A moving, deeply absorbing story of a family in crisis. What sets it apart from most fiction about difficult subjects such as autism, is the author's ability to write about a sad and frightening situation with a seamless blend of warmth, compassion and humor.
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.
Melanie 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.
My husband saw me at a party and decided he wanted to marry me.
That is what he says. I was doing an impression of myself on the
back of a motorcycle with my university sweetheart, a young man
who loved T. S. Eliot and Harley-Davidsons, and who told me to
hang on to him as we swept down Storrow Drive in Boston, the
winter wind cutting through our clothes like glass. If I allow
myself, I can still remember exactly the warm smell of his
leather jacket, how I clung to him, and how in my fear and
discomfort I cursed all the way to the ballet.
We sat on the plush red seat cushions and kissed before Baryshnikov came on stage, the whole of his powerful frame a knot of kinetic energy that leapt as though the stage were a springboard. I always insisted on sitting up front so I could appreciate the strength of the dancers, the tautness of their muscles, the sweat on their skin. My lover of ...
A well told, strong story - definitely worth a second glance.
(Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
Full Review (353 words).
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 ...
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