....and that was in school (a horrible place), and I was unwilling to do so. Yet here I am, a grown up (sort of) and willingly writing a review of a book I bought yesterday morning.
I'd heard a lot about the book, on Twitter and Facebook, but as I'm not a great lover of fiction I'd decided to wait and not rush to buy it immediately, I'd see what others thought.
So anyway, yesterday I needed to go into town with my daughter, after a stressful traipse around Primark, we headed to Waterstones, where I decided that should the book be there, it was obviously divine intervention, was a sign, and I must buy it. The book was there, so I bought it.
In the past, i have bought some fictional books with autistic characters, but they've always felt fake, contrived, lacking in depth, following stereotypical features enough for the book to be rendered a niched cliche, not something you would happen across in the teenage section of a mainstream book shop at all, but something you would seek out on Amazon because it would be useful, rather than having expectations of actually enjoying the thing and not being able to put it down.
The State of Grace by Rachael Lucas has rendered me useless for much of this weekend, I have ignored my husband, my children, the dogs and the pigs, washing has piled up (thank god it's now school holidays and no-one needs clean uniform!) and the lounge carpet is barely visible through a layer of dog hair.
The protagonist is an autistic teenage girl, but the author has managed to produce (I assume drawing on her own experiences) a likeable, interesting character, well rounded and believable, muddling through life and accurately describing so many experiences I can relate to.
I've never read a book where the main character is someone like me. I've read books where the someone like me is the weird one, the one that others laugh at, the dispensable one, and can't tell you how refreshing it is for the tables to be turned in this way. Grace is cool in her own way, and, I believe, sheds light on how autism can be, the awkwardness, the fear, the meltdowns, but equally the fun, the love and the insight, it's a far cry from Rain Man, which I wholeheartedly thank Ms Lucas for, is that a light at the end of the "crap stuff people believe about autism" tunnel? I do hope so! Books like this may prove to be game-changers for families who are plagued by the good intentions of people who cannot see the autism in them or their children, books like this show autism in a normal every day way, the ups and the downs, the roller coaster that is real life.
I don't want to go into the book too much, because knowing me I'll end up stuck on the details and will fill you in on more than you'd appreciate. I can tell you it is definitely worth reading though. I will be passing this book on to my daughter, who had claimed it first, but made the mistake of going out with friends which gave me the chance to smuggle it out of her room (another downside of socialising...). She is looking forward to reading this, not because it's about autism and she may learn something (although this is an added benefit), but because it's a great book, which must be the best reason in the world to read a book.