I enjoyed reading about Cheryl Strayed's adventures on the PCT, and it was well-written, to a point. I found there was too much repetition. With a wom...moreI enjoyed reading about Cheryl Strayed's adventures on the PCT, and it was well-written, to a point. I found there was too much repetition. With a woman traveling alone, I had expected a bit more excitement, other than how many times she referred to the condoms in her possession. I certainly admired her courage and stamina! I also give her much credit for overcoming the heartaches in her life. (less)
I loved this book, but can't quite call it "amazing." The bravery of this father to be so open about his feelings and frustrations of having a son who...moreI loved this book, but can't quite call it "amazing." The bravery of this father to be so open about his feelings and frustrations of having a son who is a mentally challenged savant was quite impressive! The fact that Zach is also the twin of a "normal" brother made it all that more interesting. So many challenges in life for the whole family! My heart ached for both the father and son while reading their conversations during their trip across the country. However, it left me with hope for both. Bissinger is a great writer. (less)
Because I have a daughter who works with autistic children, I am often attracted to books about autism, or novels whose main character is autistic. Wh...more Because I have a daughter who works with autistic children, I am often attracted to books about autism, or novels whose main character is autistic. When I saw the title, “I Am in Here,” I knew I had to read this one! I have had the opportunity to spend time with one of these special autistic children, and one of my constant remarks is, “I wonder what is going on in his head.” I SO wish I knew! If I, as an acquaintance, feel this way, I can’t begin to imagine what it must be like as a parent, teacher, or caregiver. They are amazing people!
When I started to read this wonderful book, I was taken aback at how many situations were similar with Virginia and her daughter, as I had observed with the child that I know. However, after a few pages, I was surprised at how much I wanted to say, “You don’t know how lucky you are that Elizabeth is able to express herself on paper.” The fourteen-year-old boy I know can read simple sentences, write some words, and speak a few, but rarely expresses any feelings or thoughts of his own. It is nearly impossible to know what he is thinking. However, “lucky” is a drastic word to use about any child with autism. Breen’s descriptions of their lives is all too-familiar with other books I have read about this challenging condition - the trials of diets, foods, medicines, therapies, strategies, etc. Often a never-ending struggle to find success, in addition to the emotional stress of family and work.
I was also puzzled about why the mother kept referring to Elizabeth as nonverbal, when I have seen video clips of her saying a few words. Granted, they were sometimes difficult to understand, and she was not speaking in sentences, but I got the impression from the book that she could not speak at all. I was surprised that this was not included.
The most fascinating parts of this book were reading Elizabeth’s poems! Wow! I recognized and enjoyed some of her Dr. Seuss-style, and her thoughts were quite advanced, beautiful, and very inspiring! I am ready to copy several for reminders to myself! Whether you like the basic story or not, it is worth picking up this book just to read the poems!
This was almost a five-star book for me. (Is there a 4.75 star up there?) While I realize that it was focused on the relationship between mother and daughter, I felt it would have been helpful to have included more about the rest of the family, especially Ray’s role; and I wonder why Virginia seemed more concentrated on Elizabeth than on her son. I was happy to read about her “Gale Time” with her older daughter. Because of the time-consuming needs of autistic children, it is a huge strain on all family members!
The last few chapters addresses their faith in God and the power of prayer, which I'm thankful that they have, but I felt that the author drifted off to more on religion than I thought was necessary.
I hope Elizabeth keeps writing beautiful poetry and that it will be published for the world to enjoy!
This is a sample of one of my favorites: HAPPINESS Why do people say someday? Why not today? If you always say someday, You may never get to do the things that make you happy. So go out and be happy.
What a pleasant surprise of a book! Being a resident of Illinois, and living across the Mississippi River from the state of Iowa, the title alone intr...moreWhat a pleasant surprise of a book! Being a resident of Illinois, and living across the Mississippi River from the state of Iowa, the title alone intrigued me. I have visited Iowa City often and had read many news articles about the devastating flood of Iowa City, the setting of this memoir, so I was expecting the focus to be on that. While the flood and its damages acted as a background and metaphor of Joe Blair’s life, I believe the personal story of his life could have stood alone.
I was taken back by the author’s writing style immediately! Beautiful writing that sometimes made me laugh, cry, and cringe! He made me feel like I was peeking through his windows and sometimes enjoyed being there, and other times, not so much. I often wanted to shake both him and his wife, and say, “Don’t do that. Don’t say that.” I often wished I was reading a novel rather than a memoir. I don’t know that I’ve ever critiqued a book saying, “This was TOO realistic!” I admire his wife for still being with him after being so open about their relationship.
Several reviews I read stated that the readers had no use for Joe whatsoever. I disagree. While I greatly detest cheating, Joe had other qualities that I respect - his honesty, sense of humor, dedication to his work, and love for Michael and his other children. That he finally recognized his faults and weaknesses redeemed him in my opinion.
I hope Mr. Blair continues to write in some format - I love his style. (less)
When this book was first brought to my attention, I quicky headed for the library to check it out because of a friend's high recommendation. I know (o...moreWhen this book was first brought to my attention, I quicky headed for the library to check it out because of a friend's high recommendation. I know (or can now say knew) very little about the use of meth - only that it is very prevalent and easy to obtain. Written in first person from a father's point of view, there is a strong focus on how a drug addiction can affect a whole family as well as the user himself - the many successes and failure that repeated themselve over and over! Wow! It is really an eye-opener. So sad! In addition to the personal experiences, the author goes into great detail about the possibilities of how, why, young people may get started using, but sadly, there are no easy answers! He also explains that meth is one of the hardest to overcome, and named numerous programs that may or may not help. "Tough Love" and guilt guilt guilt - but whose? - kept popping into my head during the whole book. Sheff did a great deal of research, and there is a helpful bibliography at the end. The writing style may deserve a 2 or 3(much repetition and unneccessary info)), but I think the content deserves a 4.
This was a quick read, and very informative about the life of a Marine serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. It seemed to be an honest recollection of tend...moreThis was a quick read, and very informative about the life of a Marine serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. It seemed to be an honest recollection of tender and disturbing moments in the life of a soldier. It made the war "more real" than most news media reports. I was impressed by the courage and humanity of the military as well as the reporters involved. The writing style is a bit unusual, but I got used to it. (less)