Book Review: Lonely Girl, Gracious God---A Mother's Story of Autism's Devastation and God's Promise of Enduring Love by Lauri Khodabandehloo

I knew little about autism before reading this book. It was a disorder that I'd not heard of before seeing the movie Rain Man in 1988. Even after seeing this movie it was still a bit of a mystery as I'd not had any contact with children or adults that had autism. This is just one of the reasons that I love reading, because I am exposed to life stories of people. In Lonely Girl, Gracious God I learned not only about autism, but the journey of one family that has lived daily with this disorder.


Published by Deep River Books March 2011/266 pages/Non-Fiction/Autism
Link for the book @ publisher:
http://www.deepriverbooks.com/deepriver-bookstore/coming-soon/lonely-girl-gracious-god.html
Paperback price $13.99

Link for the book @ Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Lonely-Girl-Gracious-God-Devastation/dp/1935265466/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1302632854&sr=8-1
Paperback price $11.89 and Kindle price $8.99

April is National Autism Awareness Month, follow the link for more information:
http://www.autism-society.org/about-us/national-autism-awareness-month/

More links for education on Autism:
http://thechart.blogs.cnn.com/2011/04/06/on-the-brain-inside-autism/
The above link has an informative video.

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001526.htm

http://autism.com/index_b.asp

http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/autism/detail_autism.htm

Thank you to Bring It On Communications! and Deep River Books for my free review book.

Lauri and her husband Cody are expecting baby number 4 and they are less than excited. Lauri who had waited a while before telling her husband of the impending baby, spends most of her pregnancy with the overwhelming feeling that something is not right. After a difficult labor baby Fee as she is called by her family, or Farema her given name, makes her entrance. From the beginning of Farema's life, Lauri works tirelessly to hide behavior and to shelter her baby girl. Lauri sternly rejects any innuendos or talk from well-meaning people that her youngest daughter has a disorder. Lauri even hides information from her husband.

In Lonely Girl, Gracious God I saw a tedious and even awkwardness in Lauri's denial and evolving knowledge and reaction to Farema. She wants to know what is wrong with Farema, yet she doesn't want to know.
Some of Lauri's rejection of the truth is grounded in her own insecurities and fears, feelings of guilt and remorse from past decisions. She also had a rigid and strict upbringing which began a pattern of feelings of never measuring up to what was expected of her, and also feeling as if she must be the one in charge of putting out fires so to speak before "it" is found out. 
The book gives a thorough and physically exhausting (even to me the reader) description of Lauri's plight with making sure Farema had the best in education, the best physician's, the best in childcare, and the best home life. I was exhausted by Lauri's endurance and perseverance in caring for Farema.We are told of her reading the research in what could be done to help Farema.
Lauri shares the sleepless nights, temper tantrums, disappearances, and inability to communicate from Farema.
Lauri's husband Cody is a Muslim. The difficulty in cultural and religious differences is explored lightly.
In chapter 4 Lauri backed up to her first marriage, divorce, single parenting, how she met Cody, and why she married him. I think that in all of the book this was the chapter that I disliked most. For most of the book the emphasis was on Farema's autism and Lauri and the family caring for her. Then I was detoured off of the story and taken on down another road so to speak, albeit it a bumpy road. I felt it took away from the subject of autism and Lauri's story. A little information about Lauri's previous life would have been sufficient.
Unless you have walked a mile in the shoes of a parent that has cared for a child with special needs, you cannot fully understand. I felt though that after reading Lonely Girl, Gracious God I have a greater understanding and knowledge, and a greater love and respect for parents that have a special needs child.
I am glad that Lauri shared her story!

Blissful Reading!
Annette

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