It is crunch time for the Jewell family. Emma and Ben have a battle ahead of them persuading their local authority that their profoundly autistic 10 year-old-son Jonah, would benefit from being in a special residential facility. Their strategic decision to separate in the best interests of Jonah's case has unexpected consequences. Ben and Jonah move in with Ben's father Georg, and there's suddenly more to resolve than just the dilemma of Jonah's future.
A thought-provoking darkly comic story of a family in crisis, who need to be everything but shtum, written by an author informed by personal experience.
Overall our members rated the book highly and for the most part enjoyed it. Some found the characters very frustrating. It was a powerful, engrossing, emotional and heartbreaking story, and very close to home for some. Our Group met at the usual time and day via a zoom meeting and that was an interesting experience in itself! We all remembered our wine or juice though.
Lots of discussion! Each character had interesting roles - how they interacted with each other and what they kept a secret.
Mixed views on the book - many of us felt it was very readable, but some felt uncomfortable with what seemed to be rather too neat plot twists and ending. All agreed it was an accurate and heart-rending ( in as much as we can know) of life with a severely autistic child.
Some members really enjoyed the book, others not so much. 'A bit far-fetched', said one. But we had much discussion as to the possible causes of autism, about the extreme difficulty of caring for a severely autistic child as portrayed in the book, about integration of children with many types of disability into the school system, and about the definition of different disabilities.
This book is profoundly moving and cleverly written. Very thought-provoking - it is equally good or even better than our previous book of the year, which was last month's 'We Are Called to Rise'. Thank you!
A thoroughly enjoyable, thought provoking book. We all without exception enjoyed this heart wrenching book.
A rather depressing read which provoked much discussion, especially as a few of us had experiences of autistic children. We concluded that, as harrowing as the book was, the experience would have been even worse in NZ, where there is very poor provision for such children.
We all enjoyed it, and had a very good discussion.
This generated an enormous amount of discussion, as several members have grandchildren on the Autism spectrum. We found the book hard to read for emotional reasons, but felt very involved and thought it was well written. We found it difficult to score overall as there was such a mix of responses.
We felt this was a brutal "no holds barred" story of a family trying to cope with a severely autistic child. We were educated, shocked and emotionally challenged.