Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Daniel Isn't Talking by Marti Leimbach By: Lezah Williamson

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Dave always tells this self-deprecating story about when he was in Grade 6 and he read a Stephen King short story book, thinking he was reading a novel, and puzzling for about half the book about how the writer was going to pull all these disparate storylines and characters together...

Anyway, I had kind of the same experience when reading Marti Leimbach's latest novel, Daniel Isn't Talking. It wasn't quite as embarrassing or confusing an experience, though: I was just under the impression at first that I was reading a non-fiction book as opposed to fiction.

Once I got that sorted out, though, I was off to the races.

Anyway, the book deals with American Melanie Marsh, who is living in London in what sounds like a beautiful place with her British husband and their two children. The book chronicles the culture clash that is her marriage, and outlines the struggles Melanie has in getting anyone to first acknowledge her son's problems, and then come to a diagnosis. When Daniel is pronounced autistic, it's more than her husband can handle; he flees the family home, straight into the arms of the woman who, his own family feels, he should have married in the first place.

Melanie is left on her own, selling off the bits and pieces of their life in order to finance the expensive therapies that will return Daniel to something closer to his pre-autistic self.

When Melanie meets play therapist Andy O'Connor, the resulting changes in her life are more than she had anticipated.

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