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Immortal Bird

Immortal Bird

A Family Memoir

  • reading group guide
A searing account of a father’s struggle to save his remarkable son from a rare heart condition that threatens his life—“a powerful and lyric portrait of a son and a vibrant family” (Toni Morrison).

Damon Weber is a brilliant kid—a skilled actor and a natural leader at school. Born with a congenital heart defect that required surgery when he was a baby, Damon’s spirit and independence have always been a source of pride to his parents, who vigilantly look for any signs of danger.

Unbowed by frequent medical checkups, Damon proves to be a talent on stage, appears in David Milch’s HBO series Deadwood, and maintains an active social life, whenever he has the energy. But running through Damon’s coming-of-age in the shadow of affliction is another story: his father Doron’s relentless search for answers in a race against time.

Immortal Bird is a stirring, gorgeously written memoir of a father’s fight to save his son’s life.
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  • Simon & Schuster | 
  • 368 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781451618075 | 
  • February 2013
List Price $16.00
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Immortal Bird by Doron Weber

A searing account of a father's struggle to save his remarkable son from a rare heart condition that threatens his life.

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Read an Excerpt

Immortal Bird Chapter 1


I am walking up Prospect Avenue with my twelve-year-old son, striding side by side along the mottled sidewalk, when it strikes me he has not grown for a while. I look across at him. Damon’s head—that flame-red, leonine head—still falls below my shoulders, roughly where it had reached the previous year. He is so... see more
Immortal Bird Chapter 2


A perfect spring evening at Yankee Stadium. The air is warm, with the slightest breeze ruffling the flag. The baselines and foul lines are stamped in fresh white chalk.

I have taken Damon and two of his closest friends, Kyle and Keith, to a night game against the Boston Red Sox. The stadium is packed, the fight songs... see more
Immortal Bird Chapter 3


When the morning of his hernia operation dawns, we tell ourselves it is a routine procedure, but with Damon’s medical history, nothing is routine. We envy all our friends who freak out over their kids’ colds.

On the ride in, Damon and I discuss a new play I’m supporting with Alan Alda playing the Nobel... see more

Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Immortal Bird includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Doron Weber. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.

Introduction

Damon Weber was born with a malformed heart. By the time he was four years old, he’d had two open heart surgeries. The second, an operation known as the Fontan procedure, seemed to solve his circulatory problems. But eight years later, teenaged Damon begins to experience new and puzzling issues. He’s diagnosed with a protein imbalance called PLE, a condition that occurs in approximately 10 percent of children who have had the Fontan operation. All of the Webers’ attempts to manage the condition come to nothing, and they make the weighty decision to put Damon up for a heart transplant—an operation that should both cure his protein imbalance, and eliminate all of his cardiovascular health problems. But in a wrenching reversal of expectations, an infection caused by the transplant costs Damon his life and the Webers their son.

Immortal Bird, written by Damon’s father Doron, takes the reader through Damon’s life, revealing a strong and talented boy who, despite enormous odds, lived a lif see more

About the Author

Doron Weber
© Harvey Wang

Doron Weber

Doron Weber was born in Israel, grew up in New York, and was educated at Brown University and Oxford. He has worked as a newspaper boy, busboy, waiter, and taxi driver and is the coauthor of three published nonfiction books and various articles. For fifteen years he has worked at the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, a nonprofit that supports science and education.

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