~Rumi

All day I think about it, then at night I say it. Where did I come from, and what am I supposed to be doing? I have no idea. My soul is from elsewhere, I'm sure of that. And I intend to end up there...Who looks out with my eyes? What is the soul? I cannot stop asking. If I could taste one sip of an answer, I could break out of this prison...I didn't come here of my own accord, and I can't leave that way. Whoever brought me here will have to take me home.

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16 June 2010

The Uncharted Path: My Journey with Late-Diagnosed Autism, by Rachel B. Cohen-Rottenberg


In case you don't know this about me, I am an aspiring author (Young Adult paranormal fiction, short stories, and nonfiction) and so it pleases me greatly to compose this post--yay! What a treat!

Congratulations to my friend Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg on her memoir about life, love, struggle, and joy through the eyes of a woman awakening to her place on the autism spectrum!

It was an honor to review this novel (check out the back cover!) Here's what I had to say:

"The Uncharted Path is a journey that moves from lonely beginnings to a meaningful kinship found within the Autistic community. This book is an excellent example of how capable autistic people are at self-growth and acceptance. Readers will gain insight into the determination it takes to move from a three-year-old child's budding realization of the vast chasm of separation between the autistic self and the world to the adult realization of: It's me. It's just me. Rachel puts it well by stating that the key to developing a new sense of belonging is to cultivate a new sense of self-acceptance. A place on my bookshelf has been earned by this memoir, as it is right up there with my personal favorites authored by individuals on the spectrum."

There were many times in reading Rachel's book that she struck a chord of recognition in my own life story. I especially liked how she described what it is like to always be functioning at emergency level (pre-diagnosis). When I look back, it's truly amazing that autistic people like us have survived. Emergency level is definitely not a daily state I ever want to enter again. It takes a strong sense of realization--in addition to an astute competent diagnostician--to move beyond wondering why you are different to knowing and accepting why you are different.

Rachel carries her point forward by writing clear and succinct. I will never forget this sentence: After a half-century of feeling invisible, unworthy, and utterly strange, I wanted someone else to see me, to hear me, to understand me, to take me seriously, and to not send me away until I got a label that made sense.

This book also provides valuable insight into the things us autistic parents can do. I laughed aloud when Rachel shared her husband's response when, like all mothers, Rachel questions her adeptness: “Oh, for goodness sake. Look at your child. How is she doing? Good self-esteem? Basically happy? Friends she enjoys? Yes? Can we start dinner?”

This title will be available as of July 2010. To purchase a copy, click here (be advised that you will need to wait until July, which is just around the corner).

Be sure to check out Rachel's blog, Journeys with Autism.

(Love your book cover, Rachel! And I love you too!)

Related post:

Autistic Aspirations: Do We Have the Same Chances?

5 comments:

  1. The book sounds interesting.

    Have you had any of your work published yet? I am currently working on a YA novel and am building up my publishing credentials with short stories.

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  2. Hello, Stephanie. Yes, I am also following the short-story-credentials-to-novel-publication (fingers crossed) route. Thank you for chiming in!

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  3. I have just bought Thomas Armstrong's book Neurodiversity and I am loving it! I would like to find a bookstore where I know a good amount of money goes to the authors, since they deserve it. I will keep an eye open for this book, as well as any of yours :)

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  4. Catatab--thanks for stopping by!

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  5. This looks like a wonderful book. Thanks so much for reviewing it! I look forward to reading one of yours someday as well! :-)

    Karen

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