Book Review: 'Immortal Bird' by Doron Weber

A heart-breaking new memoir.

By Elaina Richardson
Photograph: Bryan McCay

There’san aura of inevitability about Doron Weber’s beautifully written memoir, Immortal Bird (Simon & Schuster). Weber, the vice president of a prestigious New York foundation, tells the story of his eldest child, Damon, an aspiring actor, who had the great misfortune of having been born with a malformed heart. When we meet Damon, he is 12, and concerns about his health have governed the family dynamic since his birth: His mother, Shealagh, is the listener, attuned to her son’s fears and apprehensions; Doron is the researcher, channeling his and Damon’s frustration with the many varieties of medical incompetence they encounter. As the boy falters and the end approaches, so does a sense of the miraculous: Like the brightest stars, Damon’s energy consumed him, even as it galvanized others. It’s that luminosity, carefully expressed by a devoted father, that makes this memoir so transporting, despite its heart-wrenching outcome.

First Published January 3, 2012

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