An Unexpected Life

A Mother and Son’s Story of Love, Determination, Autism, and Art

By Debra Chwast Paintings by Seth Chwast

Diagnosed with severe autism as a toddler, Seth Chwast seemed trapped in his own insular universe. Despite his difficulties learning language and other social skills, he was remarkable. His raw musical ability astonished professional musicians. He delighted in roller-coasters and haunted houses. Yet even with the efforts of his parents, teachers, doctors, and therapists, the promise of this extraordinary boy was unfulfilled. Written by Seth's mother, Debra Chwast, An Unexpected Life: A Mother and Son’s Story of Love, Determination, Autism, and Art (Sterling / 9781402774034 / Hardcover / $33.95) tells the story of their long difficult path, and of her stubborn determination to help her son.

An Unexpected Life will strike a chord with anyone who knows the daily struggles—and triumphs—of a life with special needs, whether personally or through family or friends. More than simply a memoir, this visually breathtaking book is infused with hope, inspiration, and art. It shows how the power of love can challenge expectations and change lives—no matter what the odds.