Love Anthony by Lisa Genova
Posted by Caitie F on September 23, 2012
Summary from goodreads:
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.
This book is not my usual fare. The summary made me think of Jodi Picoult, and I don’t really like Jodi Picoult’s books. But I was intrigued, so I gave it a chance.
I ending up reading it in two days, even reading it during my lunch break because I was so captivated by Beth and Olivia’s stories. Warning to all parents who want to read this though – have a box of tissues handy. I don’t even have kids and it made me a little teary (which was very awkward at work!).
I know there have been a lot of autism books and sometimes they feel like they are trying to teach you about autism. This one didn’t feel like this. If it “taught” me anything, it helped me understand what the child is experiencing. Yes, Olivia’s story was about how it affected the parents and her marriage, but through the excerpts of Beth’s book it showed how scary and frustrating it must be.
Yet is mostly isn’t about autism. It is about relationships evolving. It is about finding happiness for yourself and thinking about your own dreams sometimes. It is also about great friendships and figuring out some things for yourself.
Getting into both Beth and Olivia’s heads made the book much deeper than seeing it just from one perspective. The reader can really understand what both of them are going through and is able to feel a deep connection to both character. It will take me some time to get their distinct voices out of my head.
This book was so much more than I expected and I am very happy about it! What books have surprised you?