Monday, June 20, 2011

"The Anti-Romantic Child" Review and Give Away

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She chronicles the difficulties she faced, dealing with a man who was very much liker her son: inflexible, isolated and withdrawn.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!


Anonymous said...

This book sounds good and like something I'd enjoy. If you like it, I'll probably like it.

Consider me entered!

Spectrummy Mummy said...

I've been thinking of buying this for the excruciatingly long flight- now I definitely want it!

Anonymous said...

I can't wait to read your book!

Kate said...

I loved this book an have been meaning to write a review. It's a thoughtful and beautiful book. I highly recommend it!
You can also find Priscilla Gilman on Facebook, where she will answer any of your questions.

MS Nourse said...

I follow Patricia Gilman on FaceBook and have read some wonderful things about this book. I am childless-by-choice, but know three families with "autistic delights" and know the challenges. I know this book had helped two of those others.
I hope I win it - I can read it and then pass it on to the third mother!

~KurtsGirl~ said...

I am the mother of 3, 2 of which are on the spectrum. Often day to day life is a major challenge. I would love to read this book, I could always use more insight to help me understand why and how. Can't Wait to read it, it will be very beneficial.

murphthejo said...

I'm following you. Would LOVE to have your book. I will NEVER forget the day I realized that my grandaughter was probably autistic. She had taken the coasters from the living room to the dining room to play. She was about a year old. I went to check on her & she had lined them up in a straight line..coaster, baby bottl, coaster bby bottle, coaster....Scared me to death. She is now 6 yrs old & STILL does this. Have a pic of here lining up her french fries before she eats them.

stephanie said...

Letting go of expectations for our children is terribly familiar to me. An an educated woman with high hopes for my children's aspirations, I struggled- with the loss of my hopes for my child, but mostly I struggled with myself. Learning to love my child where he was, though he didn't match the ideal of what I thought I was in love with. He turned out to be better than perfect & exactly what I needed in my life to help me transition & grow as a person. I look forward to reading another woman's experience on her own journey. Thanks for the opportunity to win this book!

licosa92 said...

I must have this book. I'm a grandmother to a wonderful special needs child.

BellaVie92 said...

I can't wait to read it. This year was the first time that I worked with special needs students. It was one of the most rewarding things I have done. I also gained so much insight into humanity and people. Every time I would feel low, I would meet up with the kids. There is something special about them that shines.

ShesAlwaysWrite said...

My best friend just read this and told me I really needed to get my hands on it. Glad to hear another ringing endorsement, I've gotta add it to my reading list!