Reading at Changing Hands Bookstore — Phoenix
Sharon read from Forget They Were Ever Born and facilitated an audience discussion on February 11, 2020.
The BookLife Prize — Critic’s Report — February 2020
This unflinching and inspiring memoir explores the historical mistreatment of individuals with intellectual disabilities deemed “defective.” Movingly, Flanagan-Hyde recounts her personal experience as the sibling of one of these individuals, who was sent away from the author’s family as a toddler into a life of neglect and abuse.
In even, narrative-driven prose, Flanagan-Hyde writes vividly of her childhood, conveying circumstances as she remembers them—and as she came to understand them through the wisdom of hindsight. She takes an original approach to the traditional memoir. Her work tells both her own story as well as that of her sister, Mary Jean, whose experience of abuse, neglect, and discrimination also drive Flanagan-Hyde’s personal and professional decision making into adulthood. She bravely tackles a painful history, both of her own family, and of the system that—perhaps unwittingly—mistreated marginalized and vulnerable communities.
More than fifty people gathered for the Forget They Were Ever Born book launch on November 21, 2019 at Ability 360 in Phoenix. My thanks to the Arizona Autism Coalition and The Arc of Arizona for co-hosting a lively event. The Coalition team included Ann Monahan, Board President, Diedra Freedman, Secretary/Treasurer, Mary Wetherell, Marketing & Special Events Director, and Isaac Kiehl of Digital Sunrise. Also thanks to Jon Meyers, Executive Director of The Arc of Arizona, and all who attended.