the book jacket:
The former residents of The Hawthorne House School for the
Treatment of Autistic Children attend the first-ever reunion 15 years after the
school closes, but events turn into a bloody nightmare when the school's founder,
is found tortured to death in the basement.Comment:
Set in Chicago
during the heatwave of 1995, D'Amato's new stand-alone thriller draws the reader
into the world of autistic children and adults.
essence this is a fairly standard police procedural but, to my mind, the setting,
complex characters and
issues that the book raises set it way above the average, although the mystery
of who committed the murder is fairly easy to detect.
"Wry humor and characters with real depth help propel the plot to its poignant
conclusion. As the further reading...
Beyond the Book
The character of Dr Schermerhorn is based
on Bruno Bettelheim, who ran the Orthogenic School in Chicago and wrote many
books on autism.
Bettelheim was born in Vienna in 1903. As a Jew in
Austria, he was interned in Dachau and Buchenwald from 1938-9. His release
was purchased (it was possible for some to purchase their release up until the outbreak of WWII) and he immediately emigrated to the United States, ending up
at the University of Chicago where he headed the Orthogenic School.
His methods, roundly disproved today, were based on the
belief that "the precipitating factor in infantile autism is the parent's wish
that the child should not exist". In other words he believed, and
convinced many others, that...