The Water Giver: The Story of a Mother, a Son and Their Second Chance

The Water Giver: The Story of a Mother, a Son and Their Second Chance

“How does one raise children to be the best they can be, instead of the best of who you want them to be? Former San Francisco Chronicle sports columnist Ryan (Little Girls in Pretty Boxes) wrestled with this question for most of her adopted son Ryan’s life, never quite feeling as if her mothering instincts fit the boy she loved. His early childhood diagnosis with sensory integration dysfunction gave her analytical side a roadmap of therapies and teaching tools, but the heartbreak of watching him struggle endlessly in school and at home left her emotionally exhausted and unsure of herself. Then their lives changed: after falling from his skateboard just blocks from their home at age TK, her son suffered a traumatic brain injury that left him unable to walk or talk, requiring multiple complex surgeries and months of rehabilitation. Her story of supporting him through this experience, with expert medical teams and tremendous aid from family and friends, is a testament both to her stamina and to his strength. Given the perspective that sometimes only a crisis can bring, Ryan learns to forgive herself for the smaller struggles of her son’s earlier years, to take each day’s challenges as they come and to trust herself to be the only mother that he needs.’’ – Publishers Weekly.

“We have to admire Ryan for tackling these topics. It is one thing to live through the experiences as they occur; it is quite another to re-create them honestly and effectively. And though the story Ryan tells is unique…the themes of love, grace and redemption that run through her discussion are ideas with which we can all relate.” — San Francisco Chronicle

Review in Chinaberry Books, 2010.

Review in Washington Centerville Public Library “Fine Print” blog, August 21, 2010.

Review in The News-Herald (northern Ohio) “The Book Club” blog, January 11, 2010.

Joan Ryan at the California Media Workers Guild authors’ panel.

Non-Fiction Best-Sellers List as of October 25, 2009 compiled from Book Passage and Depot Books book sales. Marin IJ.

Watch Interview with Joan Ryan on WGN-TV, Chicago, Illinois, September 23, 2009

“The good mother”, a feature story in the Pacific Sun, December 11, 2009.

San Francisco Chronicle’s “50 Notable Bay Area Books of 2009”.

Review in speak softly… by Vicki Forman

Watch Interview with Joan Ryan on “The View from the Bay”.