A single mom struggles to solve the puzzle of a son with Asperger’s syndrome in this touching, winsome comic melodrama.
Rory Falcon is a bundle of exasperating eccentricities—perpetual pacing, mile-a-minute talkativeness, an obsession with lawn mowers and antique gas cans, an incorrigible refusal to follow instructions or tolerate constraints—combined with a good heart that only his adoptive mother Archer can see. But as he pushes 16 years old, his quirks escalate to drinking, joyriding and muscular rages that can end with him blackening his mom’s eye. Archer, a frantically multitasking lawyer who’s up for a judgeship, blames her mothering skills for Rory’s behavior because there’s no one else to blame—least of all her ex-husband Wayne, a whiny man-child still looking to break into a theater career. Then Rory and a high-school hellion named Trish hare off in a stolen car to find Rory’s birth mother, and Archer embarks on a journey to recover her son and unearth buried family secrets that stretch all the way back to the Salem Witch Trials. In this entertaining dysfunction romp, the authors cut the pathos with tart humor and vivid characterizations. Hurricane Rory is an indelible portrait of a high-functioning autistic kid who’s both off-putting and magnetic; veering between wild, foul-mouthed tantrums, plangent sweetness and locked-down obliviousness, he’s as much a mystery to himself as to everyone else. Archer is another vibrant tangle of contradictions; determined to play the stalwart authority figure, she feels like a wreck and a failure—a tiger mom who is nonetheless in serious danger of collapsing in vodka-soaked sniffles into the arms of a comforting teenager. As she walks a fraying maternal tightrope—with plenty of pratfalls—Lewis and Faircloth give readers a hilarious and moving study of familial love that’s all the stronger for its conflicts and misgivings.
A funny, frazzled tale of extreme parenting.