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Little People: Learning To See The World Through My Daughter's Eyes    by Dan Kennedy order for
Little People
by Dan Kennedy
Order:  USA  Can
Rodale, 2003 (2003)

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* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Born in 1992, Dan Kennedy's daughter Becky was diagnosed with achondroplasia one of the many types of dwarfism. Trying to understand why this happened and how to best prepare Becky for a life of being different, Kennedy interviewed 'little people', researched the scientific data available, attended conventions and seminars, and then wrote this book.

Though the scientific data is overwhelming to the unscientific mind, Kennedy's intent is very clear throughout this poignant trip into the lives of little people - he expresses his very deep love for a daughter who has not yet, at the age of ten, comprehended fully what obstacles she will meet as she reaches adulthood.

Kennedy estimates there are 'thirty to fifty thousand people with some type of dwarfism living in the United States.' Apparently, up to two hundred different forms of dwarfism are known to exist. And, it seems, almost as many physical problems go hand in glove with such a diagnosis. The author estimates that the frequency of achondroplasia, Becky's condition, is somewhere between one in twenty-six thousand to one in forty thousand births.

Statistics aside, this is a moving book by a very concerned father, one who wants the best for his daughter. He writes with a silent plea that we, the general public, be kind and caring (while avoiding condescension) towards someone who is a little person. Apart from size, little people have the same drive and goals that the rest of us have, but their struggles are inevitably harder than our own.

This is a mind-opening book. Many myths are dispelled midgets are also dwarfs; mental retardation is not synonymous with dwarfism; a dwarf couple can have a normal sized child; a normal sized couple can have a dwarf child. Read it for yourself. Little People enlightens us about the challenges a dwarf faces in a normal sized world, while also sharing the wonderful love a father can have for his daughter.

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