Excerpt from The Boy Who Loved Windows by Patricia Stacey, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Boy Who Loved Windows

Opening the Heart and Mind of a Child Threatened With Autism

By Patricia Stacey

The Boy Who Loved Windows
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • Hardcover: Sep 2003,
    320 pages.
    Paperback: Oct 2004,
    320 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

I stepped backward and tried to understand what was happening. Why had he acted as if he were falling when he was on perfectly solid ground? I was concerned I might have injured him without knowing it but wasn't sure if I should feel guilty for the injury or feel hurt myself, for having been rejected. I had tried to go where I wasn't wanted. I tried to reason that Walker's birth had been three weeks early. Doctors didn't make much of it, but perhaps he was premature in ways I didn't understand.

When Walker awakened, later that day, I stood above him, watching. He gently looked up and I had the sense for the first time he might be trying to smile at me. From such moments, I was able to keep worry at bay for days, or at least hours.

Remember. Be patient. Boys are slower. He will show himself, in time. Anyway, if time wasn't for growing up, what was it for, then?

Yet by the time Walker was four weeks old, concern about his moods--was it possible for a baby to be in a depression?--or even concern about his feelings for me, seemed a luxury, a preoccupation too precious to be concerned with. His breathing, which in the first days had rattled a bit, grew so labored that he could barely sleep at night. He startled himself awake just to gather breath, seemed often only able to sleep between gasps. We called our HMO constantly and visited often. The doctors insisted there was nothing seriously wrong.

During this period, I became concerned about sudden infant death syndrome, which, in recent years, had been associated with respiratory failure. Convinced that Walker was a candidate, Cliff and I kept Walker in bed between us. (Books had argued that if there was no "crib," there would be no "crib death.") I elevated his head on my arm, taught myself to wake up if the spells of holding his breath lasted too long.

Walker didn't relate to us much the winter he was two and three months old, yet he was so uncomfortable, who would expect him to? Still, I wondered why he was so weak-seeming. His head was like a pumpkin weighing down a thin vine. The doctor said he was "perfect."

The way I describe our worries suggests that we were wringing our hands constantly, making doctors' appointments at every turn, feeling hopeless. I did call the HMO many nights because Walker couldn't breathe, and I knew something was wrong, yet most of our days were routine, everyday. Walker nursed, Elizabeth came home from preschool. We attended holiday parties. The larger issues were often overshadowed, obscured by day-to-day responsibilities--the phone ringing, cleaning and laundry. Those bigger questions: When does the soul enter the baby? Does it evolve with growing awareness? Is the soul born at conception or when the body is born? What is the key to the mystery of relationships? How do you know a baby? How do a mother and child come together without language? Answers, or even the reason I might be pondering such heavy concerns, were difficult to pin down-smoke blowing away in the wind.

Moreover, during this time I was beginning to wonder about my own life: I'd had a second child. What would I do in two or three years, when the baby was more independent? Would I continue to teach, or write more?

Still, in spite of our worries, Walker was a sweet baby--especially charming in sleep, when his face softened and his tiny red hands, usually clenched, opened a bit to show a lifeline. In spite of his strange poses, Walker was growing handsome; our neighbor insisted he looked like James Dean, especially in the handmade brown or red cotton berets a friend had sewn to keep his head warm.

By the time he was four months old, Walker was looking at us occasionally. We sometimes wondered if he was farsighted, since usually we were only able to win his attention from across the room or if we stood above him, never up close. Once or twice, his gaze was so intense as to be disarming, as though he was looking right into us; yet most of the time he seemed only vaguely interested.

From The Boy Who Loved Windows: Opening the Heart and Mind of a Child Threatened With Autism by Patricia Stacey. Copyright Patricia Stacey 2003. All rights reserved. No part of this book maybe reproduced without written permission from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
Sign up, win books!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    The Search
    by Geoff Dyer
    All hail the independent publisher! In May 2014, Graywolf Press brought two of long-revered British ...
  • Book Jacket
    Mrs. Hemingway
    by Naomi Wood
    Naomi Wood's latest novel, Mrs. Hemingway, is a fictionalized biography covering in turn writer...
  • Book Jacket
    The Stranger on the Train
    by Abbie Taylor
    The opening chapter of Abbie Taylor's debut novel, The Stranger on the Train, took me right back to ...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

The City
by Dean Koontz

Published Jul. 2014

Join the discussion!

  1.  93Tomlinson Hill:
    Chris Tomlinson

All Discussions

Win this book!
Win The Angel of Losses

The Angel of Losses

"Family saga, mystery, and myth intersect in Feldman's debut novel." - Booklist


Word Play

Solve this clue:

E C H A Silver L

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.