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photo by Mariel Kolmschot

Pia de Jong is a prize-winning literary novelist and newspaper columnist who moved to the U.S. from Amsterdam in 2012. Her memoir, Saving Charlotte: A Mother and the Power of Intuition, is her first book in English.

Saving Charlotte: A Mother and the Power of Intuition

Best-selling author Pia de Jong’s vivid memoir about her newborn daughter’s battle with leukemia and the startling decision that led to her recovery.

Video: Pia de Jong talks about the amazing story behind “Saving Charlotte”

When her newborn daughter Charlotte is diagnosed with a rare and deadly leukemia, Pia and her husband Robbert make a momentous decision: they reject potentially devastating chemotherapy and instead choose to “wait for what will come.” As the following year unfolds, Pia enters a disorienting world of doctors, medical procedures, and a colorful cast of neighbors and protectors in her native Amsterdam. Her seventeenth-century canal house becomes her inner sanctum, a private “cocoon” where she sweeps away distractions in order to give Charlotte the unfiltered love and strength she needs. Pia’s instinctive decision, now known as “watchful waiting,” has become another viable medical option in many cases like Charlotte’s.

This deeply felt memoir reveals the galvanizing impact one child can have on a family, a neighborhood, and a worldwide medical community. Vivid and immersive, Saving Charlotte is also a portrait of one woman’s brave voyage of love, of hope, and, in its inspiring climax, of self-discovery.

More about Saving Charlotte

Now Available for Pre-order

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Pub Date: July 11, 2017
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Sally And Pia

Pia de Jong is a well-known Dutch writer, now living in Princeton and writing for appreciative readers here in the United States. Her acclaimed family memoir, Saving Charlotte, tells of her newborn daughter’s battle with leukemia and the startling decision that led to recovery. De Jong will be in conversation with Sally Magnusson about their shared experience of writing intimate memoirs of family life and illness, and how their stories have had a far-wider impact.

Science March Eliane
Illustration by Eliane Gerrits

"What will my child’s world look like in 30 years?” That’s the resonant question asked by a speaker at the Mall in Washington at last weekend’s March for Science. She is under a roof. I’m not, and I am drenched. I look around. A girl is wearing a blue poncho on which is written, I wear this because science told me it was going to rain today. Next to me stands a man holding a hand-scrawled sign: Keep the oceans clean. On his chest, wrapped in a yellow towel, a baby licks the rain off his lips.

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Charlotte and Pia de Jong (Photo courtesy of Benoit Cortet)

Latino garden workers waiting to be picked up, suburbanites planning summer seaside vacations, young mothers scurrying from SUVs to Pilates class— in a story recently published in The Antioch Review, Pia de Jong nails the details of life in America. The Dutch native has only lived in the U.S. for five years, but so keen are her observational skills that shortly after arrival on American shores, the best-selling Dutch novelist was asked to write a weekly column about life in the U.S. for Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad.

Springsteen Eliane
Illustration by Eliane Gerrits

Along the streets near my childhood home in the Limburg region of the Netherlands are roadside chapels with statues of the Virgin Mary. The most devout Dutch will pause in these places of reverence to offer their Hail Marys before going on to work or to play. So, too, in Princeton and in many towns across New Jersey, roads are festooned with statues honoring the Garden State’s own patron saint. People press their fingers on these statues as if they are holy relics.

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It seemed like a great idea, to move from Amsterdam to another continent. My children would gain experience on the other side of the Atlantic, learn another language, taste another culture. But when I first heard my daughter sing “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee,” something unexpected happened to me.