Tuesday, 14 July 2020

2020 Reading Challenge | A Place For Everything by Anna Wilson

[AD/Gifted: I received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you click to buy anything through a link on this page, I will earn a few pennies at no extra cost to you.]

A Place For Everything by Anna Wilson - 5/5 
Blurb: Anna grew up in a house that was loving, even if her mum was 'a little eccentric'. They knew to keep things clean, to stay quiet, and to look the other way when things started to get 'a bit much for your mum'.

It's only when her mother reaches her 70s, and Anna has a family of her own, that the cracks really start to appear. More manic. More irrational. More detached from the world. And when her father, the man who calmed and cajoled her mother through her entire life becomes unwell, the whole world turns upside down.

This is a story of a life lived with undiagnosed autism, about the person behind the disorder, those big unspoken family truths, and what it means to care for our parents in their final years.

Review: "People have this image of autistic people - that we are completely closed down, mute, only fit for a job at Google or something. Why can't the general public understand that we're humans first and autistic second?"

I don't think I can give this book anything less than five stars. It is a beautiful, heartfelt and raw account of living with a mother with undiagnosed autism.

Wilson writes about her mother's behaviours both when she was a child and as an adult with her own children. Autism has always been around but it has only been recognised relatively recently and we understand it more these days. Everyone, even medical professionals, think she is "crazy", has mental health issues and rely on medicating her.

As the mother of an autistic child, it was heartbreaking to read about how Anna felt about her mother's behaviour. As readers, we obviously know she is autistic, but no one did at that point so it was irritating (to say the least!) to have to just put up with it. 

You feel the absolute sense of relief when the family discover that it could potentially be autism.

"'...have you ever thought that your mother might be on the autism spectrum?' Another jolt of electricity. Cogs whirr. Gears shift. Clunk clunk clunk. The pieces fall into place. An axe is hurled against the glass box, and we are free."

I resonated with this a lot because it is similar to how we felt when our son was diagnosed. It was like a glass shattered and everything slotted into place. We realised "THAT'S why he does that!" A lot of the traits, I recognised, such as keeping everything inside whilst around others but then having a meltdown or letting everything out when you were in your "safe space" with the family that you trust.

I loved the quotes at the beginning of each chapter and they are all annotated at the back of the book for additional reading. A Place For Everything is a wonderful read, whether you have any experience with autism or not.

It is beautifully written and I would thoroughly recommend.

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