October 2022 Newsletter

Dear Friend,

Last month, I stopped at CVS to pick up a script. My favorite pharmacist there has supported my writing since 2016 when I wrote a blog about a lovely conversation she and I had. She subscribed to my mailing list (Hi J!) and recently joined my book launch team. When J saw me at the checkout counter that night, she came over to say hi, to ask about my book, to say she couldn’t wait to read it.

Meanwhile, the pharmacy assistant was trying to get my name and date of birth while averting her eyes from the book conversation. 

I acknowledged her awkward position with a laugh. “Since you’re in on this conversation,” I said, “I may as well tell you I’m a writer. I have a book coming out next year.” I handed her one of the business cards I always carry. (see below) 

J leaned closer to her. “Be prepared–it’s a tear-jerker.”

“It is,” I said. “But the end is uplifting.”

The tech looked at the card and gasped. “I just lost a family friend to a brain tumor a few weeks ago,” she said. “I used to bounce her on my knee. I had lost touch with her, and when I found out, she was gone so soon.”

It was my turn to gasp, to touch her gently on the arm, to say how sorry I was.

“I’m definitely going to read your book,” she continued, “and give it to her family because they are really going to need something uplifting.”

Like many memoirists, I’ve wondered if anyone will care that I wrote my story, or if anyone will read my book. The CVS conversation reminds me that yes, the people who need to hear what I have to say will, indeed, find their way to my words.

Book excerpt for subscribers only

In my memoir, I write about the discovery, two years after my son’s brain tumor diagnosis, that I’m an HSP–a highly sensitive person–also called sensory processing sensitivity. I realize this personality trait had made the noisy, chaotic years of motherhood all the more challenging for me, and I wonder if I’d been sensitive growing up. A childhood scene comes to mind:

“School was out for the summer. My mother had plans for the day, so she dropped me off with a family friend.”

Thanks for being here.
All the best,


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 *Interested in joining my book launch team? I still have openings. Reply to this email and I’ll give you details. (Psst: It’s an easy-peasy commitment.)

A Mother, Her Son, and the Brain Tumor They Survived.

When her eight-year-old son begins to exhibit increasingly bizarre behaviors, a happily married mother of two must meet the overwhelming demands of motherhood and wrestle with her fear of conflict if she and her son are to survive. 

Forthcoming from Apprentice House Press, May 2023.

Karen is a happily married, slightly frazzled working mother of two when her eight-year-old son, Matthew, develops a strange eye-rolling tic. Gradually, her high-energy kid becomes clumsy and lethargic, her “Little Einstein” a gifted program dropout. Karen knows something is wrong. But she can’t get anyone to listen and lacks the backbone to crack the resistance. After three exhausting, desperate years, finally, an MRI reveals the truth: a brain tumor, squishing Matthew’s brain into a sliver against his skull. Following a delicate surgery, doctors predict a complete recovery. But the damage from the delayed diagnosis prolongs Matthew’s recovery, challenging Karen to grow in ways she never imagined. 

A fast-paced page-turner told with candor, insight, and wit, Growth takes you on a rollercoaster of painful truths and hard-won transformations.  


  • Karen DeBonis

    Karen DeBonis writes about motherhood, people-pleasing, and personal growth, the entangled mix told in her memoir "Growth: A Mother, Her Son, and the Brain Tumor They Survived" forthcoming in spring 2023. Subscribe today to receive Chapter 1: A Reckoning.

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