Review: Love Anthony

Love Anthony
Love Anthony by Lisa Genova
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Source: With thanks to Simon & Schuster and The Reading Room for providing with a copy of this lovely book. Get your own copy from The Book Depository

I’ve heard of Still Alice of course but I’ve not yet read it so this is my first foray into Genova and I totally loved it! On the back of the book is a quote from Jodi Picoult, “Remember how you couldn’t put down Still Alice? Well, clear your schedule – because you’re going to feel the same way”. It was definitely hard to put this book down between reads (had to work in between as I was reading on commute to / from work), so I can support Jodi Picoult’s recommendation in clearing out a few hours in order to enjoy this novel. It’s really something you just do not want to put down.

My encounter with autism is really limited. Except for one boy at church of whom I rarely interact with, I do not know much at all of this condition. I do know how hard it must be for families with autistic children. I have a healthy 3 year old boy and even I find it hard at times so I can only imagine just how much harder & heart breaking it must’ve been to mothers of autistic children. Reading this book (which has been spoken about by mothers with autistic children as so very close to the real situation in their lives) was an eye-opener. It’s crazy hard! My absolute admiration to those mothers for their strength, courage, and endurance!

On another note, this book speaks to me more of our identities – of just how we can let things like children and chores take over and so forget our unique selves. Understandably, Olivia was drowning in her busy-ness in caring for Anthony and much heartache whilst Beth kind of set things aside to care for her 3 children, husband, and home. The point is you can be ‘busy’ in many ways and be carried away so that your ‘uniqueness’ is swept away in the torrent of other things.

She tries for a moment to take her own advice. Be yourself. But who is she? She’s Jimmy’s wife, and she’s a mother. And if she gets divorced, if she’s no longer Mrs James Ellis, and she’s only a mother, then is there less of her? She fears this and feels it already, physically, as if a surgeon has taken a scalpel to her abdomen and removed a whole and necessary part of her. Without Jimmy, she doesn’t recognize herself. How can that be? Who has she become?

Assuredly, this is one of my best reads this year. I was just past the halfway mark when I thought of re-reading this book again. But before I do, I want to make sure the schedule is clear – no husband / child to care for, phones off, etc because I really want to enjoy this book in full (in peace). Highly recommended!

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