Note: Information about the give away is at the bottom of the post!
When I first heard about the book "The Anti-Romantic Child: A Story of Unexpected Joy" by Priscilla Gilman, I was intrigued. As an English major in my undergrad studies, I had especially enjoyed my Romantic Literature course. Unfortunately, I haven't spent much time reading poetry in recent years. It seems I've been too immersed in autism and special needs books, magazines and websites. So imagine my delight in finding a book that combines those two worlds in one hard-to-put-down tome!
Gilman, a Literature professor details her unrealistic expectations of having a child. She anticipated a childhood that mirrored Wordsworth's ideals and her own youth: romantic, imaginative, spontaneous and free, full of exploration, running, jumping and frolicking.
The title refers to Gilman's son, the quintessential anti-romantic child. Unlike the definition of the word: "Imbued with or dominated by idealism, a desire for adventure," Benj was hardly adventurous. He did not quite fit his mother's expectations: he didn't romp and play, and he was most certainly not spontaneous. His speech was delayed, and he experienced many other developmental delays.
Though not formally diagnosed with autism, Benjamin definitely exhibited many autistic traits, including being inflexible and needing a stringent schedule and a lot of direct instruction.
Along with the stress of parenting a special needs child while working as a Literature professor, Gilman experienced a great deal of tension in her marriage. She chronicles the difficulties she faced, dealing with a man who was very much liker her son: inflexible, isolated and withdrawn.
Of all the autism and special needs books I have read, I have never related so closely with an author and mother. Perhaps it is the shared love of literature or the romantic, if somewhat unrealistic, expectations we both seemed to have of motherhood. At almost every page, I found myself nodding in agreement, especially at the passages which describe Gilman's disillusionment. Though she fiercely loves her son and motherhood, she readily admits that it turned out to be vastly different than she expected, a sentiment that I think most special needs parents can understand.
The Anti-Romantic Child is beautifully written, lyrical, realistic, and hopeful. I would have to say this is the most beautifully written book about special needs children that I have ever read. It is the story of one mother's love for her children and her journey towards letting go of those unrealistic expectations. It is the story of her total acceptance of her child as he is, rather than as she hoped he would be.
And now for the great news: I have copies of this book to give away to two lucky readers. Here's how to enter to win!
1) Follow my blog and leave a comment on this post.
2) To get additional entries, post about this give away on your blog. Please be sure to send me the link, so I will know to enter your name in for a second time.
The give away ends at midnight on Sunday, June 26th. Good luck!