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by Jennifer Overton
Jessica Kingsley, 2003
Review by Dana Vigilante on Feb 28th 2006

Snapshots of Autism

An excellent book from start to finish, this story chronicles one year in the life of an autistic eleven-year-old boy.  Written with candor and honesty by Nicholas' mother, Jennifer, the diary touches on the bad days as well as the good.  It also sheds light on the toll that raising an autistic child can take on a parent, as well as the obstacles and milestones that Nicholas meets along the way.

The story is written, for the most part, in diary form, allowing the reader to feel just how trying some days can be for Jennifer and her husband, David as well as for Nicholas.   As the only photos here are the few on the cover of the book, each chapter is considered a "snapshot".   Although the chapters can be confusing chronologically, they still have the ability to make the reader feel what family life is like for the Overton's on a day-t-day basis, and gives a broad spectrum of the unpredictability of autism. While the book gives an honest view of autism, the direction of the chapters can become very confusing.  One chapter is written in the form of a script, as if the reader is studying the lines of a play, another in the form of an interview and one interesting chapter plays out the Overton's wedding anniversary in the form of a "Newlyweds Game" episode.   Again, sometimes hard to follow, but nonetheless informative and honest. 

The faith, hope and love that the Overton's have is reflective in every page.  Because this book is written by the parent of an autistic child as opposed to a physician or counselor, the reader is more able to fully absorb what life is like for the Overton's.  A must-read for any parent or family member who has or knows a child who is autistic.

© 2006 Dana Vigilante

Dana Vigilante is a hospice educator as well as an advocate for proper end-of-life care and a certified bereavement group facilitator. Currently writing a book based on interviews with terminally ill hospice patients, she divides her time between New Jersey and San Francisco.




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