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George & Sam: Two Boys, One Family, and…

George & Sam: Two Boys, One Family, and Autism

by Charlotte Moore

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This book is about the author's two oldest sons, George and Sam, who are both autistic, and her youngest son who is not autistic. The author talks about the daily struggles with her children, provides a vivid insight into autism and how it is experienced within a family.
  ThePinesLibrary | Feb 26, 2014 |
A fascinating look into a family with two autistic sons (and one neurotypical).

What's particularly helpful about this book is how it shows autism affecting the two boys differently. Their impairments are different; their treatments are different. Strong ammunition against the "this one thing will cure your child's autism, guaranteed!" crowd. ( )
  castiron | May 10, 2013 |
I've been trying to read this ever since I stumbled across an excerpt in [a:Nick Hornby|2929|Nick Hornby|http://photo.goodreads.com/authors/1254337802p2/2929.jpg]'s [b:The Polysyllabic Spree|4260|The Polysyllabic Spree A Hilarious and True Account of One Man's Struggle With the Monthly Tide of the Books He's Bought and the Books He's Been Meaning to Read|Nick Hornby|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1327723619s/4260.jpg|2961810] and finally got my hands on it through interlibrary loan. I kind of read it in one sitting. It is brilliant. It is funny and heartbreaking and fascinating and tender and every good adjective I can think of. Moore is tough as nails and clear-eyed in her gaze on her two non-neurotypical sons (who are, in her words, "autistic through and through"), but when she talks about how much she adores them, the lady doth not protest too much. You believe her. You believe that while every day brings fresh frustration, it also brings joy of a kind she cannot really convey.

I am ridiculously in love with Jake, her youngest -- who is neurotypical -- and the one thing I would like to see in a second edition which is almost wholly lacking in this one is an examination of Jake's relationship with his brothers. Since reading copperbadge's discussion of the prodigal son and siblings of the non-neurotypical, I have become much more sensitive to this (not to the extent of, uh, talking to my sister about how my depression affects her, but baby steps). Obviously, a five-year-old (which is how old Jake was at this writing) can't really have the same kind of deep conflict that Sam has or that my sister probably has, but I remain troubled by Moore's blithe assertion that she does not want Jake to feel responsible for the care of his brothers when he's older. I'm just not sure how she's planning to make that happen, especially since she doesn't seem to have a clear sense of what could or would happen to her sons if and when she can no longer care for them herself. It is clear to Moore and to the reader that George and Sam almost certainly will not be able to live independently as adults, but there is a real...blitheness is the only word I can think of, to her tone, when she talks about it.

But as a whole? OMG SO GOOD.

(Also, please God, if only Charlotte Moore were the face for parents with autistic children, instead of Jenny McCarthy. The world would be better off.) ( )
  cricketbats | Mar 30, 2013 |
Since I work in the field of autism, people constantly give me books on autism for my birthday and Christmas. Most of them are fairly generic and stay unread beyond the first chapter. However, George & Sam is the single best book on autism I have ever read. Charlotte Moore is touching but realistic, giving the impression that she loves her autistic boys rather than the children she imagines she should have had. I recommend this to anyone who wants to know what autism is really like. ( )
1 vote podunk42 | Apr 30, 2008 |

This is a brilliant book about living with autism in your family. I found myself experiencing painful shocks of recognition every few pages, from the experience of the more “neurotypical” sibling, to the necessity of keeping important things (such as sugar and toothpaste) locked up, to the unintentional unkindnesses of friends and relatives. Our two girls are very different from Moore’s two boys, and all four are of course very different from each other – neither of ours can talk, while both of hers can; she has had more success with toilet training than we have; her boys apparently get along well with each other, while our four-year-old U is somewhat frightened of her ten-year-old sister B (who normally blithely ignores U, but has occasionally pulled her hair). Also, of course, she has managed to keep both of hers at home so far, whereas we are now expecting B to move out to full-time residential care in the next couple of months. Another extremely important difference is that my wife and I are still together. (Incidentally, I also realized that I know Moore’s father through liberal politics.) There are many good lines in the book, but I’ll just take this one from near the end as a good summary of the common ground I found with her:

"These mysterious, impossible, enchanting beings will always be among us, unwitting yardsticks for our own moral behaviour, uncomprehending challengers of our definition of what it means to be human."

You couldn’t take this book as an essential medical text on autism. Nick Hornby in his introduction makes parallels with Wild Swans and Claire Tomalin’s life of Pepys, but I think that’s a mistake: both of those are deeply factual books which we should take as serious academic contributions to the histories of China and of seventeenth-century England. (For instance, Moore writes about experiments with diet as a way of improving her children’s condition, but her account should be taken as a personal history rather than a medical recommendation; we’ve tried that and it made no difference apart from making B grumpy because there was no cheese.) I think a better parallel is with Rebecca West’s amazing Black Lamb and Grey Falcon, which is misleading and possibly even dangerous if taken as a factual history of Yugoslavia, but if read correctly as a human response to the experience of the Balkans is one of the great books of the twentieth century. Anyway, this is a great account of an important part of my world by someone who shares it. ( )
  nwhyte | Jul 14, 2007 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0141014539, Paperback)

Charlotte Moore has three children: the two oldest, George and Sam, are autistic; the youngest Jake is not. In this extraordinary book, which combines personal memoir with the most recent known information on this most fascinating and elusive of conditions, she describes the circumstances of their birth, behaviour, diagnosis, treatment - and brilliantly conveys what daily life is like for a family with autism. It's an invaluable book for anyone with an interest in childhood and child development.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:17 -0400)

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Combines personal memoir with the latest research on and information concerning autism, in the story of daily life in a family in which two of the three boys have been diagnosed with the elusive condition.

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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