Susan Biggar was less than vaguely prepared for motherhood. When it came early, her son was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. As maternal instincts kicked in, so did a steep learning curve on chronic disease and a whole new relationship with the medical profession. Biggar’s narrative steps neatly away from cloying sentimentality or the maudlin. She’s a practical American who married a New Zealander and came to live all over the world – complete with two children with CF. She tell tales of medical systems and doctors, of happy, growing offspring, and of her ability to keep her faith, despite noxious responses from fellow church-members when she terminates a CF pregnancy. It is a very different memoir which points out that no one quite knows the way life will turn out. Four stars.

— Samela Harris, The Advertiser, 20 September 2014

According to the author, living with cystic fibrosis is like living with an earthquake, never knowing when the condition is about to erupt. Biggar uses the comparison with experience of both living near California’s San Andreas fault and the battle her family has fought with two of her children dealing with the effects of the debilitating illness. “From the outside we look reasonably normal … underneath our family’s little world the ground rumbles and shakes, occasionally shocking us with its force,’ she says of her battle to tame the problem. Based on her traumatic experiences, now Melbourne-based Biggar advocates a more patient-centred health system after feeling “powerless and frustrated”.

— Martin Stevenson, The Examiner, 20 September 2014

This is a lovely book, so easy to read and such an endearing and honest view into ordinary, but amazing lives. This family lives life with realism, humour, honesty and equanimity – really making a triumph of what, to most, would seem a tough hand of cards. At the same time experiencing a very normal, slightly tumultuous, daily life in many contrasting places. It offers some great insights into the benefits and drawbacks of healthcare approaches in different countries – and the consumer experience. Unforgettable reflections on French hospitals!. It creates a great sense of place across the globe. Travel, healthcare in exotic locales, and adventure rolled into one! It’s a beautiful book. Read it now.


Beautifully written and important.