Title: The Anti-Romantic Child: A Story of Unexpected Joy
Author: Priscilla Gilman
This is the book I read on the Denver to Salt Lake leg of the trip this morning. Gilman writes evocatively about her son Benjamin, who was diagnosed with hyperlexia at the age of three. At the time, Gilman and her husband were both PhD candidates at Yale, great lovers of language, and it came as a blow to her that although Benjamin could read fluently at two, he couldn't absorb normal human conversation. Gilman writes honestly and evocatively, and I found myself feeling a kinship with her-- both of us have bright and difficult oldest sons whose greatest strengths are part of what could be classified as a disability. Both boys struggle socially and in school, and require constant vigilance from their parents. Honestly, Gilman is much more vigilant than I have been-- I've been relatively content to throw Bryce at the public schools and hope for the best, but she's been extremely proactive with therapists and special schools for her son, who has made progress. In the end though, Benjamin is still different. Bryce is still different. It's the "being different" that's both wonderful and hard. While I loved Gilman's memoir and appreciated her honesty in her journey with Benjamin, the thing I liked least about the book is how she viewed everything through the lens of the romantic poets. If found the passages of poetry a little distracting and a little affected, but eventually I just started skipping them and I liked the book a lot better after that.