In the midst of Ellie’s outbursts, meltdowns, and “complete chaos,” Kerswell shares her empathy, her love, her patience, her frustration, and her grief. “I can't imagine what it must be like to spend one's life in a body and mind that play tricks on you all day, every day," Kerswell writes. Kerswell reflects with power on her role as a mother, her relationship with her husband, and more, though such thoughtfulness must come second to navigating the everyday challenges Ellie faces at school, in their neighborhood, and at hospital appointments.
This gripping memoir illuminates its subject with courage and clarity, documenting the day-to-day life of mother and daughter’s journey, from Ellie’s birth to her preteen years. Kerswell’s scenecraft and storytelling are piercing, but it’s her frankness that makes this book a triumph—and likely to give relief to parents and caregivers, as she addresses self-doubt, guilt, her own coping methods, the persistent feeling of having done something wrong, and what it takes to try “to forgive myself for drifting so far from who I used to be.”
Takeaway: Unforgettable memoir of a mother’s life with a child with profound autism.
Comparable Titles: Kate Swenson'sForever Boy, William Harrington's Just There.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A