CPN | More Than We Expected: A Conversation with Father and Author James Robinson


More Than We Expected: A Conversation with Father and Author James Robinson

November 20, 2023, 8:00 PM ET

Watch an archived recording of this event

It was a journey that parents hope to avoid: a twin son born with a congenital heart defect; a fateful decision to take a family trip abroad, and an emergency hospitalization stranding them – in the PICU and a friend’s home – on the other side of the world with no obvious way home; and all the while, living in the uncertainty that comes with a congenital, life-threatening condition.

But More Than We Expected is not a tragedy, which is why we at CPN love and recommend it. James’ lens on his family’s experience offers valuable lessons about the privilege of parenthood and the practice of medicine; the mysterious ways in which the body forms and grows, giving life; how we find a pathway to live with our decisions, even if the consequences are beyond our control; and our extraordinary capacity—when something goes wrong—to compensate and heal.

More Than We Expected is a story of finding strength in the most unexpected places. Our children have a special ability to reveal the goodness in the world—their eyes a window to a life full of wonder. Like them, this book is a vivid reminder of what it means to be human—a miraculous, inexplicable gift, however fleeting.

Our Panel

James G. Robinson

James G. Robinson has spent nearly two decades at The New York Times, where he helps the company use data to better understand its audience. He has taught expository writing at NYU and is currently an adjunct professor at Columbia Journalism School. In 2017, his article “Road to Recovery” was featured on the front page of the Times’ Sunday Travel section. Describing a road trip his family took after the death of his five-year-old son, the piece was translated into two languages, received scores of appreciative comments, and was selected as a notable essay in The Best American Travel Writing 2018. The strong response to the article inspired James to write More Than We Expected, detailing the many gifts of their son’s brief but remarkable life. For more information about the book, visit MoreThanaMemoir.com. A native New Yorker, James currently lives in Brooklyn with his wife Tali and their two surviving sons.