A must-read for parents of special needs children nearing adulthood.

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THIS CRAZY QUILT

PARENTING ADULT SPECIAL NEEDS ONE DAY AT A TIME

In a year’s worth of blog posts, a mother goes through the complex process of helping her special needs daughter make the transition from childhood to independent adulthood.

In the introduction to her debut work, Edelman quotes a journalist friend: “This is a story that nobody is telling.” From bookstore to blogosphere, there are many accounts of raising special needs children but fewer about caring for a developmentally disabled adult child. Edelman explains that her topic is “the parents’ quest to bring their child to the threshold of adulthood, safely and successfully” and to “provide something of a map for others to use.” As Edelman describes with impressive specificity, there’s a lot of bureaucracy involved—in her case, most of it centered on her daughter’s return home from boarding school and turning 21. At that age, she “ages out” of the Connecticut public school system and other state resources and segues into a whole new frontier of need-based services, of which Medicaid is probably the least complicated. There’s a mass of jargon and acronyms and a crazy quilt of service agencies, all of which Edelman, a licensed social worker, explains fluently. She writes with equal assurance when describing her conflicting emotions: gratitude and frustration with the system and hesitation about when to help her daughter and when to stand back. She writes of her unmistakably heartfelt love for her child and honestly portrays the difficulties of dealing with her disability. The transition of this material from blog to book, however, is somewhat less well-handled. The text seems to have been transferred verbatim, including some dead and absent links, and its practice of beginning almost every paragraph with an italicized subheading is hardly noticeable in a blog but somewhat tedious in a nearly 500-page book. However, the book sensitively does what it sets out to do, documenting a complicated and too-little-discussed struggle in order to help others dealing with similar challenges. This account provides both the practical advice of an insider and the compassion and wisdom of a loving parent.

A must-read for parents of special needs children nearing adulthood.

Pub Date: Feb. 27, 2013

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 519

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Sept. 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2013

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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UNTAMED

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. AND THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON

This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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