Monday, November 12, 2012

Love Anthony

Love Anthony
by Lisa Genova

Lisa Genova is a fiction writer who has the educational background to write about the subjects she chooses. And of course she researches her topics extensively, too.  Her first book about Alzheimer's and her second book about brain injury both related closely and personally to my life and helped me feel more compassion and understanding.  Love Anthony is about autism and I don't have any experiences relating to it, but I trusted this author to pull me into a story involving autism and finish once again with more compassion and understanding.  She didn't disappoint.

In this case, the story was less about the condition and more about the effect of it on the world outside it, parents, family, friends and strangers.

The story starts without revealing a whole lot about autism.  In fact I wondered as I turned page after page if it was really going to invest much in the subject at all.  I was following the lives of two different women wondering where the story was going to interconnect.  Ms. Genova is a good story teller and I was involved in the book, so please don't think I was disappointed.  Eventually, one of the women starts to write a story from the perspective of a young boy with autism.  It was fascinating as she described his life from his view.  He was indeed a happy child who, in his own way, was much more involved in the world around him than it appears from the outside.

There is so much more to this book than I am going to even touch on.  Not just the effect of autism on a family but other stories of relationships and struggles, boiled down to the four most important things, to feel wanted, loved, safe and secure (I think that was the last thing..?) I really appreciate Ms. Genova's attempt to bring understanding for what it is like in Anthony's world.  And lest you think she assumes she got it perfect for all children with autism, I will paraphrase a quote from the book:

Once you've met a child with autism, you've met just one child with autism.

The spectrum of this condition is long and varies greatly from person to person. 

Five shots of five for one of my favorite authors.

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