Just wonderful. Dirda is one of my favorite writers and my favorite writer-about-books. His enthusiasm and joy in reading is delightfully infectious.Just wonderful. Dirda is one of my favorite writers and my favorite writer-about-books. His enthusiasm and joy in reading is delightfully infectious. I expected the book to be entirely about Holmes, but he discusses ACD's many other, less familiar works as well. Highly recommended!...more
This book sits at the intersection of many things that I love: modern British literature, McCall Smith, and books about books. It was a foregone conclThis book sits at the intersection of many things that I love: modern British literature, McCall Smith, and books about books. It was a foregone conclusion that I would enjoy it. I wish there were a little more discussion about the individual poems, but that just spurs me to revisit my Auden, which I suppose is partially the goal of this little volume....more
My feelings are always a little torn about books like this one -- the "autism miracle" memoir. I've read many, many of them and to me, as the parent oMy feelings are always a little torn about books like this one -- the "autism miracle" memoir. I've read many, many of them and to me, as the parent of a severely autistic boy, they can be both encouraging and hugely discouraging. It's great to see the enormous strides that kids can make with the right intervention. However, not all kids respond in the same ways to the same treatments. It is to the Fleischmanns' credit that they do not suggest otherwise in this book. Unlike some other books of its type, they do not evangelize for any particular diet, medication, alternative treatment, ABA, whatever ... They only explain what helped Carly. They don't make sweeping claims of "cures" that will work for any autistic kid. As a mom that has tried many of these "cures" with limited success at best, I appreciate that.
Part of the value of this book is the unsparing look it gives into the life of a family with a severely autistic kid, specifically one who is doing intensive ABA. The mysterious and violent tantrums, the sleepless nights, the broken furniture -- it's comforting in a way to know that there's someone out there who's living in the same chaotic conditions that you are. Fleischmann describes the social isolation these families endure on the one hand--you feel overwhelmed, afraid and just generally unwelcome when you try to engage in public activities with your kid--and the extreme lack of privacy on the other. Intensive home-based ABA and the necessity of homeschooling kids with severe behaviors means a constant stream of therapists, tutors, consultants and others in and out of your house, pretty much nonstop for years, and lots of times it feels like parenting by committee. I really, really appreciate that Fleischmann describes how exhausting and dispiriting this can be, instead of casting himself and his wife as Perfect Superparents. Again, it's nice to know that I'm not the only one who has felt this way. If you want to know what life is like for the family of a severely autistic and behavioral kid, read this book.
And then of course there is Carly. I think she will do a lot to dispel the idea that severely autistic individuals have nothing to offer the rest of us. And she gives neurotypical people valuable insight into what it is like to live with her condition. The fact that she began communicating with her parents at a relatively late age, and that it was a long process to get from those first few words to where she is today, is also encouraging. My son Sam is 12, and has limited expressive verbal abilities, but he is getting better at it, tiny step by tiny step. Thanks to his homeschooling and ABA program, Sam's behaviors have improved dramatically. I may never be able to have a conversation with him, but I'm not going to give up hope that his verbal abilities will get stronger....more
It's hard to put my finger on what disappointed me about this book. Partly, I felt the book dealt more with her personal growth than Bhutan. (Note toIt's hard to put my finger on what disappointed me about this book. Partly, I felt the book dealt more with her personal growth than Bhutan. (Note to self: You should have been tipped off by the subtitle, Laura.) There was something curiously lacking in her descriptions of the country and the people that made me feel I was hearing the story third or fourth-hand. ...more
Really, REALLY enjoyed this book by the older brother of Augusten Burroughs. Rare is the book dealing with the autism spectrum that I would recommendReally, REALLY enjoyed this book by the older brother of Augusten Burroughs. Rare is the book dealing with the autism spectrum that I would recommend wholeheartedly, but this is one of them. My younger son (who is 8 years old) has many traits of an Aspergian, and this book I felt gave me a little more insight into some of his more puzzling behaviors and habits. I'm really looking forward to reading Robison's book Be Different, which is more in the manner of advice than memoir....more