NEW this week…
The Spark: A Mother’s Story of Nurturing Genius by Kristine Barnett
4 of 5 stars
The memoir of a mother whose drive to nurture and support her autistic son in his own interests reveals his mathematical genius.
That night, I had the distinct feeling — which has never been very far away since — that Jake was going to use his amazing brain to make a significant contribution to the world.
In the meantime, though, I had to get him into kindergarten.
With my background in education, I’ve read quite a few books on kids with special needs or academic gifts. Regardless, I loved reading Jake’s story, as told through the eyes of his mother.
Jake’s story is one that so many people need to hear. With the prevalence of autism today, it’s great to be reminded that these kids can do amazing things. Even if all kids don’t end up being prodigies like Jake, taking the time and effort to focus on a child’s strengths is a good lesson for all parents (and teachers). Jake’s story was incredible, very touching, and a great reminder for parents everywhere to hug their kids, to make quality time for playing with them, and to not let a diagnosis (whether it’s autism or something else entirely) be an excuse for giving up on your child.
The downfalls of this book were all minor. A personal pet peeve of mine was when the author switched back and forth between referring to her husband as “Mike” and “Michael” — at first, it confused me; then it just irritated me.
Another minor thing that bugged me was the focus on the family’s financial situation — with somewhat over-the-top spending in the first half, then a constant concern in the second half. I feel weird even questioning the sharp contrast, because really, their personal finances are no one’s business but their own, yet it was a part of the book, so, it’s hard to ignore.
Overall: An awesome story about an amazing kid and his never-give-up, never-surrender family.