Customer Reviews for

The Spark: A Mother's Story of Nurturing, Genius, and Autism

Average Rating 4.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

THE SPARK IS A STORY OF PARENTAL LOVE

This was one of the inspiring books I have ever read. It should give the parent of any child with autism hope and the courage to never give up when receiving a negative evaluation. Jacob's mother was a remarkable mother and teacher who not only recognized the natural ab...
This was one of the inspiring books I have ever read. It should give the parent of any child with autism hope and the courage to never give up when receiving a negative evaluation. Jacob's mother was a remarkable mother and teacher who not only recognized the natural abilities of her own child but other autistic children as well. Her second child was born with very serious health problems,she suffered a stroke before 30 but that never deterred her from her goal
to have Jacob reach his full potential. He is a 14 year old prodigy. A mother's love can work miracles.

posted by 10893361 on April 19, 2013

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

I am in the vast minority when it comes to this book.  I, like t

I am in the vast minority when it comes to this book.  I, like the author, am a mother of two kids on the autism spectrum who are both profoundly gifted.  I was excited when this book arrived in the mail.  




One of the reasons I didn't care for this book is that it w...
I am in the vast minority when it comes to this book.  I, like the author, am a mother of two kids on the autism spectrum who are both profoundly gifted.  I was excited when this book arrived in the mail.  




One of the reasons I didn't care for this book is that it was too much about the mother and not enough about her son.  I think reading a story that was just about Jake would had been captivating.  It is very impressive what he has been able to accomplish in his young life and it is going to be impressive where he goes from her. 




I think that the author has some great ways of helping her son, but that doesn't mean they are the only ways and everyone else is wrong.  This is what the author seems to want you to think.  Jake was lucky that his mother ran a day care so that he was around kids all day long.  For an autistic child, this could really help.  But most parents of autistic children do not have that.  




Some of the things made me question her ability to parent, such as the time when she had no heat and no food for her family during a winter.  




There are certainly aspects to this book that I liked and wished were more fleshed out, or at least written separately: One: make the story all about Jake.  Two: how the author's own health issues learned to adjust to her own struggles and how they affected her family.  Three: having her focus just on the "therapies" she has tried (those she came up with herself) and go into detail about them.  I think that the third would be invaluable!




I guess the thing that bothered me is that I should be able to relate to her because our children seem to have similar diagnosis, but I didn't.  As far as I know, children with autism cannot be "cured" of it.  They can learn to adapt more socially and some really surprise us with what they can do!  For me, my children aren't disabled, but being on the spectrum is just part of who they are.  Will they struggle in life? Yes, but everyone has their struggle in life... some are just more obvious.  








**I received this book from Goodreads First Reads in exchange for a review.  This did not affect my review in any way.**

posted by code7r on August 11, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2013

    THE SPARK IS A STORY OF PARENTAL LOVE

    This was one of the inspiring books I have ever read. It should give the parent of any child with autism hope and the courage to never give up when receiving a negative evaluation. Jacob's mother was a remarkable mother and teacher who not only recognized the natural abilities of her own child but other autistic children as well. Her second child was born with very serious health problems,she suffered a stroke before 30 but that never deterred her from her goal
    to have Jacob reach his full potential. He is a 14 year old prodigy. A mother's love can work miracles.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 4, 2013

    Moving!

    I couldn't put this book down! It's an incredibly moving story about a mom who goes to the ends of the earth to prove to everyone that her autistic son CAN do. The family's journey to dispel myths about autism were simple yet with jaw dropping results. When the book was over, I was craving more. Bravo Kris Barnett! Bravo Jake!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 27, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    The Spark is an AMAZING book about a child who was almost disreg

    The Spark is an AMAZING book about a child who was almost disregarded due to Autism. Instead, his mother focused on what was possible and the result is a staggering success. I highly recommend this book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 22, 2013

    Inspiring! Jacob Barnett is a prodigy in math and science. His

    Inspiring! Jacob Barnett is a prodigy in math and science. His accomplishments at 12 years of age in physics are astounding. However, the hurdles he and his family have had to overcome in order to bring this amazing intellect to life are just as monumental. The Spark chronicles the trials and tribulations that Kris and Jacob faced from very early childhood through his pre-teen years as they work together to overcome his autism related setbacks while also developing his abilities and interests in math and science. As the story unfolds, we see that Kris is just as amazing in her strength and determination as her son.
    This is an amazing story. The book is well written, endearing, and engaging. Kris is so down to earth and sweet it is like having a chat with a girlfriend. Her philosophy on supporting a child's innate abilities and interests makes perfect sense. We often don't give children enough credit, they are capable of great things and Kris’s memoir certainly demonstrates that. I am fascinated to see where all of the Barnett children end up, and I am inspired to be a more patient and supportive parent for having read this. Full disclosure: I have been provided a copy of the book for the purpose of providing a review; however the opinions presented are my own and not influenced or dictated by publisher or author.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2013

    This is an inspiring story of a loving strong woman who went out

    This is an inspiring story of a loving strong woman who went out on her own against the odds and prevailed. She saw something within her son and built on it. In her own simple way she not only helped Jacob but has helped many others. With this book  she will touch more lives then even she could have ever imagined. Well writen and a very easy book to read. I couldn't put it down.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 11, 2013

    I am in the vast minority when it comes to this book.  I, like t

    I am in the vast minority when it comes to this book.  I, like the author, am a mother of two kids on the autism spectrum who are both profoundly gifted.  I was excited when this book arrived in the mail.  




    One of the reasons I didn't care for this book is that it was too much about the mother and not enough about her son.  I think reading a story that was just about Jake would had been captivating.  It is very impressive what he has been able to accomplish in his young life and it is going to be impressive where he goes from her. 




    I think that the author has some great ways of helping her son, but that doesn't mean they are the only ways and everyone else is wrong.  This is what the author seems to want you to think.  Jake was lucky that his mother ran a day care so that he was around kids all day long.  For an autistic child, this could really help.  But most parents of autistic children do not have that.  




    Some of the things made me question her ability to parent, such as the time when she had no heat and no food for her family during a winter.  




    There are certainly aspects to this book that I liked and wished were more fleshed out, or at least written separately: One: make the story all about Jake.  Two: how the author's own health issues learned to adjust to her own struggles and how they affected her family.  Three: having her focus just on the "therapies" she has tried (those she came up with herself) and go into detail about them.  I think that the third would be invaluable!




    I guess the thing that bothered me is that I should be able to relate to her because our children seem to have similar diagnosis, but I didn't.  As far as I know, children with autism cannot be "cured" of it.  They can learn to adapt more socially and some really surprise us with what they can do!  For me, my children aren't disabled, but being on the spectrum is just part of who they are.  Will they struggle in life? Yes, but everyone has their struggle in life... some are just more obvious.  








    **I received this book from Goodreads First Reads in exchange for a review.  This did not affect my review in any way.**

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2013

    Awesome Book!!!

    This story is so inspirational! I went through the whole gamut of emotions on this one, from laughing to crying. This is such a great read, you won't be disappointed!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2013

    Outstanding.  Every parent can learn something to apply to their

    Outstanding.  Every parent can learn something to apply to their own children...regardless of a diagnosis.  Read this book, share this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2013

    Amazing

    I went through so many emotions while reading this book. From crying to laughing. Very uplifting! I need more books like this! Keeps me motivated with my autistic son, the challenges he has overcome and the more to come.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 19, 2013

    This is one of the most inspiring books that I have ever read.

    This is one of the most inspiring books that I have ever read. Since I have an autistic grandson, this book really hit home and gave me hope for his future. This is a must read for anyone touched by this growing epidemic, but especially the parents of autistic children. Bless you Kristine Barnett!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 13, 2013

    This woman Rocks!!  I was blessed to meet Kristine and benefit f

    This woman Rocks!!
     I was blessed to meet Kristine and benefit from her encouragement personally. Experts had said so many unhelpful things to us regarding our then 11  year old son with autism. Kristine gave me hope and insight that I quote to this day. My son is 15 now and most people can't see the autism in him. I trusted my instincts, followed my heart, tossed out the low expectations experts had for my son. Three years ago he hadn't written a complete sentence on his own, now he writes fan fiction for his favorite books and is academically beyond everyone's expectations.
    When you have a special needs child most people take three steps backward, Kristine took three steps forward. I am excited that others can finally benefit from her kindness. These kids are going to shine we just have to find what makes them spark! 

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 12, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Light it! Jake is a remarkable child who might have never been

    Light it!

    Jake is a remarkable child who might have never been able to help anyone or pursue his passion had it not been for an insightful, creative, dedicated woman. His Mom. This family's life definitely held to one of my family motto's "If nothing else, Life is never boring!" Having had a brilliant father who was still defending his patents for chemical compounds well into his late 60's, yet never could tell his right from his left or which way was North, or do math in his head. I understand a very tiny piece of how Jake's mind works. As I learned with my learning challenges, and my daughters central auditory processing disorder, sometimes, you just have to keep trying different things, until you find something that makes sense to you. It doesn't matter if the method you use to learn doesn't make sense to anyone else, as long as it makes sense to you. This is a great book for anyone with a child who learns differently.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 9, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    The story of this family is inspirational!  With love and dedica

    The story of this family is inspirational!  With love and dedication, the perfect path was found for Jake.  He was able to grow and flourish where he could have been left in a rough place.  So thankful this book was written!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 9, 2013

    Amazingly written book! Very touching and heartfelt.

    Amazingly written book! Very touching and heartfelt.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 10, 2014

    Abandoned Two-Leg Nest

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2014

    I read this first!

    There's no telling what an autistic person may be capable of if there isn't accompanying retardation. I think it was also helpful for this family in that both parents were young and as energetic as possible, so not held back by personal debility and encroaching age, and there was no challenging older child on hand. I was impressed by the author's writing skills and I feel she is extremely intelligent as well. It was a satisfying book and I'd like to write one myself about my own experience with autism; I may do so someday.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2014

    I am fourteen years old and i read this book because my mum, who is

    I am fourteen years old and i read this because my mum, who is a special ed teacher that works with kids like jake recommended it. I loved this book. Its one of the first read adult book i've read and i would absolutly read more books like this. I recommend this book for adults that can relate to it, and also anyone 12 and up because its just an inspiring story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2014

    This book is wonderful on many levels.  It's the story both of J

    This book is wonderful on many levels.  It's the story both of Jake's genius and of his mother, Kristine's and, in truth, the story of all of our genius and potential that's so often misunderstood or unrecognized and therefore, not properly encouraged. 

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 3, 2013

    Loved it to see Jake as he is , refreshing and should inspire us

    Loved it to see Jake as he is , refreshing and should inspire us to take a second look at what we miss out on just surface glances.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 30, 2013

    Fascinating--highly recommended

    A must read for parents and teachers and anyone working with children.

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