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Thorn in My Pocket: Temple Grandin's Mother Tells the Family Story

3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  325 ratings  ·  53 reviews
"A Thorn in My Pocket "is Eustacia Cutler's story of raising her daughter, Temple Grandin, in the conservative Leave-it-to-Beaver world of the fifties, a time when children with autism were routinely diagnosed as "infant schizophrenics" and banished to institutions. She tells of her fight to keep Temple in the mainstream of family, community, and school life, how Temple re ...more
Hardcover, 228 pages
Published October 1st 2004 by Future Horizons
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Eustacia Cutler is the mother of Temple Grandin, probably the most well known autistic adult of our time. I heard both Cutler and Grandin speak at a conference a few years ago and she did an excellent job. The book is not as well put together as the lecture was. Another reviewer at goodreads suggested that she missed an opportunity for better editing by publishing with Future Horizons and I find that an excellent point. The narrative skipped over great portions of her life with Temple and dwelle ...more
If you're looking for the secret to Temple Grandin's emergence from autism, you are not going to find it here. In fact, much of the book doesn't focus on autism at all--it is clearly the story of Eustacia Cutler, a fascinating woman in her own right, who just happens to be the mother of the even more fascinating Temple Grandin. Her story of autism, however, is one of determination--at a time when most everyone, including her own husband (but eventual ex-husband)--thought that Temple should be in ...more
I was really looking forward to reading this book. Temple Grandin is such an amazing and inspiring woman, add in the fact that she has autism, and she is simply astounding. I have read many books on the topic of Autism/Aspergers and all stories are different and unique in their own right. As someone on the Autism Spectrum I was really looking forward to reading about what Temple's life was like growing up. However I felt that her mother did not so much tell the story of Grandin, but more of her ...more
Although the reason I bought this book was because of the fact that Eustacia Cuttler and I both have a child with Autism, it ended up helping me in many more parts of my life. I appreciate her honesty into her feelings as she grows and matures. Her hindsight into her life is something that every woman can learn from. It is no wonder to me that Eustacia Cuttler was able to help create such an American Hero as Temple Grandin. I am now a fan of both.
As a mother of a young adult recently diagnosed with High Functioning Autism, this book was a must read! Now I know every person is different, and the you've met one person with autism-you've met just ONE person with autism--is the mantra, but Cutler's painting of family life-trials tribulations and achievements--made me feel better about the whole crazy diagnosis! A must read for any parent of a child on the spectrum
Jeannie Colling
Fascinating story of a young mother trying to raise a child with autism during a time when there was little to no medical understanding or community support--just a mother's instincts, and fortunately enough money in the family to make it work. Eustacia is a rather remarkable woman in her own right. This is a fascinating and helpful book on the subject of autism. Sort of reminded me of my mom, to tell the truth.
This is the first time since my son was diagnosed with autism that I've seen someone express what I've always believed, that autism is an exaggeration of the normal. Interesting that this statement came from another mother -- Temple Grandin's mother. This was an interesting read, though not terribly pulled together. Still it did hold my attention.
Brian Walker
"Think of me as your future," I tell them. "I am where you will be many years from now, when you know how it all played out, when 'what will be' has turned into 'what was,' and you will have come to terms with it."

"Perhaps not in the way you thought you would, but you'll no longer feel trapped in a morass of angst and guilt. You will have resolved your child's future and your own. You'll know you've given full measure, and the measure you've given has never been pointless."

"I offer you my story
Lisa Miller
This was a beautifully written book. Easy to read, quite enjoyable. The author who is Temple Grandin's mom is very open about their life. Anyone wanting to learn more about Autism/Asperger's Syndrome this is the book to read and own. I recommend this book highly.
What most readers who pick up a memoir by the mother of Temple Grandin want to know is: how did she do it? How did she parent Temple so successfully that she realized her potential against such tremendous odds? I wanted to know the answer to that question too, but I also believed that the woman who gave birth to Temple Grandin must also be pretty awesome. I was convinced that Eustacia Cutler’s own life story would be of value, and it turned out that I was right.

First, it’s important to realize t
Just finished this....on my Autism read-a-thon. A very good book from a parents perspective.
I have read about Temple Grandin and how she lives successfully with autism, so I thought this would be an informative read, and it was that. There is more about the author and her pursuit of the arts than I expected, but still the book gives insight into the family, though the omission of Temple's siblings (by their request) leaves some gaps. Temple's description of how she felt being autistic was "like an anthropologist on Mars." I think Cutler gave me a better understanding of those who don't ...more
Eustacia Cutler has a way with the profound. She says things that are simple, to the point and that people can carry with them. Parts of this book are so easily identifiable. Yet for much the book she appears to wander off topic. I'm not sure what the point was of the middle section detailing her life as a cabaret singer and actor. To me she came off as an intellectual elitist who enjoyed name dropping names the rest of us could care less about and recounting experiences that may have given her ...more
Jul 20, 2011 Susan rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone curious about autism, especially the history of society's understanding of it
Shelves: memoir-biography
Temple Grandin is the now famous autistic woman who created improved livestock handling systems. Since my niece and nephew are both on the autism spectrum, I was curious about Temple's history. The book kind of drags for the first 150 pages or so, but then the last 70 pages are where the more helpful information can be found. Ms. Cutler makes no bones about the fact that she had money and that this made a tremendous difference for Temple. Unfortunately, we don't know quite what was helpful, sinc ...more
I am rating this book five stars. I loved it, felt priviledged to read it, and am thankful that Eustacia Cutler shared her story.
I have read most of Temple Grandin's books and have recently seen the movie, Temple Grandin. Temple was the first child of Eustacia and Dick Grandin. As a baby,she was born in 1947, it was discovered that she was autistic. The doctors at that time called it infant schizophrenia. Not much was known about autism at that time. The book tells about the steps of this fami
Jul 10, 2012 Kate rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: autism
I had to re-think my original impression about this book. I was so turned off by Ms. Cutler's early chapters (it was hard to relate to someone privledged enough to have a European vacation with her husband and "find" herself as a night-club singer), that I started skimming the book. Whe I read the later chapters more carefully, I come to admire her in spite of myself. The documentaries she made about retarded children ("The Innocents") and later about troubled kids were ground-breaking. Her empa ...more
Julie Marie
Powerful book, written from the perspective of Temple Grandin's mother. It shares her insights, experiences, and struggles as an inexperienced mother. In spite of her critics, Temple's mother became an avid advocate for her daughter. Unwilling to accept many medical professional's advice, she refused to institutionalize her daughter who was diagnosed with Autism. Inspirational and indisputable proof that a mother's love and perseverance can leave an indelible mark on their child's life.
Julie Bird
Ever since I saw the Temple Grandin movie I have been so interested in her story! It is fascinating what the brain can do. I love her mothers persistence, her fight to help her daughter any way she could, her dedication to the research of autism. What a powerful mother she is!
Tracy Fry
This book left me with a deep admiration for Temple Grandin's mother. She is an inspiration and I think of this book often when faced with some of the challenges of raising children on the spectrum. I would highly recommend it.
Continuing my quest to learn about Temple Grandin, I read this memoir written by Temple's mother, Eustacia Cutler. Reading about Temple's early years from the perspective of her mother was most interesting. What a trial it was to raise a child like Temple, in the years when autism was thought to be the result of a "refrigerator mother." It is amazing to read how this mother followed her instinct and by chance did the right things for her unusual child. Temple attained a Ph.D, and has become a hi ...more
I had thought the book would be about a mother's story of raising an autistic child, in this case the well known Temple Grandin, but I found the book to be too much about the mother and her career and marital issues and not enough about what raising an autistic child was really like. A huge missed opportunity, in my mind, especially when considering the fact that autism was thought to be "infant schizophrenia" at this time and the recommended "treatment" was to put the child in a mental home. Li ...more
Eustacia Cutler is the mother of Temple Grandin, the famous expert on animal behavior and autism, and the subject of the HBO film that bears her name. Eustacia is also a wonderful writer and insightful autobiographer and researcher. This is a book worth reading if you seek inspiration to be a parent, an advocate for your children, or a better informed person on the subject of autism spectrum disorders. If you are seeking some additional perspective on Temple Grandin's life and on autism, you wil ...more
Insightful, real, helpful view of parenting an autistic daughter before the word 'autistic' existed.
It was so interesting to hear the Temple Grandin's mother tell her story of raising a child with autism.
We watched the HBO special on Temple Grandin, an autistic genius who is an expert in cattle handling. This is her mother's memoir. There is no self-pity in this book and in some ways the book is about how she lived her life beyond the challenge of raising a child with autism in the 50s / 60s. Sometimes she is too hard on herself, but the book is an honest portrayal of some of the struggles she went through as a mother and wife. In terms of writing, it meanders a bit and is not great literature, ...more
I admire Temple Grandin for all her accomplishments. So when I found out that her mother wrote a book about the family story I decided to read it. A very young Eustacia married a much older man who had family money and social standing. He had fits of rage and insisted that Temple was retarded and should be institutionalized. Not much was known or understood about autism in the 50s and 60s, but Temple's mother was able to get some good advice and expensive schooling that helped Temple learn her w ...more
An interesting, touching and painful read. Worth your time and emotion spent. Highly informative on many levels. Inspiring and thought provoking.

Highly recommend to anyone who deals with those who are autistic or likewise emotional handicapped. Highly recommend for everyone else as well. See some scientific parallels with how those who are dyslexic and of similar learning styles/handicaps think and see the world.

Some intense scenes, not suitable for those under 12-10 years of age.
Some people I talked to didn't like Eustacia's attitude but I found it amazing that she fought like she did to assure that her daughter might find success. I think this book could inspire mothers of children with disabilities to pursue all means of finding success for their child. Eustasia was tireless in pushing for Temple to find success. Wish I had read it years ago - maybe I would have done more with my own children who were all without any disabilities.
I was very interested to see how Temple Grandin's mother had the courage to deal with Temple's autism. But there was very little about the early years and this was something of a disappointment. It did help that the Grandin family had the financial resources to send Temple to good, special schools. I applaud Temple's mother for her courage and fortitude as she had minimal (except financial) support from her husband.
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A Thorn in My Pocket: Temple Grandin's Mother Tells the Family Story

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