metro mama

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Metro Mama Reviews: Daniel Isn't Talking

Well, I’m making good on summer holiday resolution number 1. I just finished Daniel Isn't Talking by Marti Leimbach, author of Dying Young. The novel’s heroine, Melanie, is an American living in Britain, with a British husband, Stephen, a four-year-old daughter, Emily, and Daniel, her 3-year-old. The book chronicles Melanie’s journey from her suspicion Daniel is not developing ‘normally’, to his autism diagnosis and her ensuing struggle to help him learn to lead as normal a life as possible. Melanie refuses to accept the pessimistic outlook of family, friends, and medical professionals and gives everything she has to improving her son’s lot.

The book is thought-provoking. I learned more about autism, as I did from reading another good book on the subject, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time. The novel also explores the impact of the autism diagnosis on Melanie and Stephen’s marriage as well as the loneliness of a woman who finds herself surrounded by fair-weather friends. I was interested in Melanie’s dealings with medical specialists (most are portrayed as rigid and obstinate). Leimbach must have experience in this department as Daniel is modelled after her autistic son, Nicholas.

The novel is predictable at times, but inspiring and avoids being sentimental (something I loathe).

A very interesting read.



Blogger Lisa said...

Wow. SOunds interesting. We have an autistic 9-year-old neighbor boy who has walked into our house a few times, opened the fridge and was looking for beer. (Bud Light is one of the few words he can say.) We've also had problems with him peeping through our windows.

So I've been trying to do more research on this topic seeing as his parents aren't very attentive and he gravitates to our house. I should probably read this...

6:25 PM  
Blogger bubandpie said...

There were parts of this novel that I loved, but I did find the whole Melanie-against-the-world thing got to be a bit tiresome - and I found it odd that Leimbach would depict ABA therapy as this rogue treatment that is dismissed by all the professionals, considering that it's really the only treatment that has been demonstrated to be effective. I'm sure that this book is true to Leimbach's experience, but I came to this book after reading Not Even Wrong: Adventures in Autism, which is an extremely moving memoir by the father of an autistic boy, and many of the assumptions in that book are totally different (especially as regards integrated classrooms). I can't remember the author's name right now, but it's worth googling (and reading!).

8:09 PM  
Blogger penelopeto said...

i enjoyed curious incident, but read it as a novel with rich characters, pretty much forgetting that it was about an autistic boy. then again, i do things like count steps and stir my coffee 40 times, so i could relate.

1:31 PM  
Blogger Mommy off the Record said...

Oooh, you're making good on your promise to review books. Awesome.

Autism scares me so much. It's something that people (especially moms) should be informed about though. Thanks for the recommendation.

2:27 PM  
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Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's a great story. Waiting for more. » » »

8:47 PM  

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