Book Review · Books

Hello Stranger

What would life be like growing up in the 60’s being Autistic and not knowing it till you are an adult? Barbara Moran writes about going through this in her memoir, Hello Stranger. Barbara was a unique child who found she didn’t quite bond with other humans, but found she grew attached to every day objects and had a very low tolerance for noise. Her family tried to help her, but as a little kid they decided to have her live at institution.

This institution was where Barbara could live and get the help she needed. The only problem is it didn’t seem like those who were there to help fully cared. Barbara tried her best to act what is considered normal, but felt she couldn’t fully be herself. Would she ever be allowed to go back home?

Instead of getting to return home to her family she is placed in a foster home where she is merely tolerated. Barbara just wants a life of her own, to not have to walk on egg shells around others.

As an adult Barbara is finally given a name for her struggles. Autistic. When she realizes there are others who have similar struggles with noise sensitivity, repetitive thoughts, etc. she finally knows she is not alone.

One thing that brings Barbara joy is drawing. Some favorite things she loves to draw are traffic lights, church buildings, airplanes, etc. Drawing has helped her express herself.

I received my complimentary copy of Hello Stranger by Barbara Moran with Karl Williams from KiCam Projects. The views expressed are mine. This memoir was outside my comfort zone. I can’t imagine my family making such a heart breaking decision to place me in an institution, to be at the mercy of doctors and staff. Barbara is a brave woman who endured so much before being diagnosed as an adult. I’m so glad her drawing brings her comfort and joy. If you want to expand your knowledge of Autism then I do recommend this memoir. I learned new things about Autism.

Book Review · Books

Rules Of Rain

Rules Of Rain is about a quirky cook loving teen, Rain, who helps watch over her Autistic twin brother, Ethan. Rain has worked out a schedule and rules of sorts for her brother to keep him happy and safe. Every day they go for a run together rain, or shine. Rain cooks unique dishes for her mom and brother to try. Life seems normal until her best friend comes over and Rain has the realization that her BFF has a crush on her brother. This wasn’t part of Ethan’s rules to keep him safe. This is out of her comfort zone, but does Ethan even realize a girl likes him? Rain gets partnered with her crush Liam in science. Will he end up being the boy of her dreams? This novel discusses the hard topics of family relationships and when to stand up for yourself. Romance is a big theme and the different ways that first love can be expressed. The other major theme is sibling relationships and how they can morph over time.

I can relate to Rain’s character because I, myself, struggle with being OCD in wanting things to be a certain way and when they aren’t I do tend to get grumpy. I’m not a cook, so I can’t relate to her cooking obsession, but I’d appreciate her unique cookies. As for Ethan, he’s a character that sort of stands off in the shadows, but then blossoms through out this book. The sibling relationship between Rain and Ethan is almost like classic older to younger sibling in how they relate to eat other since Rain is like a mother hen towards Ethan though they are twins. I can relate to Ethan in this regard because my younger sister has the dominant personality to my passive aggressive one.

If you love a book that will have you asking for more then go find a copy of this sweet, powerful book. I started it and it took a bit of time for me to get into the layout of the way the novel is laid out (Rain has her blog posts at the start of the chapters followed by Ethan’s journal entries), but once I got into the book’s rhythm I couldn’t put it down. I don’t know lots about Autism, so this novel was a nice primer on Autism. I received my ARC of Rules Of Rain by Leah Scheier from NetGalley in exchange for my review. I hope this book will be made into a movie because I want to watch it now.