Marti Leimbach's first novel, Dying Young, was called "a
masterpiece of details that always ring true, with the sad,
funny and fascinating unpredictability of real life." With the
same talent and perception, Leimbach's new novel takes the
reader to London, to the home of the Marshes: Stephen Marsh, a
true Brit; Melanie, a transplanted American; and their two
children, four-year-old Emily and Daniel, just three. When it is
conveyed that Daniel is autistic, the orderly life of the Marsh
family is shattered.
Melanie is determined to fight to teach Daniel to speak, play
and become as "normal" as possible. Her enchanting disposition
has already helped her weather other of life's storms, but
Daniel's autism may just push her over the brink, destroying her
resolute optimism and bringing her unsteady marriage to an
inglorious end. The situation is not helped by Stephen's
far-from-supportive parents, who proudly display the family tree
with Melanie's name barely penciled in, and who remain
disconcertingly attached to Stephen's ex-fiancée, a woman
apparently intent on restaking her claim on Stephen.
does have one strong ally in Andy, a talented and off-the-wall
play therapist who specializes in teaching autistic children.
Andy proves that Daniel is far more capable than anyone
imagined, and Melanie finds herself drawn to him even as she
staggers toward resolving her marriage.
Daniel Isn't Talking is a moving, deeply absorbing story
of a family in crisis. What sets it apart from most fiction
about difficult subjects is the author's ability to write about
a sad and frightening situation with a seamless blend of warmth,
compassion and humor.
While the novel lacks the literary ambition of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Leimbach does succeed in making us care about Daniel and his progress.
A skillfully crafted and bracingly unsentimental look at one mother's love -sometimes tender, sometimes frantic, always fierce - in the face of adversity.
Library Journal - Debbie Bogenschutz
Leimbach does an excellent job of showing a mother fighting with every ounce of her being for what is right for her children and, ultimately, herself. A most satisfying read, this is recommended for all public libraries.
Anita Shreve, author of The Weight of Water and The Pilot's Wife
I was riveted, engrossedall those wonderful things one hopes for when opening a book. Marti Leimbach's portrayal of a mother facing unbelievable hardships is very real and gripping.
Joanne Harris, author of Chocolat
A terrific book, informed, passionate and touching. I was thoroughly engrossed until the last page.
Jennifer Egan, author of Look at Me
Any parent will recognize the combustion of love and anxiety that fuels Marti Leimbach's vivid new novel. Daniel Isn't Talking is an affecting study of parental devotion.
About Autism: According to
Autism Speaks, it is likely that throughout history people have lived
with what are now known as autistic spectrum disorders, but the term was first
used around 1911 by Swiss psychiatrist Eugen Bleuler.
Autism was first described as a specific condition by Dr Leo Kanner in 1943. The following year, Dr
Hans Asperger published his paper on the 'high-functioning' form of autism that
bears his name (some believe Einstein and Newton both had Asbergers). During the 1950s and '60s many doctors believed autism was a psychological disturbance caused by poor
mothering. This theory was firmly crushed in the 1960s with the evidence
that autism was a biological condition.
In 1994, the National
Alliance for Autism Research, now merged with Autism Speaks, was established in the USA to fund biomedical research. In the mid 1990s genetic researchers began to link autism to abnormalities on certain chromosomes.
Many have posited a link between autism and childhood vaccinations containing
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