From the award-winning New York Times best-selling author of Still Alice and Left Neglected, comes a heartfelt novel about an accidental friendship that gives a grieving mother a priceless gift: the ability to understand the thoughts of her eight-year-old autistic son and make sense of his brief life.
Two women, each cast adrift by unforseen events in their lives, meet by accident on a Nantucket beach and are drawn into a friendship.
Olivia is a young mother whose eight-year-old severely autistic son has recently died. Her marriage badly frayed by years of stress, she comes to the island in a trial separation to try and make sense of the tragedy of her Anthony's short life.
Beth, a stay-at-home mother of three, is also recently separated after discovering her husband’s long-term infidelity. In an attempt to recapture a sense of her pre-married life, she rekindles her passion for writing, determined to find her own voice again. But surprisingly, as she does so, Beth also find herself channeling the voice of an unknown boy, exuberant in his perceptions of the world around him if autistic in his expression - a voice she can share with Olivia - is it Anthony?) - that brings comfort and meaning to them both.
©2012 Lisa Genova (P)2012 Simon & Schuster Audio
I am a happy fairly fit young 71 year old who despite being born with a sight impairment have loved books all my life.
In the top ten. Lisa Genova writes compassionately about the huge challenges that face parents of an autistic child and the inevitable strain on even a strong relationship. She focuses on how the mother (in this case) initially still tries to 'normalise' the child with the resulting frustrations and sadness this brings. This book is about strong women who support each other & laugh & cry together, set on Nantucket island on the coast of Maine with long beaches and all kinds of weather, the setting almost makes the book. True to life, don't look for happy endings.
Overall this is an enthralling book for anyone with some experience of autism. The first half was too long drawn-out and nearly lost my interest due to the reader dropping her voice towards the end of sentences which made listening somewhat tedious. However, once the two main characters met, the pace picked up and my sympathy and curiosity were fully engaged. This writer has amazing insight into personalities and emotions.
I enjoyed this book, but not as much as "Left Neglected" and "Still Alice" which I thought were more meaty. Nevertheless it is a good read, but somehow seems lighter in substance than the other two books. It was insightful into autistic spectrum disorder and described the little boy Anthony well. The back stories were not as well formed. I felt I needed to know more about the characters. Seeing Nantucket through the seasons made me want to visit.
I loved this story. I was one of those books in which I was sad every time I had to stop listening. I'd even drive the long way home just to get some extra listening time in. I liked the main characters and looked forward to finding out about them and their lives. Both women, far from perfect, were forced to deal with life events beyond their control. I found Anthony’s story fascinating. It was a point of view that I have never encountered. The book contained a great deal of humor, friendship, discovery and pain. After finishing the story, and now months later, I have a feeling of missing these characters and hoping that they have found happiness.
As a mother of a 17 year old boy with autism, this book could have been my life. I have lived the same experiences, emotions, guilt and happiness as this mother. This is the first book I have read where the boy is given real feelings and not portrayed like a robot. My son is sweet and innocent and loving and such a gift. I have learned so much from him. am so grateful to Lisa Genova for writing this wonderful, touching, realistic story. Thank you!
"Not what I expected."
Olivia cannot move on with her life until she understands the reason for Anthony's life and death as an autistic child. Then she meets Beth who is writing a book about a boy speaking through her to his mother. As Olivia pours through her journals about life with her son, Anthony, his story comes to life through two different perspectives.
The story was entertaining but I had a hard time believing that someone could write an book on a subject that they hadn't researched and come up with a paranormal channeling experience giving a non-verbal child a believable voice that has the vocabulary of an adult.
Although I did enjoy the story of Beth and Olivia's relationship, I found parts of it teadious and farfetched. I enjoyed Genova's first two novels, Still Alice and Left Neglected , much more, which were entertaining and educational at the same time.
I will still be on the look-out for the author's next novel because I was so blown away with "Still Alice"
Posted from Goodreads.
"Love the book! A Sad 'feel-good-book'"
Because it's worth Reading.
I think it's healthy for everyone to take a peak in to a totally
honest mind from time to time.
The way she made him speak!
I'll never look att an Autistic child the same again.
She is a brilliant storyteller. I love her voice, and the way she reads,
pauses, breathes - everythig about her.
She gets out the drama, arguments, accidents and so forth, without
changing the volume of her voice.
To many read very low, so you set the volume, but then something happends,
and they start screaming and shouting - and you have to throw yourself over the volume-button. it's more like listening to a football/Soccer-game.
But, then you can't hear again, and have to turn it up.
So -- these are books you can only listen to alone, when no one is home, or in the
The narrator was good: she wasn't over the top and was easy to listen to. The story is three intertwining stories, a bit contrived and oftentimes too much extraneous detail about the sad lives of women in unfortunate relationships. It was less about autism as it was about rebounding from bad relationships. I enjoyed Still Alice much more.
"Great book by wonderful author."
Touching, insightful, well written
Anthony. Can't reveal why without spoiling the story
She fluctuated between a very soft voice and a more audible on. I kept having to turn the volume up then down. Somewhat distracting.
Beth. She was talented and interesting.
You felt like you were actually present.
"Left wanting more..."
Listening to Anthony's perspective on being autistic. It was fascinating.
I loved the analogy of the rooms in Anthony's brain. It really got me thinking about the children I work with who have autism - it really resonated with me because it made so much sense!
The narration was good in that Debra Messing had a calm and quiet voice that matched the tone of the story. However, I found the volume of her voice to be very inconsistent. I would crank the volume to be able to hear the narration but then the beginnings of sentences would be so loud they would hurt my ears. The sentence starting was not nearly as smooth as the rest of the reading.
Spoiler alert: I really wish I could have known three things at the end of the book: 1. How did Jimmy and Beth work things out? 2. What did Beth finally name her book? 3. Where did Olivia go?
"Unconditional love is a great message"
Love conquers all.
Compelling story of an autistic boy named Anthony who sadly passes away at a young age, but what he teaches his mom and even a complete stranger, as well as many others, is that we are all put here on this earth to love and be loved UNCONDITIONALLY.
This was a very insightful book about a subject that I wasn't well versed on. I found it to be very informative and one of the key points that I will always remember is how we all have autistic tendencies. We should all think of a scale for autism and that we are all placed somewhere on that scale. I think this is a great way to view the world and it would strongly decrease the amount of judgment the world produces if we not only thought this way for autism, but for any other medical issue or life issue in general.
I only gave this book 4 stars because the beginning-middle was quite hard for me to really connect with, but the ending makes up for any lack of connection I experienced.
Lisa Genova is THE BEST author on these sensitive subjects such as autism, HD, and Alzheimers.
One can only imagine the sorrow and grief of parents who struggle every day with this difficult illness. The story showed the terrific love and strength of the 2 main female characters as they faced difficult situations and worked to overcome them.
"I loved this book."
I loved this book. Debra Messing did a FANTASTIC job as narrator. As a mother of a 14 year old with autism, I related with the character and so there were many many tears but also laughter. Thank you so much Ms. Genova.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.