I read two books within a few days on mothers, children, and autism–The Waiting Pool by Jackie Linder Olsen and If I Could Tell You by Hannah Brown. The Waiting Pool was my favorite, because the story seemed to flow much more organically than the other. You saw clearly the effects of autism on the immediate family and the grandparents (whose suggestions show that they saw their grandchild as somewhat spoiled and bratty).
Her husband couldn’t handle all the problems, so he distanced himself from everything. Natalie was basically figuring things out on her own and doing whatever it took to get the kind of therapies her son needed. I liked the fact that it was very clear that she financially struggled in order to get those therapies, since that seems much more realistic.
I also liked that the story covered enough of a time frame that we got to see Carter improved.Johnny Stix made some dumb moves, but he loved Carter. For that I will forgive him anything.
If I Could Tell You has a somewhat similar premise, but these women have many more resources than Natalie did. Most of the women had plenty more resources so that they were not limited by financial reasons. This book only covers about a year in the lives of the families, so we don’t see much improvement of the children. In some ways I felt like this book was much more about the family caregivers. There was discussion of several different books and treatments. The dialogue seemed a bit stilted, but it mostly worked. Each family chose a different treatment, except two. The therapist working with those two families was working with each of them differently.
But as I said, I think this book is about the family caregivers. One mother lost her job, the husband of one of the women had an affair with another woman in the group, who was then ostracized. She wasn’t brought back in until something went wrong with a treatment. Another couple broke up because the husband was pursuing a different path than his wife was comfortable with.
These are chick lit/women’s fiction books, so men don’t play very big roles (except for Johnny Stix in the first one). I’m sure there are more families that get strong support from the husbands and help their children as a team. The stats do say that many families break up, and I believe that since both these authors have autistic children, they definitely wrote from an “inside” perspective. They knew exactly what they were talking about.
I definitely recommend either one or both of them for a pleasant, informative read..
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