The Juggler's Children: A Journey Into Family, Legend And The Genes That Bind Us

Hardcover | March 26, 2013

byCarolyn Abraham

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Carolyn Abraham explores the stunning power and ethical pitfalls of using genetic tests to answer questions of genealogy--by cracking the genome of her own family.
 
Recently, tens of thousands of people have been drawn to mail-order DNA tests to learn about their family roots. Abraham investigates whether this burgeoning new science can help solve 2 mysteries that have haunted her multi-racial family for more than a century. Both hinge on her enigmatic great-grandfathers--a hero who died young and a scoundrel who disappeared. Can the DNA they left behind reveal their stories from beyond the grave?
 
Armed with DNA kits, Abraham criss-crosses the globe, taking cells from relatives and strangers, a genetic journey that turns up far more than she bargained for--ugly truths and moral quandaries. With lively writing and a compelling personal narrative, The Juggler's Children tackles profound questions around the genetics of identity, race and humanity, and tells a big story about our small world, with vivid proof that genes bind us all to the branches of one family tree.

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From the Publisher

Carolyn Abraham explores the stunning power and ethical pitfalls of using genetic tests to answer questions of genealogy--by cracking the genome of her own family. Recently, tens of thousands of people have been drawn to mail-order DNA tests to learn about their family roots. Abraham investigates whether this burgeoning new science can...

CAROLYN ABRAHAM is the author of Possessing Genius: The Bizarre Odyssey of Einstein’s Brain, which was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award for Non-fiction. The long-time senior medical-science writer for the Globe and Mail, she is a four-time winner of the Canadian Science Writers’ Association’s annual award for her me...
Format:HardcoverDimensions:400 pages, 9.3 × 6.3 × 1.23 inPublished:March 26, 2013Publisher:Random House of CanadaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0679314598

ISBN - 13:9780679314592

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Reviews

Rated 3 out of 5 by from Accessible and Interesting I don't read a lot of non-fiction, but this was an engaging investigation into one woman's family history. Abraham's writing style is compelling and the science is accessible. I learned a lot about genetics, but it wasn't dry. A very interesting look into globalization and colonization and how it affects a modern family.
Date published: 2014-11-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A gripping read This is a magnificent book: I am in awe of the way that Abraham so deftly weaves together science, history, and memoir. Marvellously compelling.
Date published: 2014-01-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Juggler's Children It was an easy informative read - I couldn't wait to pick it up every night.  I even purchased an additional copy for a gift.
Date published: 2013-12-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from DNA sciene and a Family Legend The author has managed to make DNA understandable to the layman and interwoven the science with her own family story.  She used DNA testing to help answer many of the mysteries in the family’s rich and colourful history.  A story that anyone will enjoy reading particularly if interested in family history or in what DNA can or cannot tell us.      
Date published: 2013-12-10
Rated 3 out of 5 by from The juggler's children Detailed but confusing. Hard to separate which family grandfather the author was talking about. Possibly greater appeal to someone with a scientific background. Still insights on several occasions were interesting: Elizabeth Barrett Browning; the sub groups and categorizing of blacks in Jamaica; Kohanim group and their relation to the Brahims . There are others
Date published: 2013-08-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Jugglers Children A stunning read. Rich in detail, easily read. A detective page turner...and true
Date published: 2013-05-17

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Editorial Reviews

FINALIST 2013 – Governor General’s Literary Award for Non-FictionFINALIST 2014 – BC National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction LONGLISTED 2014 – RBC Taylor PrizeNATIONAL BESTSELLER “The Juggler’s Children is many things, each one spellbinding: a thrillerish quest for origins, a continent-spanning travelogue and an eye-opening foray into the annals and ethics of genetic science.... Abraham’s family is unusual, but so is her virtuosity as a writer; she’s probing, intelligent, dryly funny but enough of a writer’s writer that she can make the awkward process of DNA swabbing seem magisterial.... Abraham’s book is riveting not just because of its superb writing and suspenseful storyline, but because, in the end, it’s not just about her, it’s about us.” —Emily Donaldson, The Globe and Mail “With an irreverent sense of humour and the smarts of an experienced medical-science journalist, Abraham describes how questions about her ancestry had gnawed at her since childhood…. What her genes wind up revealing—about not only her own background but everyone else’s—is richer than any tall family tale.” —The Georgia Straight “Abraham is the ideal guide to the brave and crowded new world of internet genealogy.... Abraham writes with ease and humour, undaunted by com­plexity, and the narrative unfolds like a detective story.” —Literary Review of Canada “Abraham’s  story of personal connection—the stories, the letters and the memories—end up being more compelling than the scientific revelations.... The Juggler’s Children is a fascinating tale of truth, lies, perception and, ultimately, family.” —Winnipeg Free Press “Lively, accessible style.... Though this book is built around science, it’s the personal experiences and relationships Abraham describes that will remain with readers.” —The Gazette “The Juggler’s Children is as exciting as any explorer’s account of the discovery of a new land, as carefully written as a fine novel, as rigorous as it is entertaining.” —Ian Brown, award-winning author of The Boy in the Moon“The Juggler’s Children is simultaneously a compelling family mystery and brilliant science writing. As she cracks her own family’s genetic code, Carolyn Abraham makes the complexities of DNA and the genetic linkages that bind us immediately accessible.” —Dr. Miriam Shuchman, prize-winning author of The Drug Trial“Combining traditional journalistic digging with the cutting edge science of genetic genealogy, Carolyn Abraham takes us on a witty and engaging journey across India, China, Europe and Jamaica in search of her polyglot family ancestry…. In the end, she vividly demonstrates that inside the microcosmic gene pool of a single Canadian family—and thus all families—we will find the vast history of humanity. Whether princes or paupers, slaves or slave-drivers, we’re all the same under the skin.” —James FitzGerald, author of What Disturbs Our Blood, winner of the Writers’ Trust Non-Fiction Prize