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Liza is different. She can't talk. She can't walk properly. She's funny-looking and when she upsets people, which she almost always does, trying to bite or scratch them, we have to tell them it' s not her fault; that she doesn't understand. Sometimes I don't understand either.
This is the story of the Rice family, and of Liza, their severely mentally-retarded eldest daughter. It's a story about what it was like growing up in a large, rowdy household forever in the thrall of this unknowable, unreachable child. When she was small Cecilia always believed Liza would not survive to adulthood, that she would never be her 'problem'. But she did survive.
With warmth, wisdom and humour, Cecilia reveals how her family came to think of 'the Liza problem' as theirs and how, through the passing of time and a mysterious process of acceptance and forgiveness, their fears and resentment turned into fierce loyalty and abiding love.
This is more than a memoir about the difficulties, challenges and rare rewards that come with caring for a disabled child. Eloquently told, Always Liza to Me is an uplifting chronicle of how even the most mixed-up of families can teach us great lessons and inspire great love.
- Allen & Unwin, June 2009
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