“An exquisite memoir… A dramatic, step-by-step examination of what it means to sustain a life.” —Jennifer Senior, The New York Times

Winner of the Books for a Better Life Award

Washington Post Book Club Selection

Public Books Favorite Book

Featured on: PBS NewsHourMelissa Harris-Perry on MSNBC, NPR All Things Considered, WNYC Leonard Lopate Show, WHYY Voices in the Family, Australia’s ABC Radio National

Interviews and excerpts: The Washington Post, TIMEFortuneGood HousekeepingRedditthe GuardianBusiness InsiderReal SimpleSalonYahoo!

Amazon - B&N - iBooks - your local indie

WHEN her daughter was born nearly four months premature, Deanna Fei confronted a shattering question: Had she delivered a child or lost one? Over months in the hospital, as she held the hand of a tiny baby fighting for her life inside a glass box, she came to grips with parenthood at its most elemental. Then, a year after she brought her daughter home, the CEO of her husband’s company publicly blamed the medical bills of the beautiful, now-thriving little girl for a cut in employee benefits and attached a price tag to her life, setting off a national firestorm.

Girl in Glass is the riveting story of one child’s harrowing journey and a mother’s impassioned defense of human worth against corporate disregard. With luminous prose and an unflinching eye, Fei explores what it means to save a life: from the front lines of a neonatal intensive care unit to the perils of the American health-care system; from decades of medical innovation to the question of how we care for our most vulnerable; and finally, to the potent force of a child’s will to live. Above all, Girl in Glass is a testament to how love takes hold when a new life defies all expectations.


“Extraordinarily beautiful.” —NPR, All Things Considered

“The author has spun a profound work of philosophy and sewn it into the shell of an exquisite memoir… Ms. Fei, a novelist, conjures this episode of her life with such immediacy and vivid emotional recall that we experience her distress as our own… Enchanting.” —Jennifer Senior, The New York Times

“An impassioned, important book… [Fei] critiques the entire American health-care system. Yet this is not a fire-breathing polemic or a policy tract. It’s most effective, and affecting, as a mother’s memoir of how her life changed the day her daughter came into the world far too soon… Fei, also the author of the novel A Thread of Sky, is an eloquent stylist who writes with immediacy and honesty… She bares it all… Moving and persuasive.” —The Washington Post

“Everyone must read this book.” —Melissa Harris-Perry on MSNBC

"In this courageous and passionate book, Deanna Fei tells the story of delivering a medically fragile child at 25 weeks. Even those who know the outcome will be gripped by the novelistic depiction of oscillating hope and despair. But the real accomplishment of this book is that it takes memoir as a jumping-off point for pondering the obligations attached to scientific progress and collective wealth. In addressing the issue of how much a human life is ultimately worth, it becomes a deeply moving work of moral philosophy.” —Andrew Solomon, NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author of FAR FROM THE TREE

“Raw, unflinching, and beautifully written.” —Good Housekeeping

“Fei writes with precision, grace, and a devastating honesty… Exquisite [and] necessary.” —The Boston Globe

“Honest and clear-eyed… Mesmerizing.” —Yahoo! Parenting

“A heartbreaking yet beautiful story of motherhood and love… Fei is a gifted writer with a courageous tale to share. This memorable book belongs on the shelf of every library.” —Library Journal (starred review)

“Fei grippingly details her dread, anxiety, and wonder with her second-trimester delivery… An urgent call for corporate compassion by a woman with a baby in peril.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Fei’s sentences render her terrified emotional detachment with the excruciating clarity of the life-sustaining vitrine that gives title to Girl in Glass. Fei’s infant daughter plays the role of silent protagonist, leading Fei toward motherhood as the child grows into her own life.” —Public Books, “2015 Favorites

“Starkly, poignantly written, so smart and wrenching … I just had a truly visceral response to both the story and to Fei’s fierce, plain mother love throughout.” —Rebecca Carroll, The Millions “Year in Reading  

“Somehow finding immense bravery amid her turbulent experience, Fei has written a memoir, Girl in Glass… She’s able to construct a scene with just a few details and go straight to its emotional heart. Her writing immerses readers through intimate vignettes: the first time she was able to embrace her daughter; the daughter’s first feedings achieved painstakingly for months; her daughter’s first unassisted breaths… It’s amazing how she’s able to ask so many of the hard questions … about the value of one fragile human life. Anyone who recognizes or questions the idea that human life has a price tag will want to read this book.” —Hyphen Magazine

“In turns heartbreaking and haunting, Girl in Glass offers a movingly honest look at the ambivalence that sometimes comes with motherly love and underscores the public, historical, and political dimension of neonatal care. Fei’s courageous narrative invites us to observe the simultaneous uncertainty, fragility, and resilience of human life and urges us to question to social norms that shape our understanding of childbirth.” —Nan Ma, International Examiner

“We are given a story of social justice in survival: Deanna Fei and her family survive Mila’s 25-week birth and all that came with it. She took responsibility to tell this raw, honest tale and investigate our medical privacy rights in the process. It’s an act of bravery bound in these pages.” —Sarika Mehta, Intersections Radio

“The year’s best nonfiction may be Deanna Fei’s Girl in Glass: raw, heartfelt, important.” —Irish Literary Review

“Dramatic … Argue[s] eloquently against corporate greed and the bottom line of profit and loss.” —The Catholic Reporter

“One of 2015’s most moving and important books.” —Largehearted Boy

“Fighting back, Fei explores the value of a human life: from the spreadsheets wielded by cost-cutting executives to the notions of risk surrounding modern pregnancy. With finesse and fine prose, she exposes the extent to which our health data is routinely exploited by employers and others.” —Hannah Lee, Main Point Books, Bryn Mawr, PA

"Deanna Fei has written three gripping tales in one--her transcendent journey as the mother of a child born way too soon; her plunge into the harsh realities of corporate greed and bumbling when a certain CEO publicly labeled her daughter a 'distressed baby'; and her hard-won understanding of what society owes its most fragile beings. Readers will fall in love with Fei's daughter, and come to see that she is all of our children.” —Lisa Belkin, author of SHOW ME A HERO

"Luminous . . . An unflinching testament to the improbable miraculousness of life. This is an astonishing book, full of dark beauty and grace and a hard-earned integrity, one that will haunt me for a long time.” —Thrity Umrigar, bestselling author of THE SPACE BETWEEN US and THE STORY HOUR

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