“Schuyler’s Monster: a Father’s Journey with His Wordless Daughter” by Robert-Rummel Hudson
Schuyler (pronounced Sky-ler, I couldn’t make myself think that through the whole book) is the author’s daughter, who was born with a brain deformity that caused her to be unable to speak. The family spent several years just trying to get a name for her condition, which the author calls “the monster.” Even though he emphasizes his daughter’s fascination with movie monsters and how much he loves her even though she is different, I have to admit that I was pretty uncomfortable with him calling her condition a “monster”. I did like to read about her parents championing for her to get what she needed in school, despite doubting speech therapists and penny pinching school bureaucrats. I’ve read a lot of book by parents of children with autism, but this one was really interesting to me because I’m particularly interested in working with children who are non-verbal. A-
“A Child Called ‘It’” by Dave Pelzer
I saw Dave Pelzer speak a few days after I graduated high school, a few days after I’d broken up with my high school boyfriend, who was abused by his father-figure and wallowed in it. I remember that trying to express what Pelzer had overcome in himself to survive against a veritable Eeyore fortress was frustrating. I’d never read the full account of the inhumane abuse he endured as a child, singled out from his brothers as his mother’s scapegoat, narrowly escaping death sometimes by pure will not to let her win. It makes me admire him as a person so much more now. This book is not light reading. It’s horrible to think that a parent could torture a child so much. I think that it’s important for people to know these things though, especially people who plan to become parents or for people who work with children, to repel that evil-ness away from their relationships with children and to recognize signs of child abuse. A
“Wicked” by Gregory Maguire
This novel is based on The Wizard of Oz, but follows the birth and life of Elphaba, the future Wicked Witch of the West. Elphaba is born with green skin, to a mother who cheats and an ultra-pious father. She is sent away to school where she meets Galinda and a troop of other characters with “Wizard” connections like a Munchinlander and a Winkie prince. Following a violent incident at school, Elphaba leaves and gets involved in a conspiracy, things go wrong there, she leaves, and eventually she owns the role of Wicked Witch of the West. I felt like I was maybe supposed to feel sympathetic towards Elphaba, but she was so bitter and closed off, without any real hidden gems of virtue in her at all, that I never did like her. But I never got fond of Galinda either, because she was so shallow. I kind of felt the story did a bait and switch with Elphaba’s love life, and I didn’t understand why the author chose that character for her lover. It was interesting to see where this alternate story lined up with the Wizard of Oz sometimes, and sometimes it was overwrought. It’s good, but had some flaws as a story. B-
I also read “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” and “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” again this month.