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Love is the foundation of family, but at what cost? After Ben Novotny is born with a rare chromosomal disorder that produces profound mental disability and brain-racking seizures, his parents, Caroline and Perry, and their two other children are asked to give more than they have. When Ben is an infant, the care and the fear are constant. The demands and pressure only mount when he and his older brother and sister become teenagers. Ben needs even more from his family, just as Hugo, the athlete and the "good soul", and Ivy, the ambitious rebel, must carve out their own identities. Over the span of decades, this deep and understanding novel follow each family member, Perry and Caroline, Hugo and Ivy, as their lives diverge. In Degrees of Difficulty, grace is found amidst heartache, love finds a way after loss.