It is sometimes said, that if you know one person with autism; you know one person. Well I am starting to think that this applies to books on autism also. Each and every one is unique. Each is special like the special children who star in them. Some authors pull you in their world by tugging at your heartstrings, some ply you with facts and case studies, and Sharie Walter does it with humor. She tickles your funny bone from cover to cover of her memoir, Crazy Love: A Traumedy about Life with Autism. Sharie Walter keeps you entertained with her amusing stories of life with autism raising her 5 yr old daughter.
Life with Autism
Crazy Love: A Traumedy about Life with Autism is a collection of essays about life after they adopt a daughter from China who has autism and has developed self-injurious behavior. How others react to Vivi and how she wished she could answer back to them make up many of the short, impressionable, witty essays. Someone also stated that if you’re going to teach someone something you’ve got to be entertaining in your delivery or they’ll just tune out and mentally go to sleep. I doubt anyone will dose off while holding on to the roller coaster ride this autismum of 5 year old Vivi wisks you on.
Ms. Walter is surely a talented wordsmith that keeps you chuckling with her brilliantly written snippets of life with autism. With chapter titles like the following I should have known this book was not like the more serious, studious books I usually read and review.
- the daze of my life as an autismum
- what doesn’t kill you will make you wish it did
- the devil made me do it
- the diet from hell
- why is god testing me when I just need to buy underwear?
- hygiene hijinks
- finding the fun in dysfunction – my way
- it’s been lovely but I have to scream now
- family fun day (a lethal oxymoron)
There is much in this book that many parents with a child on the spectrum can relate to. All readers will find it hilarious and learn from it at the same time. Those who have traveled in Asia will thoroughly enjoy her chapter, stewardess, bring me a double martini and a parachute please. Sharie keeps you in stitches telling you of their search for the perfect first supper with their newly adopted child and finding a restroom,”Remember when you were little and tried to dig a hole to China? I found that hole; it is indeed bottomless. And it is the toilet. You have to have graduated from the Cirque du Soleil School of Crouching to do your lady business in a dignified manner and walk away with dry shoes.”
Through the humorous banter, this forty something mom weaves strands of serious fodder for thought. After a harrowing day, “Today never dies; it just turns into the day after yesterday.” About the persistent feeling of guilt to make every minute count, “The tick of a clock is like bamboo water torture making me painfully aware that every second counts in the recovery process; no time for indulgent literary piffle…” About how expensive it is to raise a child with special needs, “It’s a gluten-free, casein-free, soy-free, sugar-free, additive-free, preservative-free, dye-free, flavor-free diet that is NOT free. As a matter of fact, it costs much more to eat a lot less.” About this life unexpected,”Don’t languish in the tiki lounge of the past, or linger too long on the launch pad to the future.”
Crazy Love: A Traumedy about Life with Autism by Sharie Walter is just what the doctor ordered when all else fails! Crazy Love the perfect gift to another frazzled mom who will get it and need it.
Sharie often ends her essays with a wise quote and with this I end this review. “We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the life that is waiting for us.” ~ Joseph Campbell
About the Author
Bio from the book: “Sharie Walter was born in Oakland, California, spawn of the semester break ballyhoo from a couple of U.C. Berkeley students: one a poet farmgal from Oregon, the other an engineering student from Shanghai. She grew up on the island of Oahu in Hawaii and currently lives there with her husband and two daughters. When not collapsed in a crumpled heap, comfortably numb with combat fatigue, muttering “serenity now…insanity later,” and rocking like the Titanic before the iceberg cometh, Ms. Walter writes children’s books, and is a freelance graphic designer.”
Read our interview with Sharie Walter.