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Samantha Abeel
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My Thirteenth Winter: A Memoir

3.68  ·  Rating Details  ·  789 Ratings  ·  189 Reviews
Samantha Abeel dreads school, and begins having anxiety attacks. In her 13th winter, she finds the courage to confront her problems--and is diagnosed with a learning disability. Slowly, Samantha's life begins to change again, and she discovers that she is stronger than she'd ever thought possible. Young Adult.
Published by Turtleback Books (first published November 1st 2003)
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May 05, 2011 Mcvane rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dyscalculia
Basically, this is a memoir of a special flake that lives on the edge of a town called Pityme.

Please note that this is not a review. Rather, it's an initial reaction:

I may be biased as I also have dyscalculia (I can't count one to ten backwards nor could I make heads and tails of my bank account). After some forty pages, I so badly wanted to kick the book to curb, but I persisted. Did it pay off? Yes and no.

I do realise it's her story, but I simply couldn't relate. Well, I did relate to some
Oct 08, 2011 Andrew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: teachers, special education students, all students
Shelves: self-help, memoir
I found this book in my classroom when I came back to New Mark Middle School this summer. It struck me as something I would want to read, and I have to say my first impression was right. This book is amazing. It is a memoir. In it, Samantha Abeel tells her story of dealing with a math learning disability called discalculia.

Abeel was considered a bright intelligent young girl, but she struggled with basic math concepts; telling time, adding and subtracting basic numbers, counting money, etc. Bec
Jun 23, 2011 Natalee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
From the jacket flap:
Have you ever had trouble figuring out a tip at a restaurant? Or following directions to a new place? For Samantha Abeel, who has a math-related learning disability called dyscalculia, each of these seemingly simple acts can feel next to impossible.
In her beautiful and haunting memoir, Samantha Abeel describes in evocative detail how her life was affected by her learning disability before and after she was diagnosed. In seventh grade she struggled wit the pressures of junior
Nov 19, 2007 Celeste rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: teens, teachers
Shelves: 2007
I wanted to like this book, and I did within the first 50 or so pages. I guess I should lay off memoirs for awhile. There's a self-importance that just irritates me. I find myself wanting to scream at the narrator to "just get over it already!" and "to get help, dude."

Ok, this book was an interesing peek into the life of someone dealing with a learning disability. As a teacher, I found it intriguing, and it made me wonder how many of my own students are living with undiagnosed learning disabilit
Mar 27, 2009 Kristen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009, non-fiction
The author is gifted in writing, public speaking and creativity. Because of that she masked her LD issues until 7th grade. She has a learning disability that limits her in logical and process thinking. She can name numbers and math signs, but can't tell you how to do an operation. She can't easily look at her day or week and know if she has enough time to accomplish the tasks she needs/wants to do. Oh and she has depression and perfectionism.

It is a good book. It was fairly well written. Her po
Feb 03, 2008 Lucy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was a complete surprise for me. A few weeks ago, my mother sent me an email which included a beautiful quote from this book. It was about being a writer, and my mother was paying a compliment to me in regards to my dedication to blogging. Interested in reading the book where the quote came from, I found myself reading about a very bright girl whose world collapsed around her as she struggled through her elementary school years with an undiagnosed learning disability.

Samantha Abeel was
Krista Stevens
Figuring out that you have a learning disability and then trying to live with that is a challenge for any young kid. Samantha Abeel is extremely descriptive and honest as she describes what it was like as a young child and up through middle trying to learn and failing before she was diagnosed with dyscalculia - a LD that makes it difficult for her to tell time, figure out how long things might take, how grammar works, etc. Thanks to a diligent mother who encouraged her as well as found creative ...more
Lin Lin
A remarkable memoir by Samantha Abeel confirms my belief that children with special needs can do amazing things in their lives if they receive the appropriate support to accommodate their learning disabilities. Samantha has dyscalculia, a learning disability that affects her ability to tell time, sequence events, and conduct mathematical operations. Despite her challenge, she graduated from college and became a successful writer. Her disability became her unusual and rewarding gift.
Sep 15, 2007 Melody rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This memoir by a young woman who has a disorder called dyscalculia felt claustrophobic to me. It taught me some things about bright people who have a hard time with math and maps and telling time, but for me, dwelt too much on the sadness and alienation Abeel felt. Also, it's hard to fill out a 200-odd page memoir when one begins at age 13 and ends with college graduation.
The main character of this book is Samantha and she has a learning disability. She acts normal and nobody else sees her as different, but she doesn't feel normal. Most of the setting is at school. The conflict is her trying to see that she is a normal person and be okay with her learning disability. The rising action is when she is going to college and trying to handle all of her stress and anxiety by herself. The climax is hen she keeps feeling sick and has too large of a work load at college a ...more
I read the book My Thirteenth Winter by Samantha Abeel. The main character Samantha has a hard time in school especially in Math causing Samantha to have anxiety, to eat less, Depression, and panic attacks, and Samantha and her family don't now know why this happening. Samantha gets tested by her school and finds out she has a learning disability. The rest of middle school Samantha was in special math class, but when Samantha goes to high school her math class wasnt has helpful as her middle sch ...more
This book is about a girl named Sam who has a learning disability. The conflict is that she struggles so much in school that she doesn't know what to do. The rising action is when she gets put into a special math group. The climax is when Sam get to college that she thinks is perfect for her. The resolution is she finally comes true to herself and admits that she does have a disability and that she needs help.

I would rate the book a 3 out of 5. I would recommend this book to others because it g
Nov 03, 2011 A_B_B_Y rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a book I read over the summer that I did not need to write a review for.
Chasity Russell
Curricular Connections: I would use this book in a class with older kids and I will talk to them either in groups or one on one about something they’re struggling with or something that they’re curious about. Then I will have a activity/lesson where all students will write a poem or create something that reflects and deals with what they’re feeling inside. It will be a stress release activity but it will also be fun for them to do and hopefully they’ll learn something from it. This lesson will h ...more
Autumn Skowrenski
Oct 27, 2015 Autumn Skowrenski rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Autumn Skowrenski
My Thirteenth Winter by Samantha Abel
Genre: A memoir

Samantha Abel tells the miraculous story of her life with a math related learning disability. She did very well in all of her other classes, so her parents and teachers couldn't understand why she couldn't grasp the concept of math. So, she is kept out of advanced classes and remedial classes. This book tells the tale of her life before and after being diagnosed with dyslexia and her changing as she got older. By seventh grade
Apr 11, 2015 Victoria rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-nonfiction
As a person that has never struggled with a learning disability, nor have I had close friends who suffered from even diagnosed ADD, I found Samantha Abeel's memoir to be an eye-opening experience. While every education class I've taken always had a brief section on LDs, never did it seem as detrimental to a student's learning as Abeel made it sound. I completely understood when she wrote about struggling with math, but the inability to understand the concept of time blew my mind. Throughout the ...more
Habiba Kabbaj
“My mom had heard from my teachers that I struggled with arithmetic, but it was not until one night during my second-grade year when we practiced with flash cards that she witnessed the reality of my disability for the first time.” (Abeel.16) My Thirteenth Winter, written by Samantha Abeel is a memoir describing the author’s adolescent years with dyscalculia, a severe brain disability, making it impossible to do mathematical calculations. Throughout her elementary school years, Abeel finds it ea ...more
Nov 28, 2014 Ranyabelmaachi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jill Chomowicz
Really Amazing.

Well written - this memoir reads like fiction. Eye opening. What an amazing woman.

I was going to say very 'realistic' - but of course it is realistic - it really happened, it is Samantha's real life. However, few authors would be able to depict their experience with such 'realism' - such description that one is drawn into her life and can feel what she feels.

1) Well written -- very well written (amazing poetry!)
2) Story - fascinating, true life, well described, well laid out, well
Caroline Benson
This book is a true story about Samantha, the main character, who has a rare learning disorder. Throughout the book, she talks about her struggles with math and other basic skills that people her age know how to do (i.e. telling time). Also, Samantha has panic attacks almost every night which prevents her from hanging out with friends overnight. She becomes very distant from her friends and becomes extremely lonely. Everyday is a new struggle for her.

I like this book, but it definitely isn't my
Jun 21, 2014 Trina rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
From Dyscalculia "Affects a person’s ability to understand numbers and learn math facts". The author poetically expresses what its like to not understand the world of math, time and currency. She experiences so many ups and downs and a long journey of discovering she has a learning disability, accepting it and living life with it. It is a lesser known disability that really should receive more attention, look how children who are tested and identified as ...more
Jill Crosby
Samantha Abeel, like many other people, suffers from a learning disability tagged "dyscalculia" where the patient has difficulty mastering abstract concepts like time, location, symbolic value (e.g. Money), etc. having been so inflicted myself, I was eager to read about the everyday struggles Abeel went through in achieving her epiphany that "I've mastered this problem, and here's how I did it." While she was able to articulate her feelings of inadequacy in the face of required math, science, an ...more
Morgan Gilmore
Mar 05, 2014 Morgan Gilmore rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Samantha Abeel has a lifetime of experiences and stories she has shared with us through the memoir, My Thirteenth Winter. We get to hear her story from first grade through college and how she chose to handle it. Abeel has inspired many and has left a mark on our world.
“Sometimes a challenge can be an inspiration.” Sam was diagnosed with dyscalculia, but not until her thirteenth winter, not until she already knew she was different. Throughout school she started to realize that she couldn't spell
Sydney Prescott
Jan 23, 2014 Sydney Prescott rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My Thirteenth Winter is about a girl, named Sam, who was born with a learning disability. As she goes through life, she has many hardships; learning to read and do simple math skills is one of them. She gets tested to see if she qualifies for a lower level class but her scores were not low enough. She tries so hard to adapt to this LD but its too much for her to handle. Her social life takes a dive and she isn’t eating as much as she should because she gets horrible stomach aches from anxiety. ...more
Dec 19, 2009 Ari rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoed that "Sam" gave us a feeling of being almost in her life with her. I don't believe myself to have an LD, but I did have an IEP until it expired in my 8th grade year for math. It really can be hard to try and fit in in this world, when we are basically taught so well as to follow and be like everyone around us...I am glad that she was able to finally understand that that is part of our system and we all can get past it! I hope all is well for her now too.
I am doing prety well mys
Dan Rogers
May 04, 2012 Dan Rogers rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
hen Samantha Abeel began kindergarten she looked and acted like any typical student, willing and eager to learn. As she progressed through the early years of school she gained a reputation among her classmates and friends as being a very intelligent child. Yet, inside Samantha didn't feel so. Yes, she knew she was smart in writing, but why couldn't she get it, like all her friends when it came to math? As she saw her friends easily understand seemingly easy things like addition, subtraction, and ...more
Hannah M
Hannah M
Block C
My Thirteenth Winter a memoir by Samantha Abeel. The book is about a 25 year old woman telling her story and how she struggled with dyslexia. Throughout the story she starts off with herself as a child, how everyone saw her as a perfect straight A student with no struggles or issues. In Kindergarten she was a bright student with a great attitude, with great friends. As she got older she changed into being socially awkward, and only showed her bright side at home. First gra
May 23, 2013 Bailey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teen-drama
My Thirteenth Winter A Memoir by Samantha Abeel is the best memoir I have ever read. I have not read a lot of of memoirs but this is one I will read again and again. It is a very good at telling you what happens in her life and not boring you at the same time and that was really amazing to me. In this book the main character Sam has dyscalculia that really controlled her life until she fights to get herself in special education class. Most of her teachers disagree but they do get her in. Before ...more
Apr 08, 2015 Rose rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fic, ya, skimmed
This is a childhood memoir written by a woman who has a learning disorder (dyscalculia, which affects one's ability to tell time, count money, and follow directions) and, throughout her childhood, an anxiety disorder. It is the latter with which I have personal, first-hand experience, and I spent the first half of this book intrigued and amazed by how much of my personal experiences with panic attacks she seemed to be recording on the page.

The second half of the book suffered, for me, because th
Taylor Terriberry
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Samantha has a degree in English from Mount Holyoke College and a Masters in Social Work from the University of Michigan. First published at the age of 15, her book, Reach for the Moon won the 1994 Margot Marek Award for best book on the subject of learning disabilities, the Distinguished Book Award from the International Reading Association and was named Best Book for Teen Age by the New York Pu ...more
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“In seventh grade, false feelings and false faces are the rule.” 10 likes
“We all come unique packages with strength and weakness, and somewhere there is a precious gift in all of us” 7 likes
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