Love Anthony

Love Anthony

Large Print - 2013
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Olivia Donatelli's dream of a "normal" life shattered when her son, Anthony, was diagnosed with autism at age three. Understanding the world from his perspective felt bewildering. And just as Olivia began to realize that happiness and autism could coexist, Anthony died. Now Olivia is alone in a cottage on Nantucket, separated from her husband, desperate to understand the meaning of her son's short life, when a chance encounter with another woman facing her own loss brings Anthony alive again for Olivia in a most unexpected way.
Publisher: Waterville, Maine : Thorndike Press, 2013
Copyright Date: ©2012
ISBN: 9781410454461
1410454460
Branch Call Number: LGE-TYPE FICTION GENOVA 2013
Characteristics: 461 pages ; 23 cm

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susan_findlay
Jun 16, 2017

This book is very difficult to rate. I'm giving it 5 stars because I think that the things I didn't like about it were necessary to set up the part I loved. And the part I loved was amazing.

The second half of this book is beautiful and compelling and wonderful. So is half of the first half.

Basically, this is the story of two women, but one of them has a story that is so much more interesting and compelling than the other that I felt let down every time the book switched away from her to the other woman. For the first half of the book, anyway.

Olivia is the mother of an autistic boy who passed away (while still a child) fairly recently. Hers is the story of the effect of that child, Anthony, on her marriage and her life. At times, we are in the present where she is dealing with the death of her child and questioning. Why did he have to have autism? Why did he have to be nonverbal? Why did he have to die? At times, she reads old journal entries that take us back to the days when Anthony was alive, and we get to experience his life from her perspective.

And then there's Beth. Beth will become necessary to Olivia's story because she winds up channeling Anthony and writing about all those Anthony/Olivia events from Anthony's perspective (which requires a little suspension of disbelief, but it works within the world the author has created). But before she starts writing his story, it feels like every moment spent with Beth is wasted because it could have been spent with Olivia. It's not that Beth's story is uninteresting; it's that it's not Olivia's story. After she starts writing, I became happy to visit with Beth because I got to hear Anthony's stories. But, for the first half of the book, you feel as if the author wants you to care equally about the two women, and I just couldn't.

This is the story of Olivia and her son Anthony. The parts that aren't about them take away from the beauty that is their story. But I'm not sure how else the author could have set up Beth's writing of Anthony's half of the story in an organic way.

AL_CYNTHIA May 18, 2017

What does it take to heal the broken hearts of Olivia and Beth? Feel the sand in your toes and the sting of a cold sea breeze in the midst of this warm tale of a boy named Anthony.

c
cara123
Jun 09, 2016

Interesting story, I liked when Beth was writing from the perspective of a child with autism, but it was kind of off putting when we learned that Beth was actually transmitting these thoughts from a strangers deceased son who had autism--it kind of seemed a little far fetched in my opinion, not to mention a little bit unbelievable. However, with that aside, the main characters were developed quite well, and the epilogue at the end was touching, and concluded the book nicely.

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Gramawendy
Jun 30, 2015

Beautiful story .... What a gifted author. I really was touched by Still Alice, and this book did not disappoint me.

ehbooklover Dec 13, 2014

While I fully admit that it was difficult for me to suspend my disbelief at times, this didn't stop me from enjoying this title. Somehow despite this, I could not put the book down and I ended up reading it in just one day. A touching and uplifting book about loving someone unconditionally.

A patron review from the Adult Summer Game: "I was disappointed in this novel. The author wrote Still Alice, an excellent book, so I was expecting more. The novel seems so contrived."

Solomon_1 Jan 31, 2014

Loved this book, it gave me a much deeper insight to autistic children.

s
SusannahElf
Jan 07, 2014

I really hesitated before opening this one because I loathed "Left Neglected" so very much. And some of the problems I had with that book were evident in this one. Maybe Genova's income as a neurologist and best-selling author make these moneyed characters appear realistic to her, but I'd have been more interested to see how a working class family would cope with an autistic child. I know lots of them through my work with special needs kids, and they for damn sure aren't throwing money at the problem hoping to "fix" their child. So the wisdom that the one mother gets to after 10 years (accept reality and enjoy the moments as the come, because autistic people are pretty interesting in their own unique ways), most of my parents have gained after the first shock. I also did not enjoy the parts of the book that were "in the voice" of the autistic boy. It is a mistake to use words to describe the thought processes of a non-verbal person. It puts more weight on the inability of an autistic person to express their thoughts, rather than on the essential un-knowability of how they think. You'd do as well writing in the voice of a wild animal (like Andrew Pyper did in that forest fire book where he "spoke" as a vengeful mother grizzly bear and looked pretty silly doing it...). I'm not saying that people with autism aren't humans, just that it's presumptuous to think that a non-autist can speak for them.

carrilis Dec 17, 2013

Still Alice is still my favorite book by this author. This one is good, but not great. It's the story of two women whose lives intersect by chance. One has a recently deceased autistic son, the other a writer who just so happens to be writing a book about an autistic boy who strangely(?) mirrors that of the bereaved mother. The characters are well developed and the story lines for each of the women are well thought out, however, I felt like the book/story/boy were just a little too coincidental.

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Mmc0119
Aug 01, 2013

My friends really enjoyed this but I just couldn't. I found that the characters were never fully developed and I couldn't relate.

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