When my kids started swimming, I met Adrienne. I knew she was different from the very first time I looked at her. What ever it was that made her different, I can’t put my finger to it. I knew her parents because they were educators from where I graduated high school, they still are. I’ve come to meet them again but this time around we are all parents. Talking to her mother confirmed my wondering questions. Adrienne has autism. With regular swimming training my kids and Adrienne attended, I started to knew her and familiarize her. In behalf of her parents, I feel happy whenever my daughter talks about her little conversations with her by the poolside. I appreciate whenever she acknowledged my greetings though this doesn’t happen all the time but once she did, it’s amazing. It never failed to catch my attention that she always have a pink plastic folder slider that she plays with her fingers. Sometimes, it is a green colored slider or white in some days and I remembered how it upsets her when she lost it one time. I wasn’t really sure what it is for but I believe it has something to do with her psychomotor development or to my understanding, diverting her energy. Specialists called it autism but for us, Adrienne is special.
Few days ago, I came across another novel from Lisa Genova. The book title didn’t get me interested but the author did. She wrote the book Still Alice and made me see Alzheimer’s Disease in a very compelling way. Without reading reviews and synopsis, she amazes me once again with her writing about autism and a lot more about true love, relationships and family.
Love Anthony is the heart warming and life-loving story of Beth, a mother of three girls, who is struggling with her husband’s infidelity, confused and wondering if she can forgive him and Olivia, a recent divorcee who is trying to know herself once again after a heart breaking separation with her husband following the death of her son Anthony, who has autism. In a total coincidence, these two women find answers to life’s questions through the unspoken voice of Anthony in the form of words composing a book written by Beth.
What gets me with this book is Genova’s brilliant way of putting a voice to an autistic child who doesn’t even express a voice but to no other than himself. I only have a very minimal encounter with autism and I can feel the perfect expression of unconditional love of a parent to a child with the writing regardless if the child is autistic or not. The book simply pictures stories of moms and wives and their frustrations in life. The stress they face everyday and the hopes and dreams they wish to acquire. With the unique presentation of autism, the complexity of the reality of life was carefully fed to the readers in details making it quite compelling and moving. The story of both couples and their marital situations became a side dish to the main course. Unfortunately, I find it quite a bit hanging and wish for more sparks emphasized on Beth’s forgiveness to his husband Jimmy. Nevertheless, the package was wrapped nicely with a bow perfectly done. I consider this book among my best reads for this year and with that I highly recommend for you all to grab your copies now.