Book Review: “Redefining Normal”

Redefining Normal

How two foster kids beat the odds and discovered healing, happiness and love

By Justin and Alexis Black

Justin & Alexis Black, 2020, ISBN: 978-1-7345731-3-8, 285 pages, $16.99

Only 2% of the population publishes a book, and only 3% of former foster youth graduate with a four-year degree. Justin and Alexis Black have accomplished both, and they share their individual foster care journeys and how they’re creating a new life together in their new book “Redefining Normal.” Throughout the book, they share stories about their individual experiences in foster care, relationships with their families and romantic relationships, and how they’re working to battle the scars of those experiences to rewrite a different story for their lives.

The pair met through Western Michigan University’s Seita Scholars program, which supports youth in college who have experienced foster care. From there, they forged a relationship, ultimately getting married in 2020, but each step has been challenging as they worked to create a relationship that looks starkly different from those in the families they grew up in.

“Redefining Normal” is a really nice read that helps the reader understand the experiences of youth in foster care and how difficult it can be to overcome those early childhood experiences. Justin and Alexis do a good job of highlighting how they have had to make deliberate choices and work through their individual traumas to build a different life for themselves.

— Reviewed by Kim Phagan-Hansel

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