely flabbergasted that such a perfect person could exist.
It really made me wish that I could have pushed aside all the father's biased descriptions to really get a glimpse of who Damon was. I received this book through the Goodreads First Reads program, and I was initially pretty excited about it. As I continued to read though, it became obvious that I was going to have to write a mostly negative review about an incredibly personal book, and in the end I wish I just hadn't read it.
Unfortunately I cannot recommend it to anyone, because, for me, it really failed to do what it set out to do. Jun 01, Margaret rated it liked it. Just what I needed, I thought, a story about a vibrant teenager who dies too young, but then at the library the book popped off the shelf, so I took it home. First, I'll say it is a compelling read. Even though every reader knows from the start that young Damon Weber will die from his effects of his illnesses, one keeps reading through each step of the terrible decline of this child.
But that is not the only story here. The author, with whom one simply needs to sympathize because of his situation, turns out to be an arrogant man who squeals, not just at the horrors of the loss of his child who does not sympathize with him there , but that such horrors could happen to him, a man so privileged and important that the world dare not allow anything untoward to happen to him.
His son is clearly a gifted and spirited young man, but the father, that is another story. He is clearly full of his own importance, evidenced by his continual name-dropping and his constant attacks on others. As the head of some foundation, he is clearly used to having his enormous ego stroked by various people in the arts and sciences who need his support for their own work.
Yes, his son Damon seems to be a fine actor, and I am sure Damon worked hard on his parts in school plays. It is to Damon's credit that he takes on directing a play at school even though he is too ill to be in school all day. And yes he got a part in Deadwood, but that was due to his father's influence and connections, not his own brilliant acting.
The author does challenge the doctors who serve his son, and here one has to agree that it is the responsibility of the patient or in this case the patient's father , to do his own research and to make sure that care is going well. So many people have suffered at the hands of careless or overworked doctors; we do need to be vigilant.
But the author does not stop there. His contempt for others is also demonstrated when he allows Damon and Damon's friends to read through and mock grant applications of people seeking assistance from the foundation.
Where does Weber get the chutzpah to include this crossing of boundaries? And he is positively venomous about the rabbis who require more than one year's study in order to make bar mitzvah. Yes, Damon is bright and can learn his Torah and Haftorah sections quickly, but several rabbis apparently do not see a bar mitzvah as simply a performance, but as the culmination of some years of study and devotion to the Jewish religion.
The physics professor, Dr. Phineas Welch, has gotten himself slightly drunk and begins speaking with Scott Robertson, a young English teacher. Welch announces, "I can bring back the spirits of the illustrious dead. At first, Robertson treats Welch's story as an amusing, alcohol-induced fantasy, and he begins to enjoy the conversation.
Welch says that he first tried bringing eminent scientists from earlier eras— Archimedes , Isaac Newton , Galileo Galilei. Categories : American black metal musical groups Musical groups established in American death metal musical groups. Namespaces Article Talk. Views Read Edit View history. Help Learn to edit Community portal Recent changes Upload file.
Download as PDF Printable version. Add links. Thanks, Dad! But as we continue strolling up the avenue, I again ponder his unsprung height. If we are not exactly joined at the hip, we have more than the usual father-son bond connecting us. Damon is the oldest of our three children. For most of this time, he also was a sick child who required, and received, extraordinary love and attention from his mother, Shealagh, and from me.
Even after his sister, Miranda, appeared in , a healthier Damon remained the focus of our family, the pacesetter. He was born with a malformed heart, for no known reason. Most notably, Damon lacks a second ventricle like you and I have. His good ventricle, the left, pumps red, oxygen-rich blood throughout his body. But when the blood returns from his body to the lower right chamber of his heart—blue blood now because it has given up its oxygen—there is no second ventricle to pump it back into the lungs, where it can pick up fresh oxygen and expel carbon dioxide.
He was smaller and weaker than other infants and his gross motor skills developed more slowly. But his brain, his manual and verbal dexterity, and his imagination never lagged. By age four, Damon had undergone two open-heart surgeries, and the second operation, known as a modified Fontan, alleviated his problem.
He grew and scrambled back onto the growth charts for height and weight, even catching up to some of his friends. His color improved, his energy increased, and he became physically more active.
He is a tortoise, not a hare, but he is intrepid and takes delight in activity of all kinds, from karate and kayaking to soccer and skiing. Damon is in seventh grade now, attending the Salk School of Science in Manhattan, where he excels academically. He also is an actor who performs in every school play and then in more advanced theater workshops outside school.
When he spiffs up his unruly red hair and dons a dress shirt for the school dance, cruising the room like a confident young blade, he makes an impression. He outshines the taller boys because he actually dances and talks to the girls. He sees his cardiologist every six months and she marvels at his progress. I am keenly aware of all this as we walk together this afternoon.
We have lived through a protracted nightmare and survived to talk about it as a page from history, a backstory. I know all about patience and keeping your eye on the fundamentals. We turn into the wide embrace of Terrace Place, with the great park at one end, and walk up the front porch into our two-story brick house with its long driveway and small backyard that boasts a bona fide peach tree and a fig tree, our own patch of Eden.
The air is warm, with the slightest breeze ruffling the flag. Learn More in these related Britannica articles:. Chinese pottery: Marks and decoration on Chinese pottery. Qilin , in Chinese mythology, the unicorn whose rare appearance often coincides with the imminent birth or death of a sage or illustrious ruler.
History at your fingertips. This, if nothing else, will make you appreciate the growth and progression seen in this work, but ideally it will show you the greatness I saw in Immortal Bird years ago. Everything Is Noise is here to bring you music that you connect with, and provide a positive, accessible space to discuss this music in a open-minded community of fans and creators. The Everything Is Noise-Newsletter is currently in maintenance. The subscription box will be back soon.
Hit enter to search or ESC to close.Fenghuang, in Chinese mythology, an immortal bird whose rare appearance is said to be an omen foretelling harmony at the ascent to the throne of a new emperor. Like the qilin (a unicorn-like creature), the fenghuang is often considered to .