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I Wish I Were Engulfed in Flames: My Insane Life Raising Two Boys with Autism
 
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I Wish I Were Engulfed in Flames: My Insane Life Raising Two Boys with Autism [Kindle Edition]

Jeni Decker
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product Description

Review

“Brash, sarcastic, irreverent, heartfelt, and touching, Decker’s memoir is all this and more. Highly recommended.”

“This is not your mother’s autism book! Raw, honest with ‘she said what?!’ laughs on every page.”

Book Description

Chelsea Handler meets Kathy Griffin in this down and dirty story of one autism mom's journey— from Sex-Ed to Santa Claus.

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 261 KB
  • Print Length: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing; 1 edition (Dec 3 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006O1MWL4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Burning Down the House! April 12 2012
By BeatleBangs1964 TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
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 most people 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.
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Amazon.com: 3.9 out of 5 stars  55 reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Burning Down the House! April 8 2012
By BeatleBangs1964 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
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 most people 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.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Touching, and LOL funny Jan. 5 2012
By Marigold Blue - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Only Jeni Decker can tell the trials and tribulations of raising two autistic sons and make you laugh out loud on almost every page. This book has such an uplifting spirit, and I applaud Jeni for telling her story and for her outlook on life. This is not just a story about autism. It's a story about parenting and about embracing life and playing the hand you're dealt with style and grace. And a lot of laughs. Jeni's memoir will make you laugh and cry, and it will make you a better parent. Loved it.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A most excellent read by a most excellent writer! Dec 15 2011
By jeanne bannon - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I Wish I were Engulfed in Flames is a heart warming, hilarious and real look at one woman's life raising two autistic sons. Jeni Decker is an amazing writer and an even more amazing mother. She deals with the trials of her life with humor and honesty. I was hooked after reading the first chapter 'Tickling the Weiner' and couldn't put the book down until I'd finished.

This book is a raw, unbelievably honest memoir, but most of all it is entertaining and very well written. My hat's off to you Jeni Decker.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Funny stories with a political agenda April 17 2012
By Jill Marie Cattrysse - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book is a compilation of some funny stories in the life of a mother with two autistic sons. It's very touching and a wonderful view into her and her sons' lives and their thoughts and feelings. Jeni's love for her kids is ever present and her teetering sanity is so relatable.

The book doesn't have a beginning, middle, or end, but rather is a rambling compilation of incidents. Sometimes a story seems to begin in one direction, then goes in another direction, and I'm not quite sure if the author properly ends all of the paths she starts on. I wanted so much more backstory, and even a chronological order of events would have helped with the flow.

In addition, I did not appreciate all of the forays into political opinions of the author. She goes as far as implicating that those who disagree with her views are stupid. The book shouldn't have gone there.

So, did I enjoy the book? Yes. Was I also disappointed? Yes. I feel it could have easily been so much better.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A humorously entertaining read for all ages. Dec 22 2011
By Susan Stec - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Decker brings humor and a new definition to the phrase 'maternal bliss' in this no-holds-barred look at raising two autistic boys. The memoir is not only entertaining but in between the laughs it gives an eye opening look at the world of autism.

Chapter titles that still make me giggle:

Can someone choke themselves with their bare hands?
Oprah's the reason my kid thinks I want to drown him in the tub.
No children were harmed during the making of this film.
Tickling the Weiner.

Jeni writes:

I welcome the unexpected--thrive on the unusual. If only these were the definition of normal--unexpected, unusual--then the use of labels would cease to exist.
That is the day I look forward to with relish...
...atop a banana, with a bit of mayo, cilantro, peanut butter, and liver paté.
But that's not normal, you say?
Well I say, Normal's just a town in Illinois, south of Peoria, and north of Bloomington.

I very much enjoyed the read - an educating laugh a minute.

Susan Stec, author, The Grateful Undead: They're So Vein
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