Knowing Jesse is actor and screenwriter Marianne Leone's passionate memoir of the 17 years of her life spent raising her son with cerebral palsy. Courage, joy, and sorrow permeate the pages within. Included throughout are selections of Jesse's poetry and photographs of him with family and friends. Though brief and sometimes challenging, his life was filled with love and accomplishments. Hardcover.
Jesse Cooper was an honor-roll student who loved to windsurf and write poetry. He also had severe cerebral palsy and was quadriplegic, unable to speak, and wracked by seizures. He died suddenly at age seventeen.
In fiercely honest, surprisingly funny, and sometimes heartbreaking prose, Jesse’s mother, Marianne Leone, chronicles her transformation by the remarkable life and untimely death of her child. An unforgettable memoir of joy, grief, and triumph, Knowing Jesse unlocks the secret of unconditional love and speaks to all families who strive to do right by their children.
Marianne Leone is an actress who appeared in The Sopranos, a screenwriter, and an essayist published in The Boston Globe. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband, actor Chris Cooper, and two rescue dogs.
The Jesse Cooper Foundation funds inclusion and adapted sports for children with special needs, and supports disabled orphans in Romania.
“An uplifting but never saccharine account of three brave people fighting for their humanity . . . A fine and moving book.”
—Steve Oney, Los Angeles Times
“Funny, fierce and illuminating . . . You have to get this.”
—The Boston Herald
“Jesse is an incandescent memoir, glowing with a mother’s love.”
—Tom Perrotta, author of Little Children
“This book will lift you up.”
—Ann Hood, author of Comfort and The Knitting Circle
“This book made me laugh and cry and then laugh again until I was crying with laughter. . . . This kid’s journey is one of a kind and so is this book.”
—Denis Leary, co-creator of Rescue Me
“Jesse is an important book for any parent to read.”
—Richard Russo, author of That Old Cape Magic
“So full of life and love and rage and grace it will fill the room where you read it . . . Sorrow and joy are found in the same breath, but grace abounds and justice triumphs.”
—Abigail Thomas, author of A Three Dog Life