This book is VERY funny! Jeni Decker has a WICKED sense of humor and, as she herself says in this book, she is good with words. In fact, she is damn good!
Jeni, the mother of Jake, (born 1996) and Jaxson (born 2000) tells the travails of raising 2 boys with autism. Jake is not as severely affected; is quite bright and a number of his writings are included in the book. The inclusion of Jake's work makes the story even more effective.
Jake, the older son has meltdowns; cannot stand the touch and feel of paper and like everyone on the autism spectrum detests surprises and loud noises. I felt Jake's pain in re his aversion for topics fecal; I hate feces and find fecal talk stomach turning. In fact, the only thing I DIDN'T like about this book were the graphic fecal tales. Jake's fecal issues included his asking Jeni to inspect him after he used the bathroom to make sure he had completely cleaned himself. Jake's related sensory issues included only using wet wipes instead of toilet paper. His social skills, while never his forte included asking for a cleanliness "inspection" even at age 12!
Jaxson, on the other has severe autism. He has severe meltdowns, sometimes resulting in injury to his brother. He is marginally verbal; partially toilet trained (there is a section devoted to how Jax would change his own Pull-Ups after each trip to the bathroom and a funny part about how he stashed the discarded soiled ones in a neighbor's yard until the irate neighbor demanded to know what was going on. Even though I hate fecal tales, that story about the stash and the neighbor was funny). He also is quite computer savvy and even films his own stools. I didn't like the part about the stool show or any of the graphic fecal tales.
Jake's maturation is chronicled in this book. Even when he learns that Santa is just smoke and mirrors, he needs time to accept the fact that Santa is just a trick and not real. (I am no fan of Santa and I could understand how Jake felt). Jake absolutely detests school and his eloquent, poignant writings bring readers into the pain he undergoes on a daily basis. He is fully aware of his autism and how it impacts on his life. He has some special interests, including Pokemon. Jeni's aversion for and level of how sick of Pokemon was funny in how she described it. When Jake was 7 and still unfortunately believed in Santa, he wrote an email to the Pokemon HQ requesting a Pokemon game tailored to his vision. She added a letter to his, telling the Pokemon Company how she felt and why. She also sent a faux-mail to her son from "Santa" explaining why this could not be done. (That is why I am no fan of Santa because I feel Santa is just trickery and deception). Still and all, it was funny.
On a serious note, Jeni and her husband Will separated for a period.
Jeni's girlhood and her parents brought many laughs. Old hippies, they would smoke grass around Jeni and her sister; hung out with others who shared their interests and lifestyles and taught the girls how to roll joints when they were still children. Jeni's mother had a VERY bawdy sense of humor and was not above making racy and off-color comments and telling blue jokes in front of her kids, while still children and even her grandsons. She was a very funny person. I laughed my head off when she told one doctor in quite crude terms that she had not slept with a man since the 1970s. Let's just say she was quite a distinctive personality!
Jake's bonding with the pigs on the family farm in Michigan is funny, yet poignant. I couldn't help but think of the 1968 George Harrison song, "Piggies" when I read the parts about the pig sty. Jake, always very sensitive to odors, was able to tolerate the stench of the sty because he loved his porcine pals.
I enjoyed this book. I loved it when Jeni included the "goo goo ga joob" line from the Beatles' 1967 classic "I am the Walrus." I especially loved it when she said she would start playing 2 1968 Beatle classics for her sons, "Hey Jude" and the George Harrison classic "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," which would be a good thing for them.
This is a funny book. While I didn't like the scatalogical stories or the irreverent expressions, I enjoyed the book and had many a giggle over it. The Talking Heads' 1983 classic "Burning Down the House" could be the soundtrack of this book.