- Buy this product and stream 90 days of Amazon Music Unlimited for free. E-mail after purchase. Conditions apply. Learn more
Love Anthony Paperback – 18 Jul 2013
|New from||Used from|
- Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
- Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
- Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
- Dispatch to this address when you check out
Special offers and product promotions
Frequently bought together
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
'Lisa Genova's novels ring true . . . Beautifully written and poignant to the point of heartbreak' --USA Today
'Lisa Genova is unquestionably the wise counsellor who would get you and yours through the worst. She s a philosopher and her books are quite simply brilliant' --Judy Finnigan
About the Author
Lisa Genova holds a Ph.D. in neuroscience from Harvard University and lives with her family in Massachusetts. She is the New York Times-bestselling author of Still Alice, Left Neglected - a Richard & Judy Book Club pick - Love Anthony and Inside the O'Briens. Still Alice has sold over a million copies worldwide and was made into an Academy Award-winning film starring Julianne Moore.
Customers who bought this item also bought
187 customer reviews
Review this product
Read reviews that mention
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
In contrast, we are then introduced to Beth who receives a card in the post from an anonymous sender claiming to be sleeping with her husband. Both women set out on a journey for closure, release, happiness and love. They are also both in need of new beginnings and a need to redefine themselves for who they are, not who they were responsible or accountable to.
Beth and Olivia meet by chance and a gentle friendship begins to form, Beth seeks Olivia's advice on a manuscript she has been compelled to write, rekindling a passion for writing from long ago while she finds herself at a crossroads. Through Beth's fictional narrative of a child who experiences the world more unconventionally, Olivia begins a journey of self discovery showing us that sometimes we receive help in the most unexpected places and from the most unexpected people.
Olivia's situation is sad. She doesn't really want to move on. She doesn't know how to live without Anthony, he so dominated and defined every waking moment of the last 8 years. She reminisces about Anthony's life, each new day reminding her of a past day and a past sadness -like Anthony's birthday and how this was always a day of dread and desperation when they were "forced to stare at the severity of Anthony's autism straight in the eye, to be fully cognisant of how much progress he hadn't made." Olivia presents the role of a parent of a child with autism as a very challenging one; one of relentlessly trying situations, one where you are unable to form the most simple of bonds with your child and the heartbreak that Anthony is unable to speak means that any communication of love or response is so limited and so rare, it is truly painful to keep going daily in a world where you feel so alone and isolated. Looking through forgotten belongings that have been stored in the house, she comes across her old journals and begins to read them again. They reflect some of her anger and frustration that became part of her mothering and accounts for the subsequent guilt she feels now her short time with Anthony is over. As the novel progresses it becomes clear that Olivia needs to see Anthony as Anthony the boy with autism, not autistic Anthony. She needs to understand him, his perspectives and the way he saw the world; his love. It's interesting that this understanding comes from Beth who has no direct experience of autism at all. Perhaps this is exactly why she is able to offer Olivia the perspective she needs?
I was slightly skeptical about the part of the story which showed a psychic link between Beth and Anthony but the characters definitely share an affinity of some kind. They also mirror each other in the sense they are both frustrated and angry and feel they are not being heard. Through her writing, Beth not only finds a voice for Anthony so he can at last be heard, but also is able to find a new voice for herself and see answers through her words that offer her closure. Also, on rereading the prologue once I had finished the book, I wondered if it was Olivia and Anthony that Beth meets and therefore deep in her subconscious is a striking memory of the child. She is reading "The Curious Incident of the Dog at Night Time" and another book about a mother of a child with autism so actually, her choice of subject and her engagement with Anthony's voice, is not totally out of the blue. They are subtly involved and there are several hints and suggestions at Beth's interest in this subject. In fact, on rereading, the prologue seemed laden with deeper symbolism now that I had experienced the characters.
There is a really interesting contrast between the two women's reactions to Anthony and how they describe that experience. In her journal, Olivia writes:
"How can I help you if you don't tell me what you want? We say all these words but we don't talk about anything.......We're the parents of a permanently disabled child and our marriage is crippled. I don't feel abused by Anthony but abused by this life. What happened to my life? ....all about autism....living it, reading it, talking about it...sick of it. Scared this is all it will ever be.... David and I are self trained therapists working on the same patient ....trying to fix him but failing."
And then Beth, while she sleeps, dreams of a boy who "hears and feels the world in a unique and unimaginable way". ..."Detached from people. Bewildered by emotions. Enthralled by repetition. An uncelebrated intelligence. Persistent. Silent. Honest. Brave. Misunderstood." She is fascinated by the "neurological alchemy not described in any book" and then her own process of writing takes on a daily routine where she begins to obsess about order and ritual before she can work. Both the women's responses to Anthony are so different that this reveals much about their own internal conflict and how they need to heal themselves. Olivia is isolated, closed, "guarded and weary". Beth is tactile and more openly loving and giving - but her life has been upended by her husband's infidelity. She is perhaps more attuned to people's emotions and needs - but then, unlike Olivia, she hasn't been living with autism for 8 years so this may be the reason she is enabled to offer this insight. There are several examples of where the women react differently - one with fear, one with happiness. Olivia needs Beth. Beth needs Anthony.
I loved the chapter Beth wrote about Anthony's incident with the "french stick". The grammar, structure, pace, repetition and language made it feel so authentic and so effective. It must be as close as one can get to gaining insight to how the mind of someone with autism works.
It is a sad book but ultimately one of hope and love. It is heartwarming. The various different threads, stories and voices all become intrinsically linked by the end and there is a sense of the women having completed difficult journeys successfully. The last 40 pages gain pace and show a deepening relationship between the women. It is emotional and leaves us asking big questions like what is our purpose in this life?
Olivia is married to David; they have one son, Anthony, who, when he is three years old is diagnosed with autism. Olivia struggles to come to terms with the fact that her beautiful son cannot speak to her, does not want to be cuddled and rarely gives her eye contact. Does Anthony know how much she loves him? Does he love her? Just when Olivia feels that she is beginning to come to terms with Anthony's autism, a tragedy occurs and Anthony dies. (Again, not a spoiler, we know this from the beginning of the story). Olivia leaves her home and her husband, and moves into a cottage in Nantucket in order to try to cope with her loss and to understand the meaning of her son's short life. And it is while she is trying to rebuild her life, that Olivia meets Beth and, through this meeting, she is able to connect once more with the beautiful child she thought she had lost forever. 'Love Anthony' is about two women who are both, to varying degrees, struggling to accept that their lives have changed and who are journeying towards the realization that their problems must be faced, dealt with and accepted before they can move forwards.
Lisa Genova's descriptions of life on an island and of the turn of the seasons in Nantucket are skilfully executed and she writes convincingly and sensitively about autism - a condition which she readily admits affects each individual differently as she quotes: "If you've met one child with autism, you've met one child with autism." The author also carefully uses two ways of referring to autism in her book: a boy with autism - where the focus is on the person, who should not be defined by and only by autism; and an autistic boy - where the emphasis is on autism being perceived as a trait to be accepted, as part of the person, like being brown-eyed or blond. Terminology aside, 'Love Anthony' is a story about motherhood, relationships, love, faith, trust and acceptance; but there is also a rather mystical element to this story - an element that readers may either accept or discount (I must admit that I found this aspect a little unconvincing) but which nevertheless adds another dimension to this interesting and thought-provoking novel.