Bad Animals: A Father's Accidental Education in Autism

Bad Animals: A Father's Accidental Education in Autism

by Joel Yanofsky
     
 

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Joel Yanofsky gives us the funny, heartwrenching account of a year in the life of a father who struggles to enter his son’s world, the world of autism, using the materials he knows best, including self-help books, literary classics, and old movies.See more details below

Overview

Joel Yanofsky gives us the funny, heartwrenching account of a year in the life of a father who struggles to enter his son’s world, the world of autism, using the materials he knows best, including self-help books, literary classics, and old movies.

Editorial Reviews

David Gilmour
“Writers show their capacity for greatness when they point their talent at something they love. Joel Yanofsky has done just that:
written a marvellous book about a child he adores—his son.”
Adam Gopnik
“Joel Yanofsky has taken on just about the hardest of literary tasks, writing about life with an autistic child without succumbing either to sentimentality or bitterness—producing a book that seems both truthful, in its refusal to put too bright a face on a hard reality, and tender, in its insistence on the mysteries of love.”
Library Journal
Author, literary columnist, and book reviewer Yanofsky (Mordecai & Me: An Appreciation of a Kind) has an 11-year-old son with high-functioning autism. His memoir of a year of life with an autistic child provides an honest picture of a father's emotions about his son's disability. Yanofsky freely admits that he doesn't enjoy therapy sessions, doesn't like having to teach his child things that come naturally to other children, and doesn't want to read books about how autism can be inspirational or how it can be "cured." He adores his son but is honest about how difficult life with an autistic child can be and how his son's tantrums drive him crazy. Written with humor and lots of self-criticism, Yanofsky's candid look at his family's daily struggle and his expectations for his child's future prompts his realization that he could be a better father and husband. VERDICT An entertaining memoir that also gives factual information about autism. It should appeal to parents of children with high-functioning autism as well as those new to the disorder.—Terry Lamperski, Carnegie Lib. of Pittsburgh
Kirkus Reviews
With self-deprecating humor and searing honesty, Montreal-based feature writer and book reviewer Yanofsky (Mordecai and Me: An Appreciation of a Kind, 2003, etc.) reveals the painful frustration and the powerful bond of love between him, his wife and their 11-year-old autistic son, Jonah. The author explains why he decided to add his family's story to the massive collection of books already available on the subject: "The uninspiring everydayness of living with autism, its routine weirdness, its unbearable bearableness, its incremental ups and downs, is what so often gets unstated." He writes of the pain of "coping and not coping at the same time," and watching people, including himself, undervalue his son. Yanofsky relates the difficulty of knowing which experts to consult, whether to pursue dietary cures or behavioral therapy, even whether to consider the autistic spectrum as a disability or merely a different way of perceiving the world. At age 4, Jonah was diagnosed at the high end of the spectrum, and Yanofsky and his wife chose applied behavioral analysis therapy, an exacting discipline that requires parents to participate along with a therapy team. Stories about bad animals—the inspiration for the title—became metaphors shared by Jonah and his father as they discussed his behavior and the ups and downs of their relationship with each other. By the end of the book, Jonah has decided to rename the animals: "Worst-Monkey-Ever" became "Jumpy the Monkey," and the monkey's father, formerly "Worst-Daddy-Ever," became "Grumpy the Daddy." An eloquent memoir of Jonah's sometimes-almost-imperceptible growth, increasing social skills and developing self-awareness that also addresses the broader issues involved with parenthood.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781611454147
Publisher:
Arcade Publishing
Publication date:
05/01/2012
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
1,427,986
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)

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