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Tilt: Every Family Spins on Its Own Axis; A Novel
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Tilt: Every Family Spins on Its Own Axis; A Novel

3.53  ·  Rating Details  ·  199 Ratings  ·  40 Reviews
Elizabeth Burns crafts a stunning debut novel, filled with luminous, wryly humorous and wrenchingly honest prose.
As a successful young urbanite, Bridget Fox experiences the typical joys and struggles of youthful New Yorkers, and she has happy expectations for her new family. But when her daughter Maeve is diagnosed with autism, Bridget's life as she knew it and her idealis
Hardcover, 275 pages
Published December 31st 2003 by Sourcebooks Landmark (first published March 1st 2003)
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Jan 19, 2014 Sharon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you've ever wondered about that Mom or Dad standing in line at the grocery store with you, the ones with the kiddos in a full meltdown, read this story. Take a trip inside a typical day, week, month, year, LIFE of a family in which only one parent is capable of holding everyone together, and her descent into mental illness and all that came after.
Honestly, I have to tell you that this book is so worth reading. It is a relatively short story but so incredibly real and true to life that it was
Jun 06, 2008 Erica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very quick read -- if at times overwhelming and exhausting (the things the narrator has to deal with, not the prose!). I thought it was fairly daring to address, which such honesty, both autism and multiple mental health issues in one story. I have to say, though -- I really do not like discussion guides in the backs of books. Their observations are always insipid, at best. And their prompts for discussion, really just embarassing. Can't people just talk about what spoke to them, and what didn ...more
Nov 10, 2007 Alexia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely loved this book. By no means will this be the case for the general population. It mirrored so many aspects of my life and resonated so clearly with me. I was thrilled to read a work of fiction in which the character with autism (and the family)was severely impacted by the daily challenges of living with the diagnosis. A splendid read that I did not find depressing, but I am quirky that way. I found it genuine.
Esther Bradley-detally
Tilt was on the shelf of the bookcase in the Women's Room, and while women wrote, I scanned titles. It just looked interesting. A mild statement after finishing this amazing story. Jacquelyn Mitchard, author of The Deep End of the Ocean, says it best, [Burns] hurls the reader with the force of gravity into Tile and never once lets go." It's about autism, but oh so much more.
Jun 22, 2008 Caitrads rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
woman is dealing with autistic child, then hubby diagnosed bipolar and she ends up in the looney bin. a little too much going on to be believable for me.
Jan Fournier
Jan 09, 2015 Jan Fournier rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was exhausting to read, but yet beautiful and real. Maybe I will say more later, but for now I just need to let it sink in for a bit...
This is a very honestly written book by a mother of a child with severe autism. My mom worked with the family, and she's a character in the book!
Apr 19, 2011 Kady24 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It was ok...nothing to love about it. About a mother coping with an autistic child and a bipolar husband among other things.
Feb 10, 2011 Vanessa rated it liked it
I picked this book at random from the library. I don't usually read such intense books because they make me upset. I can't imagine having to live a day in Bridget's shoes and it makes my stomach queasy and my heart hurt to even begin to understand what it would be like.

On a lighter note, I loved the Minnesota references. I absolutely loved this, "...but really I was just afraid of the highway again, the merge, when you might think someone is going to let you into the traffic lane but come on, w
Wisconsin's#1VikingsFan! B.A. Ward
The timeline of this book was everywhere. While some authors can transport the reader back and forth in time, this author failed! Example: friend died, but fifty pages later the protagonist is talking to the friend...wait I thought she died, did I miss something? Also: near one-hundred pages in the protagonist is talking to Hugo...who the heck is Hugo...I had to skim the beginning of the book because he was mentioned once. The story focuses on a chain smoking chimney, alcoholic, manic-depressive ...more
Jun 23, 2008 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having a child with Pervasive Developmental Disorder, reading this book left me with a lot of thoughts of "oh thank god, that wasn't me", as just as Bridget Foxx, the mother on one neurotypical child and one with Autism, it is so difficult to do it all and stay sane. And anyone would break under the kind of pressure she dealt with, and I was so grateful that my load was never like hers. Having said that, this was an excellent book. Well written, easy to read, despite the heavy topic. You want Br ...more
Jun 13, 2008 Tamara rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Favorite Quotes:

More wishing things were other than they are: That I could hush myself into a stream.

And one book that I love says that we create hell by wishing that things were other than they were.

Does God get mad? Really mad? Because if so, then I can start to believe in God again. But if God is complacent, then I am mad as hell.

Maybe if you knew how much something was going to hurt, it wouldn't count as pain. If you knew how long you'd feel the ripping, the long, long tearing, it would jus
Sarah B.
Nov 07, 2015 Sarah B. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-library
I loved this book. I felt like it expanded my understanding, but it was also well written and compelling. I know it is fiction that is informed by the author's own experiences, but I kept wishing the author had written a memoir instead of a novel. Possibly that is my shortcoming and not the book's. Recommended.
May 11, 2016 Brenda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Elizabeth Burns' debut novel takes you inside a family where tragedy strikes many times over. How does a person deal with all of the horrible things that happen? The author takes you into the mind of a woman trying to manage an unmanageable situation. Perhaps there is hope?
Apr 21, 2015 Tracy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just WOW! And some "there but for the grace of God go I". I think this is a very honest portrayal of how overwhelming having someone with behavior problems in your family can or could be to the caregiver. I'm glad that the services worked out, i bet this is rarely the case?
Brandon Beacham
Jan 10, 2013 Brandon Beacham rated it really liked it
This novel was nowhere close to a feel good read. I had to make sure I was in no good mood while reading it. Even if I was the author wouldn't let me keep it.

The story is pretty basic in subject matter. It follows a mother named Bridget through her difficult family circumstances. Primarily, Bridget's eldest daughter Maeve is the major factor in her life.
Bridget's husband is an manic depressive artist that is in and out of the mental hospital and Maeve is autistic and at times violent.

The novel
Feb 06, 2014 Alicia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mental health and coping when everything goes wrong - a bit of a downer, but interesting.
Dawn Stanton
Apr 02, 2012 Dawn Stanton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
this is a book i just grabbed off the shelf in the library...knowing nothing about it whatsoever...and it has touched my soul. a lovely, sorrowful, tale of a wife and mother dealing with more than any one person can with the mental illness of her husband, and the autism found in her daughter. it sounds overwhelming, which it is, but the author writes in such an honest and open way that you can't put the book down and cry when you reach the end. i will remember this book, found accidentally on a ...more
Feb 13, 2014 Taryn rated it really liked it
I don't think i've ever cried more while reading a book, not during the Red Tent, not even while listening to Angela's Ashes on audio--while driving no less... This is an amazingly touching and well-written book by an award winning poet. It was just really, really difficult to read without taking breaks for weeping. (Luckily i finished it in a day.)
Elizabeth Davis
Jan 06, 2013 Elizabeth Davis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
From my 2010 journal: I just finished that Tilt book, by Elizabeth Burns. It's about a family coming to realize that their oldest daughter is autistic and it was just really, really intense - and written in a first person narrative that felt like a conversation. Very intimate and it had me crying a lot, probably because I'm a mom now or something.
Jul 28, 2008 Kate rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was about a woman with an autistic daughter and a manic depressive husband. Ouch.

It's an interesting point of view - written in stream of consciousness style - and I found myself tearing up at more than a few parts. But it left me a little cold, probably because I couldn't really relate. I don't have any children, let alone an autistic child.
Genevra De Mond
Oct 12, 2008 Genevra De Mond rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Definitely a good read, especially if you're interested in psychological novels. Written by the mother's point of view, Husband is an artist who has emotional problems and together they have two daughters, the elder who is autistic. I highly recommend it. Having known families like this, I actually found a large part of it believable.
The main character deals with autism, mental illness, death simultaneously. Not exactly an uplifting read! But several moments when I couldn't put it down and was glad I invested time in it. Somewhat an autobiographical book for the author. One of those books that reminds you how life could ALWAYS be worse!
Elisa Gusdal
Apr 20, 2008 Elisa Gusdal rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who has ever cared about a kid
Another amazing local author. Even though I hate Lifetime movies and this is slated to be one...I think this will touch the hearts of anyone who has known a kid like this. The decisions made in this book would tear anyones heart apart! What an amazing woman! What is love? When do you let go? Or should you?
Jul 21, 2008 Peggy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adultfiction
“Wow. Heart-breaking and funny and real. The characters seemed so real to me. It is about autism and mental illness and motherhood and love and survival. It's about having to make impossibly hard choices and never really knowing if they were the "right" choices or not.
Sep 27, 2009 Heather rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a book that gives a true glimpse into the life of a family with a child with a Pervasive Developmental Disorder. I think it is a great eye opener and truly helped me in working with families' with children with disabilities.
Kim Lunsford
Apr 06, 2011 Kim Lunsford rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is about an overwhelmed woman who is dealt her share of adversity. A first novel by a poet, I must assume the author is writing from experience. Sorry to the guy next to me on the stepmill who had to hear me blubber at the end. :)
Oct 20, 2011 Cass rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I doesn't matter at all that the plot of this story goes almost nowhere because her writing is both beautiful and touching. I forced myself to put the book down after every chapter so that I could savor her words.
Aug 19, 2008 Vandrion rated it liked it
About a mother of 2 whose oldest daughter is autistic. The book was well written but very depressing, not exactly the happiest book to start my summer off with but I'm glad I read it.
Oct 08, 2008 Gina rated it liked it
There were some good things about this book, and Maeve was an interesting character, but I didn't like the narrator much as a person so it was hard to like the book much.
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