Genre: Domestic Fiction
Ever since Ruby was tiny, she has been unique. Her smiles are magically rare, her building blocks are always colour-coded, and she communicates only in gestures. Sometimes being Ruby’s mother is hard, but the way she sees the world makes it new for Sara every day. And she and her husband work hard to give their daughter the happy family life she deserves.
So when Sara’s husband walks out on them without any warning, Sara’s world falls apart. She can’t imagine life without him. He was the only other person who could calm Ruby down, and who Sara could rely on to hold her in his arms and listen after a long, exhausting day of pleading with Ruby to eat, calm down, explain why she’s crying.
Without other family of her own, her mother-in-law, Barbara, is the only person Sara can turn to for help. But Barbara thinks Ruby’s problems are all in Sara’s head; that she just doesn’t know how to raise a child right.
Alongside dealing with her difficult mother-in-law, Sara is also juggling a new job and the emotional wrench of Ruby starting pre-school, all alone while her heart is breaking. It feels like a struggle to give Ruby the warm, stable home she deserves and Sara just can’t see how she will cope alone. But then Ruby surprises them. Can a little girl who doesn’t speak show both women the way?
My verdict: A beautiful, powerful and heartbreaking story about a mum who wants to help her daughter. This book made me realise how many hoops someone has to jump through to get their child a diagnosis and the eternal yearning a parent has to receive affection from their own child. This family drama also looks at the prejudices faced by parents who’s kid is ’a little bit different and examines the strides we’ve made in inclusivity and how far we still have to go. The book answers the eternal question: can we adapt and survive when we need to or are some of us simply born with a purpose to help others? Unfortunately, this book does deal with a marital breakup because of the tension of having a child with special needs places on a marriage. (but if you want my true opinion between you and me I just thought Sarah‘s husband was a narcissist attention seeker who thought the world revolves around him because of the sheltered upbringing) however, this book definitely shows the length any parent will go to to help the child progress in life and especially with the child that has a disability you almost find a new purpose in advocating for them. But this isn’t a book about autism, it’s about the highs and lows about having a child with special educational needs and the consideration that we still need to give and instead of condemning each other’s parenting choices we should be supporting one another. I loved how we saw Sarah and Mark‘s mother blossom once she opened up to her daughter-in-law and by excepting the fact that her granddaughter is autistic rather than fighting it is a massive redemption for her, for recognising the help loved how we saw Sarah and Mark‘s mother blossom once she opened up to her daughter-in-law and by excepting the fact that her granddaughter is autistic rather than fighting it is a massive redemption for her, for recognising the help she’ll need. I loved that when Sarah felt like she was being listened to and supported by medical professionals, families and friends we saw a metamorphosis and who rediscovering the person she was before she became a mother. We also learned from the novel that not everybody is life is perfect as it may seem and with Lisa we see cracks begin to show. It also teaches us that we can make a friend in the most unlikely of places with the most unlikely of people, and have a helping hand can make a world of difference as well as acknowledging that parenting isn’t an overall competition.