Factor (Love Maps, 2015, etc.) chronicles life with her nonverbal son Felix, who is autistic and physically disabled.
When the planes hit the World Trade Center towers on 9/11, the author’s boyfriend, Jason, was near the buildings. While she waited for news from him, she had the agonizing fear that they might never have a child together, which led them to getting married and pregnant a year later. During her pregnancy, Factor contracted chicken pox, which, though she didn’t realize it at the time, hurt her growing fetus. In this honest memoir that vibrates with unconditional love, the author details what life is like with Felix and her other two children. It took many months, numerous visits to doctors and specialists, and endless tests before she found out just how handicapped Felix would be due to his lack of white matter in his brain. Factor adeptly chronicles each step of the process, each moment of triumph when Felix reached a new goal, and the times when she and her husband felt dismay and even shame when he failed to advance like the other toddlers around him. Throughout, readers gain a sense of the complexity of Felix, whether he’s happy, responding to music therapy, or engaged in some awful fit that forces him to scream and tear at his own body. Factor also discusses her other two children, who were born without such issues, her battles with the health care and educational systems, and her subsequent founding of the nonprofit community center Extreme Kids & Crew. The author’s story demonstrates the need for more quality help for parents of children with disabilities, who will find solace in knowing that others have struggled and found joy in this type of parenting.
A frank, compassionate, and highly detailed account of the roller-coaster ride of caring for a disabled, autistic child.