“… watching a handicapped child rend the fragile seams of a woman's personality and her marriage exposes us to some of the more honest and guilty realities of being a parent, and with it a mother's very human pursuit of a livable, if not perfect, ending.”
— New York Times Book Review and International Herald Tribune
“Moving, frequently funny and never mawkish.”
— Publishers Weekly
“Leimbach, herself the parent of an autistic child, does an excellent job of showing a mother fighting with every ounce of her being for what is right for her children and, ultimately, herself. A most satisfying read.”
— Library Journal
“A skillfully crafted and bracingly unsentimental look at one mother's love — sometimes tender, sometimes frantic, always fierce — in the face of adversity.”
— Kirkus Reviews
“Never bleak, this inspiring read sheds light on the often misunderstood condition.” — The Works magazine
“Tender, involving tale of a family in crisis.”
— Woman and Home
“...one of the most enchanting and gripping books of the year...Leimbach knows how to engage her readers completely.”
— Daily Mail
“If you like fiction emphatic and passionate, you’ll relish this...”
“...so heartfelt, realistic and informative...Leimbach vividly portrays both overwhelming maternal love and the ins and outs of autism... This is thought-provoking writing.”
— Sunday Times
“Marti Leimbach's surprisingly upbeat novel about autism and divorce. . . captures the conflicting loyalties Melanie feels as mother, wife and independent woman.”
“This novel is bittersweet, resilient and not to be missed”
“Armchair Interviews says this reviewer found Daniel Isn't Talking totally ‘un-putdownable.’”
“Heartwrenching while at the same time warm and uplifting . . . Daniel Isn't Talking is a gently written tale full of emotion — pain and despair, but above all, hope.”
“I was riveted, engrossed — all those wonderful things one hopes for when opening a book. Marti Leimbach's portrayal of a mother facing unbelievable hardships is very real and gripping."
— Anita Shreve, author of The Pilot’s Wife and The Weight of Water
“Any parent will recognize the combustion of love and anxiety that fuels Marti Leimbach’s vivid new novel. Daniel Isn’t Talking is an affecting study of parental devotion.”
— Jennifer Egan, author of Look at Me
“Powerful, moving and also surprisingly funny. A love story in every sense.”
— Deborah Moggach, author of Tulip Fever
“A terrific book, informed passionate and touching. Leimbach handles the problem of the autistic child beautifully and I was thoroughly engrossed until the last page.”
— Joanne Harris, author of Chocolat
“Leimbach writes with a shrewd, dry-eyed, perceptively acquisitive energy. . . .”
— Kirkus Reviews (starred)
“Dying Young is a masterpiece of details that always rings true, with the sad, funny and fascinating unpredictability of real life.”
— People magazine
… watching a handicapped child rend the fragile seams of a woman's personality and her marriage exposes us to some of the more honest and guilty realities of being a parent, and with it a mother's very human pursuit of a livable, if not perfect, ending.
The New York Times
Readers of Daniel Isn't Talking will not journey into the inevitable complexity that envelops the lives of most disabled children who grow into adults. Instead, the author puts us face-to-face with the early stages of coming to grips with raising an autistic child, exposing the inner life of a feisty mother and her frantic rescue attempts. Melanie's breakdown and eventual recovery, powered in part by some important self-discoveries in the book's final pages, give us reason to hope that, in the face of things to come, she and others like her can manage to find their way.
The Washington Post
Leimbach (Dying Young) notes on the back of the galley that she has modeled her title character on her own autistic son; the result is moving, frequently funny and never mawkish. The novel is narrated by Melanie Marsh, an American woman living in England who seems to have it all: Stephen, a rich if somewhat starchy husband; Emily, a vivacious daughter; and an adorable son named Daniel. But after a normal infancy, Daniel is beginning to behave strangely-throwing tantrums, walking on his toes, still seeking his mother's breast and refusing to talk. As Melanie unravels, Stephen remains in denial, until the dreaded diagnosis of autism is delivered. The marriage falls apart, but Melanie does not. She embarks on a frustrating, heroic mission to get the best treatment for her son, eventually entrusting his care to Andy O'Connor, a behaviorist with a dubious reputation. But his unorthodox methods get results, and soon, a bit too predictably, a romance blossoms between Andy and Melanie. While the novel lacks the literary ambition of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Leimbach does succeed in making us care about Daniel and his progress. (Apr.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
For her fourth novel, Leimbach, best known for her debut, Dying Young, has written a satisfying story about a woman in crisis and a son with autism. While studying at Oxford, American-born Melanie meets and marries a man from a traditional upper-crust English family and settles in London. As the story opens, Melanie and husband Stephen have a creative and imaginative four-year-old daughter, Emily, and a son, Daniel, not quite three, who is a picky eater, walks on his toes, and doesn't talk yet. After making the rounds of specialists, Daniel is diagnosed as autistic, and his parents are advised to put him in a special school, a treatment acceptable to his father but not his mother. Stephen panics and goes back to an old girlfriend, who's more representative of the life he thinks he should have. Meanwhile, Melanie seeks out alternative treatments for Daniel, finding a regimen of specially prepared foods and play therapy that helps him make some major developmental gains. She also begins to rebel against the classic educational structure that's stifling her daughter's creativity and the upper-class life that is cramping her own style. Leimbach, herself the parent of an autistic child, does an excellent job of showing a mother fighting with every ounce of her being for what is right for her children and, ultimately, herself. A most satisfying read, this is recommended for all public libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 1/06.]-Debbie Bogenschutz, Cincinnati State Technical & Community Coll. Lib. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
The author of Dying Young (1989) tells the story of a young mother with an autistic son. Melanie Marsh, an American living in London, has a daughter named Emily, a sweet little girl with blonde curls who chatters exuberantly and loves to paint. She also has Daniel. Daniel isn't normal. He cries a lot-wildly, and for no apparent reason. He hurts himself. He rejects affection from both his parents, and he refuses to play. And even though he is almost three, he doesn't talk. When she and her husband, Stephen, learn that Daniel is autistic, her fear is compounded by guilt and confusion: "He's always been like this . . . a diagnosis, a label such as autism, does not change the child. And yet . . . I cannot help feeling as though I started the journey this morning with my beloved little boy and am returning with a slightly alien, educable time bomb." And, of course, the diagnosis does change everything. Melanie acquiesces to her husband's insistence that four-year-old Emily start school. Stephen leaves for a business trip and doesn't come home. And although she tries to be there for her daughter, Melanie's desire to teach Daniel to talk quickly supersedes everything else in her life. Fed up with specialists from National Health Service and immune to Stephen's suggestion that they institutionalize Daniel, Melanie turns to therapist Andy O'Connor for help. Andy not only coaxes words-sentences, even-from Daniel, but he also reminds Melanie to care for her own needs as well as those of her children. Melanie is a smart woman and an engaging protagonist. Her reaction to Daniel's condition is both intellectual and emotional. She studies, she does research, she sobs until blood vessels break in herface. Her narration is frank and unapologetic, infused with a well-deserved crankiness that occasionally erupts in surprising flashes of humor. A skillfully crafted and bracingly unsentimental look at one mother's love-sometimes tender, sometimes frantic, always fierce-in the face of adversity. Film rights to Fox 2000