Saturday, October 13, 2007

Smarty Sunday Book Recommendation: Eye Contact

Usually my Smarty Sunday Book Recommendations are non-fictional books... but today, I am going to recommend a work of fiction that I recenrly really enjoyed reading! Eye Contact, by Cammie McGovern, is a novel, but the main character is the mother of a little boy with autism. The story is a crime mystery, but it is also the story of a whole myriad of people... children and adults... who are just a little different from typical people, how they view the world, and how the world views them.
The main character, Cara, is a single mother. Ever since she found out that her 9-year-old son had autism, she's made it her fulltime job to try to help him find his place in the world... from experimenting with different kinds of therapies, to campaigning for the best type of education for him, to trying desperately to help him make friends with little boys his own age.
One day, due to a mix-up with the staff at his school, Adam goes missing. A little girl from his special education class is also missing. Within hours, they are both found in some woods near the school. Adam is alive, but the little girl is dead.
What happened in the woods that day? The one person who knows what happened is the little boy who doesn't have the words to explain it.
Tied into this story is the life of an older boy with special needs of his own. Morgan is a middle-schooler who probably has an undiagnosed form of autism... probably Asperger's. But instead of recieving the help and support he needs, Morgan is ridiculed and punished by his bewildered mother for not acting like a "normal" kid, physically and emotionally tormented by bullies at school, and enrolled in a therapy group for unclassifiable "people who need a group like this." When Morgan hears the story of Adam and the little girl, he becomes obsessed with finding out what really happened in the woods. If he can solve the mystery himself, Morgan is sure it will save his own life.
I read this book straight through, and it was sheer torture to put it down long enough to drive, eat, sleep, work, etc. If you haven't read this book yet, I recommend you dash to your nearest library and check it out!

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