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Book Review — Next Stop by Glen Finland

 

A few weeks ago I was asked to read and review an advanced copy of the forthcoming book “Next Stop.”  The book, by writer Glen Finland, is a memoir about Glen’s autistic son David and her journey along side him towards self-sufficiency.

 

I was surprised to be contacted to read the book but apparently, a post I had written about my son Daniel led the publishers to my blog.  Although I don’t normally do book reviews, I agreed to read the book and let THEM know what I thought about it.

 

Reading the book was a shocking journey down memory lane for me and ended up provoking strong reactions.  So strong indeed, that I was astonished.  If found myself waffling between admiration, empathy, outrage, guilt, anger and a myriad of other assorted feelings. I really couldn’t figure out WHY I was reacting so strongly.

 

I wanted to share with you the emails that I sent in during the reading of the book and then I’ll explain myself afterwards.  Here is the first email I sent in:

 

Lydia,

So I’ve been reading your book and I’m about half way through it.  I have incredibly mixed feelings about the entire thing thus far.  Of course, you don’t know me but I actually grew up with a disfigured brother so I know what having an elephant in the room is like.  I have to admit that my sons problems weren’t anywhere near as bad as David’s problems but I cope with things incredibly differently than Glen did.

I keep finding myself getting pissed off at her but I’m trying to keep an open mind as she certainly had a tough time.  Her son is 6 years older than mine.  My son is 18 now and he wasn’t diagnosed until he was 4 and even so, he wasn’t CLOSE to having that many issues.

Having said that, I am much more fatalistic about my approach to life and rarely spend time thinking about what if?  I mean, even as we speak we’re dealing with an awful situation with my daughter (tumor) so you see, I’m not sure if I’m the best type of person to comment since I’ve had to cope with so much.

And yet, I feel like she’s constantly looking for a reason to explain the situation … also, I always felt VERY STRONGLY that a situation like that should never define a family therefore I never let it take me away from my girls.  Where I am right now in the book she’s feeling like she wasn’t there for her other boys.

I just read a chapter where Eric called his brother names and she had mixed feelings about it.  I once called my brother a “blind idiot” when I was about 10 and honestly, I’ve never gotten over the guilt of it.  Family situations like this are complicated.

Well, I’m going to finish it.  It’s certainly interesting.  I’ll send you more when I’m done.

I find thinking about all this and Daniel’s journey makes me realize how much of the stuff I have just filtered out.  I should probably write my own book.

Lynn

 

 

At this point in the book I was about half way through and I found myself intensely angry at the way the mom was handling things.  Then I found myself feeling guilty about that anger because “who the hell was I to be judgmental about this situation” so then I felt bad.  But then I thought, “why shouldn’t I have a right to my own feelings” so then I was indignant.  Finally I thought “well, I didn’t have it so bad so shut the hell up Lynn’s mind” so I was completely confused.  I mean you must get the picture by now.

 

Finally, I finished the book and sent another email.

 

 

Lydia!

I bet you didn’t expect a blow by blow of me reading the book now did you.

Ok, so I finished it and I must say that I enjoyed it much more at the end as she let go.  It’s actually more of a story on her journey then David’s journey in my opinion.

Let me tell you something.  Daniel (my son) isn’t actually something I discuss all that much.  The way I ended up on the blog (the story you read) was just by happenstance.  I had tweeted Jill and said that my son was originally diagnosed as “having Asperger’s” and that he was pretty “normal” now.

When I first started writing the story I was shocked because I had obviously blocked out a lot of the hard times.  Not really blocked them, but just they were “dimmed” I suppose in my memory.

THE BEST thing about the story I wrote was that it gave people hope so I can totally relate to the comments that Gwen got while reading the responses from her Washington Post article.

All in all, it was a good read.  Perhaps, if I hadn’t have taken such a successful path myself, I would have liked it even more.

Like I said earlier, I really feel the book was more about her than David.

I’d be happy to write about it or discuss it with you or even Gwen if you like.

I don’t think that I’m considered a “typical” reader in this particular scenario.

Lynn

So there you are.  I read the book and “liked” the book although the complex emotions it evoked in me were surprising.  All in all, I think the reason that I had such a difficult time is that I related to both the mother in the book as well as the siblings.  It’s pretty complicated being the sibling of a person with an issue.  You tend to have a lot of “survivors guilt” which can color your view of the world.

 

I can’t imagine most people would relate on both of these levels so I’m sure most people will view the book as an incredible story of survival, hope and love.  I mean, I did too, it was just tempered with my normal dose of skepticism.

 

Thanks for giving me this opportunity.  Here’s a link to order it: NEXT STOP

 

Lynn

 

 

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16 Comments

  1. By Word of Mouth Musings
    March 21, 2012

    Maybe it is time you stopped and wrote this book … look what you took from this one with someone else’s experience , imagine what yours could do for someone else.
    And you could add humor – that would make it different, oh so very different ;)
    By Word of Mouth Musings recently posted..Wordy Wednesday Pine-Sol and a Deep Clean Diva CrownMy Profile

    • Lynn
      March 21, 2012

      Going to do it….just decided

  2. Jessie Powell
    March 21, 2012

    OK, wait. I’ll respond to the book review in a minute. I haven’t even read it yet. I have to talk about your Daniel post first, and you closed out comments probably a thousand years ago.

    Do you have any idea how much HOPE Daniel’s story gives us? Sam has been expelled from one preschool already and he’s on constant question mark status at a second. One in the middle flatly refused him because of his behavior issues. He takes two kinds of medications and yet is still liable to get up on the swingset and throw rocks.

    It’s so nice to see a picture of a boy with similar issues who is making it, HAS MADE IT. Unlike Daniel, Sam LOVES his muscle compressions and brushings. He throws himself in the floor and tells us what to brush next (god forbid we should fuck up the order). And he requires wrestling for added arm compressions and biking for added leg compressions.

    We got an IEP from the public school, but like you, we have no intentions of going that route with our kiddos. Caroline already attends a school for kids with ADHD, Asperger’s, and HFA, and Sam is signed up for next year. Expensive, but so worthwhile when I see what happens to my friends with kids on the spectrum in the public school system. (And let’s face it. They may give out no retirement loans, but the things that happen in your formative years can screw you for life, so I would bankrupt myself to get these kids through the right schools.)

    Sam has already led a small in-class rebellion, and yesterday he got in trouble for starting a light saber battle with his Star Wars themed gogurt. The list just goes on and on.

    I’ve always known my kids were on the spectrum. Caroline from birth, when she couldn’t latch, could NOT LATCH nursing, and Sam from about 9 months old when I realized he didn’t know his name yet even though he had mad skillz where motor development was concerned. Scott was the one more like you were in those initial worst days, in denial about the significance of certain behaviors and developmental delays.

    And where Caroline has always been very sweet and nonviolent, Sam has always had this dangerous streak that scares the piss out of me. So, with the caveat that I know it was Daniel’s story and that not everything can be ‘fixed’, I’ll tell you I have a lot more hope this morning after spending an hour getting Mr. Clawberry (Sam’s nickname when he’s scratching everything he can reach) to the car.

    • Lynn
      March 21, 2012

      I know what you mean..Luis morning I saw a tweet that was the third sign I should write a book…feel free to Email me and best of luck

  3. Jester Queen
    March 21, 2012

    OK, I wrote a huge discussion of my son to respond to your post about Daniel, but it’s vanished. I probably clicked the wrong thing. Anyway, the book looks awesome. I pick up pretty much everything of this nature that comes along, and I’m going to have to have it.

    • Lynn
      March 21, 2012

      Just decided to write a book this morning about all this

  4. Julie
    March 21, 2012

    I’ll likely put this one on my “maybe” list. I tend to read mindless fluff, strictly for amusement. Kinda like your blog … ;)

    • Lynn
      March 21, 2012

      My blog? Mindless stuff??????? What????

  5. Pamela D Hart
    March 21, 2012

    Lynn, I’m glad you decided to write your book. I really believe this “book review” was a sign that you should.

    I think your story would be an inspiration for so many others, and not just people who are dealing with autistic children. But anyone facing adversity in general. You‘ve gone through more than your share and have remained optimistic, good-natured and you haven’t lost your sense of humor. Many people could learn from you and your experiences.
    Pamela D Hart recently posted..Dinner With A ClownMy Profile

    • Lynn
      March 21, 2012

      Thanks…now I just have to sit down and do it!!! Not so easy though

  6. Pierre D. Richardson
    March 21, 2012

    Some people are not interested in reading the books but it helps to increase our knowledge thanks! i really like this.
    Pierre D. Richardson recently posted..Book Review — Next Stop by Glen FinlandMy Profile

    • Lynn
      March 21, 2012

      you’re welcome

  7. Brien27
    March 22, 2012

    Sometimes people don’t read a book..but continue writing a good book..more people will inspired on your work.
    Brien27 recently posted..In 2012 Ouroboros Doomsday Clock 10 JulyMy Profile

  8. Luna
    March 23, 2012

    Very interesting book indeed! Keep sharing some more excellent review.. :)
    Luna recently posted..Best Time To ConceiveMy Profile

  9. Shalani
    March 23, 2012

    Great review Lyn! Cant wait to read it too..I’m interested to read these…Thanks for sharing your review….
    Shalani recently posted..Tips To Lose Weight With HCG And Feel Great!My Profile

    • Lynn
      March 23, 2012

      it was an interesting book

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