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A Wild Ride Up the Cupboards
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A Wild Ride Up the Cupboards

3.59  ·  Rating Details ·  481 Ratings  ·  71 Reviews
Edward is nearly four years old when he begins his slow, painful withdrawal from the world. For those who love him -- his father, Jack, and mother, Rachel, pregnant with their third child -- the transformation of their happy, intelligent firstborn into a sleepless, feral stranger is a devastating blow, one that brings enormous ramifications not just for Edward and his pare ...more
Kindle Edition, 288 pages
Published (first published August 23rd 2005)
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Feb 01, 2009 Jenni rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I chose this book because I belived it to be the story of a family and their struggles dealing with an autistic child. I can relate to this topic so I was interested in reading it. It ended up being a lot different then I expected.

First of all, the child is not autistic. This makes a big differance in how the child is treated and the possibilities for his future. For example, since they can't diagnose him, there is a possiblitiy of there being a cure. Secondly, the book is not really about a fa
Oct 14, 2011 Marie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction

I love the title of Bauer's debut novel. It is a term used to describe the protagonist's uncle and the way his older brother would play with him until he died suddenly of scarlet fever.

At the center of this book is Edward, a boy who begins to withdraw at age four. His mom, Rachel, and dad, Jack, try to figure out what is happening to seems like autism, but it isn't...and they resort to extreme lengths to try to help him.

Rachel also discovers that
Jul 04, 2008 Robin rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
Highly disappointing, especially considering how wonderfully written Ann Bauer's columns are on and which provide much of the drafting of this story. Bauer's use of a literary device of alternating between the narrator's present-day circumstances of a young marriage to an ultimately inappropriate man, coping with a child "somewhere on the scale of autism", and two other, younger, children; and the story of the narrator's uncle who (may) have suffered a similar developmental and emotion ...more
Ellie Contursi
Nov 01, 2012 Ellie Contursi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was one of those books where you think 'what else could happen to this poor family'. A really poignant story of a family's struggles with a child who was never really diagnosed with a syndrome or disease. Edward is a healthy baby and toddler but when he turns 4 he devolops autistic-like symptoms but does not have autism. This is the story of how the parents cope with such a frustrating, odd and curious 'syndrome'. Ann Bauer is an excellent writer. I also loved "The Forever Marriage" her mos ...more
Meghan Dymock
By the end of this book I was scanning the pages to just get the gist of it. If I had to hear one more time about how tall Jack is (six six) or how large his hands are I would have screamed. It started out great but by the end I was wondering what the point of the book was....Maybe it was to tell me how tall Jack was? I ended up frustrated with the way the characters seemed to never get anywhere other than where we knew from the beginning: Jack was a drifter hippie who would leave his family. Bl ...more
Dec 05, 2012 Brian rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book started out out as a possible 5 star, then quickly lost stars as I went through it. The premise is that a child may or may not be autistic. The story is told through the eyes of the mother, but contained flashbacks to a relative who also may have been autistic. I ended up realizing about 100 pages in that I didn't care at all about the flashback character, nor did I end up caring about the main characters as well. I did enjoy this author's writing style however.
Mar 14, 2010 Laurel-Rain rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a fictional chronicle of one family's struggle—to discover what is causing son Edward's strange withdrawal that began at the age of four, and what, if anything, can be done to correct/cure his problems.

Throughout the story, narrated in the first person by the mother, Rachel, we peek into their world, from their courtship and unusual beginnings as a couple, followed by their almost perfect life as a young family until one day when their world turned upside down.

We accompany them to d
Beth Peninger
Jun 14, 2011 Beth Peninger rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I got through this book much faster than I anticipated. At times you almost forget it is fiction as Bauer's descriptions of Edward's "disability" and how it affects his family makes it feel like it is a memoir and not a novel.
Rachel and Jack have a beautiful son who one day, very suddenly, becomes a different person. He withdraws, quits speaking, etc. All very symptomatic of autism and yet it isn't. This book is the story of Edward's effect on Rachel and Jack as parents and as spouses. In the m
Feb 21, 2012 Sue rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a great book that addresses what it's like to have a disabled child and how frustrating and difficult it can be to find the right treatment and education for him. Doctors are stumped, friends and relatives do not understand and the school system is anything but supportive. Desperate parents will do desperate things and the consequences of Rachel and Jack's choices will change their family forever.

I could empathize with Rachel's deal with God. At one point, a doctor suggests her son mig
Diane Ramirez
Aug 24, 2008 Diane Ramirez rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all mothers, single mothers, and anybody with family members that don't quite "fit in"
Recommended to Diane by: Entertainment Weekly
I don't think I've read anything by before (she's written for Salon, I believe Atlantic Monthly, and other publications) but this book really wowed me and made me want to read some more. A Wild Ride Up the Cupboards is apparently a novel version of her personal experiences raising a family of three, including one son with autistic tendencies. It's a beautifully written, poetic, yet oftentimes nightmarish look into ways that families with atypical children have to struggle to remain functioning l ...more
May 13, 2009 Janet rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: autism
I liked this book a lot. I grew to appreciate the writer's style, that at times seemed like flat reporting to me. But, the character of the narrator in the story is a reporter and from the mid-west; also the story involves autism, so it's really cleverly appropriate. This character describes the puzzle of autism from the perspective of an autistic person's devoted imperfect advocate; someone who can focus on the person within, and interpret the obvious confusion as best they can, which is imperf ...more
Priscilla Andreiev
Aug 01, 2016 Priscilla Andreiev rated it really liked it
Compelling, but slow going

A very realistic view of the slogging work of marriage and child rearing, complicated by the heart wrenching obstacles of a disabled child. This book tells the story of two boys from different generations who have undiagnosed mental/psychological disabilities from early childhood and the terrible struggle the boys themselves and their families face trying to achieve some level of normality. One step forward then two steps back is the theme throughout most of the book. T
While reading this book I experienced many emotions, and found myself feeling sad and upset by the end. So I have to conclude that Ann Bauer is a powerful writer who conveys her stories with impact. The subject, autism or something very much like it, is difficult for everyone. Most of us know someone in that world. As devout readers, probably a lot of us spend more time in our own minds than our families would prefer. If we have families.

This novel presents a tug of war between a mother who want
Apr 02, 2012 Eugenie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Whew! What this Mom and Dad went thru to reach their son who had a condition similiar to autism. It's a really warm story of family life and devotion, without being sappy, it's too realistic for that. Yet, it still manages to make you feel what these people are going through and the ups and downs of ordinary life. There are no heros or villians here, no great struggles between good and evil--unless you count ordinary people fighting for the ones they love in mundane tasks and circumstances. Not ...more
Esther Bradley-detally
Reminds me of a line or perhaps a title by Anna Ahmatova, "I was meant to have another life" or something like that; Wow, what a rollercoaster ride, and what courage, love and compassion.I don't do summaries of books I noticed on Goodreads, but give my feelings. I am on a reading curve, and despite that i teach creative writing, dog sit, go to racial justice groups, and promote the oneness of mankind, I have my days where at night I just hunker down and read. I am a memoir addict, a writer, and ...more
Aug 27, 2008 Meghan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm not sure what I was thinking when I decided to read this book, but it is extremely well written. I had an erie chilled feeling when I finished it like I had been living an alternate life and was relieved to find myself safely back in myself again- something I consider a testament to the author's skill. Anyone with young kids shoudl expect to fid this book unsettling, but I didn't find it disturbing the way I did _My Sister's Keeper_.
Mar 01, 2010 Whitney rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyed this - a moving book about one family's bout with autism. Autism can take many forms and this book is not solely about the autistic child, but also about the father, who has issues with staying in one place and one job. The only problem I had was with the "backstory" about the uncle, Mickey, whom I could never fully identify with or engross myself in his story. That part I think the author could have done without.
Gregg Martinson
Good start, and moments of real clarity. What happens to family dynamics when a child is diagnosed with autism(or something mysteriously like autism). There are points of pure truth. Unfortunately, the story is of the woman and it looses touch with the narrative of the child as it devolves into a woman's view of divorce and some unmotivated behaviors. Really a good concept, just needed a stronger editor.
Oct 10, 2012 Pat rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ann Bauer takes her readers into the heart of a marriage and allows them to experience the frustrations and challenges of dealing with a child who is "different." The fact that their son cannot be classified adds to the frustration and also to the hope that his parents have. I am now an Ann Bauer fan because she made me feel what it was like to be Eddie's mother and Jack's wife. She did in this novel what other author hope to do, and she did it was empathy and grace.
Grace Gardengatelock
Every parent with a kid that seems a little off and goes to denial city needs to read this. Every parent who thinks they can fix things alone, needs to read this... Every marriage that struggles with caring for a child with special needs must pick this up... every mother who feels like they are alone caring for an atypical child... is not alone.
Oct 18, 2013 Linda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club-choice
This was Betty's Book Club choice. I'm sure I would have stopped reading it if not for the upcoming discussion. As it was I had to force myself to continue, hoping it would get better but it never did. At least 25% of the book could have been removed, which is a shame since the subject matter is important.
Jan 30, 2011 Suzanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a treasure of exploding details of domesticated living. Shadowing the early years of a passionate marraige into a morphing synergy,Ann Bauer makes the mundane seem significant and the bizarre seem normal. Additionally, it is a supportive read for parents of challenging children and people living in challenging relationships.
Jan 28, 2008 Christina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: autism-lit
I found this book to be a compelling and poignant story about a family's journey into neurofibromatosis (if I remember or surmised the dx correctly.) It was well written, well paced and I found myself to be quite sympathetic to it. At the time, I certainly could identify with the Mom in the book and her quest to understand her son's difficult behaviour, and therein lay the appeal for me.
Jul 30, 2012 Jackie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An unconventional family watches as their 4 year son descends into autism (or something like it). As they struggle to figure out what his withdrawal is and how to help him it ultimately strains their family and their marriage. A compelling drama that poses questions about how much sacrifice is worth destorying a marriage.
Anne Bauer's ability to convey the raw emotions of her characters to the reader is incredible. I have never personally experienced the difficulties & life-altering situation of having an autistic child, but Bauer's novel allows the reader to understand a bit more of this 'secret world' through her incredible talent as a narrator.
Dec 17, 2007 Denise rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Yes!
I loved this book! It was amazing to see how Rachel and Jack handled Edward. It really makes you think how you would parent an autistic child and what lengths you would go to to make things better for him.
Nov 28, 2013 Carol rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked the book even though it was not what I thought it would be. I thought there would be more of a story of the boy and his unusual behavior. Instead it was more of a family investigation story. It was well written though.
Jul 14, 2016 Susan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Since a large part of the book focused on the past family history, I had hoped they would find some link to their son's disability. This book was all over the place and ended with a lot of unanswered questions.
Apr 23, 2007 Dana rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bauer's story of a family coping with their child's descent into autism is honest and affecting without being self-pitying. But as the book progresses, the story grows tiresome, recycling mundane scenes while glossing over more drastic turns in the plot.
Jean Haberman
Dec 06, 2015 Jean Haberman rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club
Edward starts withdrawing at four years old and family tries everything to get him back. Hope for children with problems. Rachel is a strong mother and Jack is a dad with problems of his own. Not recommended.
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Seven years ago, during a very tough time in my life, I took a job in advertising. I'd published one novel. I'd written a second but had given up on its ever selling (it eventually did). My adjunct teaching contract was up. So I decided to change my life, go to work for the Man and see what that was like.

I was 40 years old. And going into advertising at 40 is like becoming a ballerina at 29... The
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