Caught between science and the heart, a couple finds themselves faced with a modern moral crisis.

Each day leading up to the April 16 announcement of the Minnesota Book Awards, we highlight one of the thirty-two finalists. Today, we feature 2011 Memoir & Creative Nonfiction finalist:

Carrier: Untangling the Danger in My DNA
Bonnie J. Rough


An excerpt from an interview  with Bonnie J. Rough :

“This book has a story in it that’s the journey of making a very hard decision, and learning how to turn off the noise that comes from outside and listen to that tiny voice somewhere on the inside.”

As Bonnie J. Rough and her husband consider becoming parents, their biological legacy haunts every decision. A carrier of the genetic condition hypohidrotic ectodermal dysplasia, or H.E.D, Bonnie begins a journey to uncover the complicated details of her family’s past. Initially, H.E.D appears to be just a superficial condition resulting in thin hair, a strange facial structure, limited number of teeth and the inability to sweat. However, the story of Earl, Bonnie’s grandfather, reveals how infections, drug dependency and breathing problems controlled his life. Caught between science and the heart, Bonnie and her husband find themselves faced with a modern moral crisis – and one that ultimately reveals the eternal tension between past and future.


Bonnie J. Rough has taught at The Loft Literary Center and this is her first book.


“Bonnie Rough’s account of her own journey toward having a family is beautifully juxtaposed with the story of her forefathers.  Lyrical, artistic, and imaginative writing and structure tease out the details of what it means to be healthy.” – Minnesota Book Awards Preliminary Judge

Carrier took its tension, honesty, humor and disorder and made me cry. Twice. Hard.” – Minnesota Book Awards Preliminary Judge

“Bonnie Rough has crafted a memoir like no other: lyrical, investigative, haunting, and tender, all fueled by a powerful imagination and fiery intelligence unlike any other in the literary cosmos. Carrier is boundary-busting nonfiction at its finest. This is a book I will not only recommend widely but teach for years to come.” – Robin Hemley, author of Do-Over!

“There are many things to praise in Bonnie Rough’s deeply felt memoir, in her report from the brave new world, but most striking are her compassion and her wisdom as she navigates the harrowing choices, the complex choices that medical technology allows us.” – Jane Hamilton, author of When Madeline Was Young


Author Bonnie J. Rough discusses her memoir Carrier: Untangling the Danger in My DNA on KOMO News in Seattle, WA.

How much do you want to know about your baby even before he or she is born? And are you prepared for the decisions knowledge can bring? Listen to Bonnie on the Good Enough Moms podcast, July 26, 2010. Innovations in genetic and medical technologies enable prospective parents to know more than ever before about the potential life prospects of their future sons and daughters. But that knowledge sometimes brings with it difficult choices, from how much you choose to know to how you will act on that knowledge if you have it. Author Bonnie Rough joins Marti & Erin to talk about her experience as a known carrier of a rare genetic disorder, a story with something to say to us all.

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November 13, 2010: 4th Annual Mother Words Reading: A Bonus Podcast from Good Enough Moms & The Loft Literary Center

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Award winners will be announced at the 23rd Annual Minnesota Book Awards Gala on Saturday, April 16, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, in downtown Saint Paul. The opening reception begins at 6:30 p.m.; followed by the awards ceremony at 8 p.m. Tickets are $45 and are available by clicking here or calling 651-222-3242.

Have you read Carrier? What are your thoughts? We welcome your comments!

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