With an enormous, plastic back brace strapped around her torso, covering everything from just under her breasts to above her thighs, this 11-year-old Andover girl sought refuge from what she remembers as feelings of humiliation.
"The Andover Bookstore is where I went, where I would escape to," said Alyson Gerber, who was especially thrilled when the children's author Barbara Cooney visited and signed her book "Hattie and the Wild Waves."
"It meant so much to me...I was always there (at the Andover Bookstore)," said Gerber, who still has the treasured book.
Now 27 and living in Manhattan, she's a writer herself. Her experience growing up in Andover with scoliosis, an abnormal curving of the spine, is part of the newest Chicken Soup for the Soul series of books. This edition ($14,95) is called "The Magic of Mothers & Daughters."