By Marti Leimbach, Daniel Isn't Talking is the story about Daniel who is 3 and isn't talking. As the story unfolds, the family learns that Daniel has autism and the rest of the story looks at how the family copes and adjusts with this new reality. It is a work of fiction yet the author's own son has autism so there were plenty of elements of fact incorporated into the story. At times you might be inclined to think this is a memoir instead of a fictionalized story.
In the first 50 pages or so, I was mesmerized! I knew the premise of the book, so I knew what was coming in terms of his yet undiagnosed condition. As I read the book, I was transported back in time to our own journey with Thing One. And I cried as I relived some very sad memories of my own. A mother does indeed know long before the experts confirm that her child isn't developing normally. You do feel isolated and alone and you definetly must go through a grieving process for the loss of the child you imagined you'd be raising compared to the one that you are blessed with. The author does a marvelous job of capturing the flurry of emotions that surround the parents when they first embark on this trip into Autismland.
But, by about half way through the story, I'd had enough. This isn't to say that I didn't like the story. I did. I just find that if I spend too much time in Autismland (be it through books, support groups or blogs), I tend to get a bad case of the blahs. I'm not all that functional to myself or my family when I've got the blahs. So, I quickly finished the story and am ready to move on to some story that doesn't hit quite so close to home.
You might enjoy the story. The author gives real thought towards creating her main characters. I found some of the progress that Daniel made a bit unrealistic. I also found it hard to believe that in such a short time frame, she'd managed to get in to see a whole slew of specialists. I realize that the author had to make these things happen rather quickly in order for her subplots to work. Again, just a reminder that it is a work of fiction, not a true life story.
But as for me, I think I'll stay away from such stories in the future: I like to be entertained, amused, escape and yes, occasionally, educated and enlightened. But, at least for me, this book just took me on a trip down memory lane. Granted, my journey was not exactly like Melanie's (for which I am very grateful for being blessed with a supportive husband and compassionate and caring circle of friends). And although I know it is good to remember the past, it is more important for me to look to the future and realize how far Thing One has come and how there is no reason to believe that he won't continue to make extraordinary progress with his condition.
So, can anyone point me in the direction of something FUN to read? I need a good laugh...crazy, goofy chick lit is what I want to read next. Suggestions please!