Book review: Daniel Isn’t Talking

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Eh. That’s my review of this novel. It tells the story of Daniel, a 3 yr old autistic boy and his mother Melanie’s struggle with his diagnosis. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad book. It’s fine. The author does a nice job of exploring the mother’s worries about her son and her grief over his diagnosis and what it is like to parent a child with autism. But it’s just one of many perfectly good books out there. I enjoyed it well enough while reading it but nothing about it really challenged me and I doubt much will stick with me.

It also annoyed me that the mother doesn’t encounter a single helpful or sympathetic figure in the medical world while she is seeking help for her son. I know doctors and other health care providers can be awful but I found it unrealistic that there wasn’t a single good one. And they aren’t just portrayed as unhelpful, but rather they are outright rude or dismissive or cruel. I’m guessing that the author got some of the stories from real “autism moms” (her phrase in the book) and just used them all for dramatic effect. The only professional who is helpful is the out of the mainstream play therapist and the Mom eventually falls in love with him.  (This isn’t much of a spoiler since it’s on the book flap and anyone who knows foreshadowing can see it coming from a mile away.) I felt like the author wanted to write two books. One is a chick-lit romance and the other is about parenting a child with autism. The one about autism would have been interesting and better and I think more realistic if the romance had been left out and the other characters in the book weren’t so clearly divided into bad guys (medical professionals, husband) and good guys (play therapist).

2 thoughts on “Book review: Daniel Isn’t Talking

  1. Pingback: Saturday Review of Books: October 31, 2009 : Semicolon

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