A while back I got an email inviting me to review a book, and the publisher even offered to send me a free copy in exchange for doing a review. This blog does often result in some interesting offers (no job offers tho, haha) but I do not do many of them. I like blogging because I can do it in my own time, in my own way. I also do not read a whole lot of books on autism much anymore. I’ve been around the business enough that I know they generally follow a similar formula. Basically they tend to follow the story of a couple who give birth to a seemingly normal child and then within 2-3 years discover their child has some sort of developmental delays. They are thrown into fits of grief, rage and searching. Then the reader is led through a myriad of treatments and therapies, hoping against hope trying to find a cure. And each book author has found some sort of cure or recovery story. Or so it seems.
Autism & Alleluias is not that sort of book at all. In fact, it is more of a Bible inspirational devotional than a real story. Kathleen Buldoc may have covered the autobiographical formula in an earlier work, but this one is put together differently. In 39 little chapters, she conveys a different lesson in each that her son has taught her even in the midst of being nearly overwhelmed by the trials and tribulations of raising a son on the autism spectrum.
Each chapter begins with a Bible scripture, then Buldoc shares a story of something that happened with her son. It might be a call from the school, trying to sit in church, a vacation gone awry or any number of challenges that all of us parents are familiar with. She will share her frustration and emotions before also sharing the lesson that each event teaches. At the very end of each chapter, there is a prayer thanking God for the lessons learned. It is basically about how she finds God expressed in raising a son with autism.
I found the stories encouraging as this was a good demonstration of the pluck and courage of one mother in spite of some very real and very large challenges. Her son had many behavioral issues including some that seemed quite aggressive such as hair pulling and grabbing glasses. It shed a light on how gratitude could be expressed even in some dark situations.
I did buy the book and once my wife reads it, I have no doubt is will be passed along to someone else. In fact, when it came in the mail I had to admonish Jane not to run off with it as she was REALLY interested it. So it is safe to say that just about any christian mother of a child with autism would identify with, and like this book. It is one of the few that lays out some comfort without a lot of guilt. Many books that purport a cure,will leave a reader feeling very guilty for not trying it out or doing it, all in the name of finding a cure. Kathleen does not do that in this book, but she does guide the way into finding more acceptance with her son and finding acceptance with God.
So all-in-all, I would say it was a worthwhile purchase, even though it is well outside of the genre of books that I normally read and buy. I would be more apt to buy this for someone else rather than myself. So I think this might make a good gift book for christian parents of children with disabilities, especially autism.