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Tus Zonas Erroneas / Your Erroneous Zones
Tus Zonas Erroneas / Your Erroneous Zones
by Wayne W. Dyer
Edition: Hardcover
6 used & new from CDN$ 26.29

4.0 out of 5 stars I Walk the Line, May 20 2008
This book makes me think of the Johnny Cash song, "I Walk the Line" and Arlo Guthrie's "Walking the Line." I walk the line in that I feel there are parts of this book that are very helpful to other parts that I feel are far from being helpful.

The parts I didn't feel were helpful were Dr. Dyer's tone of seemingly "just getting over" problems. I have heard Dr. Dyer and on one occasion he tells an audience member who had suffered profound losses to "get over it" and maybe that person could "write a book about those losses." That did not sound very helpful and not everybody is in a position or has the ability level to become an author. However, the rest of the book has good, practical tools of empowerment.

The parts I most related to were the passages on not nodding one's head and pretending to agree with something contrary to one's integrity, beliefs or values. If there is one thing I absolutely detest, it is sycophantic behavior and faux agreement. I don't even pretend to laugh at jokes that I don't find funny!

To its credit, this book can be seen as a tool of empowerment. It outlines a list of self defeating behaviors and some ways of counteracting them. It is not a nostrum nor is it a panacea for all personal ills. It is simply a check list of areas in people's lives where challenges are likely to occur and alternate ways of meeting those challenges.

I think of John Lennon, who introduced himself on the Beatles' 1963 Christmas album, "John here, speaking with his voice!" There is more truth than humor to the Chief Beatle's quip. John never lost his own voice or integrity. He, as Dr. Dyer points out "didn't need their [world at large] approval" to recognize his own worth as a good individual. He did not have to sacrifice or compromise his identity and core values and beliefs for anyone. Dr. Dyer goes into this advanced stage of esteem development in the chapter entitled "You Don't Need Their Approval."

The title of this chapter can be misleading. It is best not to read into this the fallacy that you can bluff and pretend that you neither want nor need approval. That is not true. Everybody wants, needs and deserves approval. The main thrust of that chapter is that one need not do things ONLY for approval - let approval be the byproduct and not the impetus. It is about acceptance of one's self and decisions without making approval be the motivator and by keeping it the byproduct.

Nobody can respect a sycophant and it is doubtful that sycophants respect themselves. Sacrificing one's voice to appease those in charge or those whom the sycophant wants to win over is a price that I feel is not worth paying. The Apple Polisher, as is described in this book waits around for others to voice their opinions, only to chime in as an echo. One does not need permission to have their own opinion and I think it is very sad whenever people feel they have to take this approach to survive socially. Dr. Dyer gives an example of a person who does just that. Readers come away with no respect for the person acting as an echo and that serves as a wake up call to everyone to follow John Lennon's example by speaking in their OWN voices.

I think of people like Lech Walesa, Robert Kennedy, Pope John XXIII who did what they believed was right and in turn changed the world for the better. Many disagreed and even opposed them and what they wanted to do. They stayed true to their core values and beliefs regardless of anyone else's approval and effected great changes in the world. I think that helps to clarify the approval question.

All in all, a decent book. No doubt many readers will come away stepping over many erronenous zones.

Your Erroneous Zones
Your Erroneous Zones
by Wayne W. Dyer
Edition: Paperback
10 used & new from CDN$ 0.77

4.0 out of 5 stars I Walk the Line, May 20 2008
This review is from: Your Erroneous Zones (Paperback)
This book makes me think of the Johnny Cash song, "I Walk the Line" and Arlo Guthrie's "Walking the Line." I walk the line in that I feel there are parts of this book that are very helpful to other parts that I feel are far from being helpful.

The parts I didn't feel were helpful were Dr. Dyer's tone of seemingly "just getting over" problems. I have heard Dr. Dyer and on one occasion he tells an audience member who had suffered profound losses to "get over it" and maybe that person could "write a book about those losses." That did not sound very helpful and not everybody is in a position or has the ability level to become an author. However, the rest of the book has good, practical tools of empowerment.

The parts I most related to were the passages on not nodding one's head and pretending to agree with something contrary to one's integrity, beliefs or values. If there is one thing I absolutely detest, it is sycophantic behavior and faux agreement. I don't even pretend to laugh at jokes that I don't find funny!

To its credit, this book can be seen as a tool of empowerment. It outlines a list of self defeating behaviors and some ways of counteracting them. It is not a nostrum nor is it a panacea for all personal ills. It is simply a check list of areas in people's lives where challenges are likely to occur and alternate ways of meeting those challenges.

I think of John Lennon, who introduced himself on the Beatles' 1963 Christmas album, "John here, speaking with his voice!" There is more truth than humor to the Chief Beatle's quip. John never lost his own voice or integrity. He, as Dr. Dyer points out "didn't need their [world at large] approval" to recognize his own worth as a good individual. He did not have to sacrifice or compromise his identity and core values and beliefs for anyone. Dr. Dyer goes into this advanced stage of esteem development in the chapter entitled "You Don't Need Their Approval."

The title of this chapter can be misleading. It is best not to read into this the fallacy that you can bluff and pretend that you neither want nor need approval. That is not true. Everybody wants, needs and deserves approval. The main thrust of that chapter is that one need not do things ONLY for approval - let approval be the byproduct and not the impetus. It is about acceptance of one's self and decisions without making approval be the motivator and by keeping it the byproduct.

Nobody can respect a sycophant and it is doubtful that sycophants respect themselves. Sacrificing one's voice to appease those in charge or those whom the sycophant wants to win over is a price that I feel is not worth paying. The Apple Polisher, as is described in this book waits around for others to voice their opinions, only to chime in as an echo. One does not need permission to have their own opinion and I think it is very sad whenever people feel they have to take this approach to survive socially. Dr. Dyer gives an example of a person who does just that. Readers come away with no respect for the person acting as an echo and that serves as a wake up call to everyone to follow John Lennon's example by speaking in their OWN voices.

I think of people like Lech Walesa, Robert Kennedy, Pope John XXIII who did what they believed was right and in turn changed the world for the better. Many disagreed and even opposed them and what they wanted to do. They stayed true to their core values and beliefs regardless of anyone else's approval and effected great changes in the world. I think that helps to clarify the approval question.

All in all, a decent book. No doubt many readers will come away stepping over many erronenous zones.

Your Erroneous Zones
Your Erroneous Zones
by Wayne Dyer
Edition: Paperback
46 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars I Walk the Line, May 20 2008
This review is from: Your Erroneous Zones (Paperback)
This book makes me think of the Johnny Cash song, "I Walk the Line" and Arlo Guthrie's "Walking the Line." I walk the line in that I feel there are parts of this book that are very helpful to other parts that I feel are far from being helpful.

The parts I didn't feel were helpful were Dr. Dyer's tone of seemingly "just getting over" problems. I have heard Dr. Dyer and on one occasion he tells an audience member who had suffered profound losses to "get over it" and maybe that person could "write a book about those losses." That did not sound very helpful and not everybody is in a position or has the ability level to become an author. However, the rest of the book has good, practical tools of empowerment.

The parts I most related to were the passages on not nodding one's head and pretending to agree with something contrary to one's integrity, beliefs or values. If there is one thing I absolutely detest, it is sycophantic behavior and faux agreement. I don't even pretend to laugh at jokes that I don't find funny!

To its credit, this book can be seen as a tool of empowerment. It outlines a list of self defeating behaviors and some ways of counteracting them. It is not a nostrum nor is it a panacea for all personal ills. It is simply a check list of areas in people's lives where challenges are likely to occur and alternate ways of meeting those challenges.

I think of John Lennon, who introduced himself on the Beatles' 1963 Christmas album, "John here, speaking with his voice!" There is more truth than humor to the Chief Beatle's quip. John never lost his own voice or integrity. He, as Dr. Dyer points out "didn't need their [world at large] approval" to recognize his own worth as a good individual. He did not have to sacrifice or compromise his identity and core values and beliefs for anyone. Dr. Dyer goes into this advanced stage of esteem development in the chapter entitled "You Don't Need Their Approval."

The title of this chapter can be misleading. It is best not to read into this the fallacy that you can bluff and pretend that you neither want nor need approval. That is not true. Everybody wants, needs and deserves approval. The main thrust of that chapter is that one need not do things ONLY for approval - let approval be the byproduct and not the impetus. It is about acceptance of one's self and decisions without making approval be the motivator and by keeping it the byproduct.

Nobody can respect a sycophant and it is doubtful that sycophants respect themselves. Sacrificing one's voice to appease those in charge or those whom the sycophant wants to win over is a price that I feel is not worth paying. The Apple Polisher, as is described in this book waits around for others to voice their opinions, only to chime in as an echo. One does not need permission to have their own opinion and I think it is very sad whenever people feel they have to take this approach to survive socially. Dr. Dyer gives an example of a person who does just that. Readers come away with no respect for the person acting as an echo and that serves as a wake up call to everyone to follow John Lennon's example by speaking in their OWN voices.

I think of people like Lech Walesa, Robert Kennedy, Pope John XXIII who did what they believed was right and in turn changed the world for the better. Many disagreed and even opposed them and what they wanted to do. They stayed true to their core values and beliefs regardless of anyone else's approval and effected great changes in the world. I think that helps to clarify the approval question.

All in all, a decent book. No doubt many readers will come away stepping over many erronenous zones.

Embracing Autism: Connecting and Communicating with Children in the Autism Spectrum
Embracing Autism: Connecting and Communicating with Children in the Autism Spectrum
by Robert Parish
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 17.00
22 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Spectrum Perspectives, May 12 2008
This is an excellent book that includes interviews with parents, educators and clinicians about people with autism. The book opens with a parent/clinician who interviews a couple whose grown son had severe autism and was unable to care for himself. In a sad twist of irony, that same interviewer found herself answering similar questions about son Jacob, who has severe autism.

I like the way each personal account describes the behavior of the person with autism and how that behavior impacts on the lives of all whom they encounter. My favorite part was the chapter on Shawn Lyons, an extraordinarily bright young man with Asperger's Syndrome, the spectrum parter to autism.

Parts of Shawn's story were funny. I loved the very moving part of his impromptu joining a church production of the Nativity. Instead of being turned away and ordered back to his seat, the cast members allowed him to come on stage. When told that the chorus was going to sing, Shawn somehow got everyone, audience included to participate. That was my favorite part.

The only thing I didn't like was the word "perseverate," which is a damning and damaging word. "Excessive repetition," or "special interests" are far preferable and certainly speak to tolerance whereas that other word simply does not. The use of that word cost this book one star. Luckily Shawn dodged the bullet of just how very harmful that word really is. I am sorry it was ever applied to him in any way, shape and form, especially during his social skills lessons. It is a word best permanently retired.

On the other hand, Shawn's aides came up with some innovative ideas to help him learn how to "read" other people. On one occasion when Shawn was sharing his special interest in botany, his aide gave an exaggerated yawn and politely told Shawn that her brain could not hold as much information as his could about botany and that whenever one's eyes glaze over or they look away, fidget or yawn, those are good indicators that he has belabored his topic. Shawn was then able to apply that concept in other areas.

The title of this book speaks to tolerance. The idea of embracing this sensori-neurological condition is very much one of acceptance, one of recognizing the gifts that people on the spectrum have to offer.

Schuyler's Monster: A Father's Journey with His Wordless Daughter
Schuyler's Monster: A Father's Journey with His Wordless Daughter
by Robert Rummel-Hudson
Edition: Hardcover
22 used & new from CDN$ 2.51

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Within You, Without You, April 24 2008
"We were talking, about all the space between us." -- George Harrison, 1967

"The shortest distance between two or more minds is that of one's real voice." -- BeatleBangs1964

Robert Rummel-Hudson chronicles his life alongside that of his daughter, Schuyler. Schuyler, who was born on December 21, 1999 was the high note to a new and happier point in Rummel-Hudson's life. At that time, Rummel-Hudson had recently remarried after a marriage he described as being devoid of passion to a "perfectly nice" woman who was not his soulmate. From all outward appearances, his marriage to Julie appeared to be on rock solid footing.

Readers learn a lot about Rummel-Hudson. One of 3 siblings, he unflinchingly describes his mercurial relationships with his siblings and their late father. He takes a forgiving tone when he said that his immediate family "used the tools" they had at the time, but the end results were the fault of no one. I like that.

Rummel-Hudson, unlike Julie wanted to know his baby's gender. While Julie was convinced they'd have a son whom she'd name Jasper, Rummel-Hudson never divulged that he had the medical staff tell him Schuyler's gender from the sonogram. As a concession to Julie, Rummel-Hudson buys a large toy bear whom they call Jasper in anticipation of their first child.

The name Schuyler was chosen for a daughter as a nod to her Dutch heritage. As she grew into her first year and not into speech, her name became even more meaningful. She was the unexpected trip to Holland when the travelers were planning to go to Italy. She was the unexpected source of treasures when another type of treasures were expected.

I thought it was so adorable that Schuyler had an aversion for stuffed toys during her infancy. She had an adverse reaction to Jasper the Bear and refused to have anything to do with it. I also thought it was quite adorable when Schulyer "coldly" tossed a doll back into a Christmas gift box her first Christmas. In time, she appeases her father by playing with Jasper. Even then, she carries the toy in an inverted position, never seemingly sure quite how he wants her to play with it. Since she didn't like stuffed toys, it would have been a better idea not to get them for her and to put the ones she had away instead of leaving a few out. I didn't like the way the stuffed toys were seemingly pushed on her. She was very adamant in how she felt.

Schuyler's absense of speech and speech development became alarming over the course of her first year. Tests failed to yield any diagnosis or treatment plan that seemed viable. By 2003, Schuyler got to do some traveling - a move from her native Michigan to New Haven Connecticut and a later move to central Texas. It was in 2003 that Schuyler was diagnosed with the congenital condition of polymicrogyria, which Rummel-Hudson calls her "monster." A monster is a fear of the unknown; often, an amorphous or grotesquely shaped oddity that inspires fear. The "monster" in this case was a rare condition that robbed Schuyler of her ability to speak.

One cannot help but feel cheered by Rummel-Hudson's love for and final acceptance of his child. Julie mourns Schuyler not having siblings as she fears any subsequent child will have polymicrogyria. In addition to the delayed speech, Schuyler shows some developmental lags as well. She was nearly 5 before she mastered toileting and other self-care skills.

Schuyler appears to accept herself as she is and her peers in the various schools she attended appear to enjoy her as well. One setback Schuyler encountered was when her speech teacher refused to learn sign language so that Schuyler would have this method of communication. Another setback Schuyler encountered was when her school refused to buy a device called the "Big Box of Words." The device involved typing on its screen, which then activated the "voice" that the words trigger. Rummel-Hudson's faithful network of bloggers on his website band together and raise money for the Big Box.

Schuyler and family find their niche in Plano, Texas which is in the Dallas area. Schuyler is described as thriving in the Plano school district and even has fun with her Big Box. Schuyler's humor develops as she jokes and plays with expressions and things she found funny. She fills the metaphysical space between herself and others with her newfound voice! She liked making monster noises with it and even unleashed anger at another child who mocked her on a playground. At last, Schuyler found her own voice!

Having one's own voice is a large part of one's identity. Being able to communicate by whatever means necessary one's true thoughts and feelings and reactions instead of merely echoing the party sentiment is very empowering. It also engenders respect and helps one to forge their own identity.

"Within You, Without You," a 1967 masterpiece by George Harrison is the soundtrack that underscores this book. Schuyler's story is about acceptance and paternal love. "When you've seen beyond yourself, then you may find that peace of mind is waiting there. " -- George Harrison, 1967

The Struggle and the Triumph: An Autobiography
The Struggle and the Triumph: An Autobiography
by Lech Walesa
Edition: Paperback
15 used & new from CDN$ 17.43

5.0 out of 5 stars One Voice That Changed the World!, April 13 2008
Lech Walesa literally reset the world on its axis. In a stroke of irony, Poland was the first country to break the 1955 Warsaw Pact.

Lech Walesa impresses me as a good man and, like President Carter is truly a humble peacemaker. A shipyard worker, Walesa strove to form unions on the docks; in the mills and in the factories. Unlike Imre Nagy, another good man and a Freedom Fighter who was killed in Hungary in 1954, Walesa took baby steps to effect change. Whereas Nagy took the "remove Russian occupation from Hungary at all costs and install democracy" in one fell swoop, Walesa took a more circumspect and prudent approach. Instead of trying to remove all obstacles at one time, he tried to institute changes in the workplaces. Once dock workers and factory and mill workers had unions, the voting process could be moved into elected offices.

Poland was, up until 1989 under communist regime. It has an interesting history. During WWI, Poland, then a landlocked territory was granted part of eastern Germany. The former German city Danzig is now Poland's Gdansk and the portion of Germany that has been annexed to Poland has not only increased the size of the country, but provided Poland access to the ocean. For many years Poland was recognized as a territory and not a nation.

Lech Walesa's father, the late Bronislaw Walesa vowed in 1945 that there would come a day when he would see a free Poland where Polish citizens would have the option to vote for the candiates they wanted to see in office and not go through the formality of seeing the same people installed in the same positions of power. Sadly, Bronislaw Walesa never lived to see that happen. His son Lech Walesa was the person who was largely responsible for effecting change. Lech Walesa's 4 sons and 4 daughters will live that dream by voting as free Polish citizens.

The Beatles' 1968 classic "Revolution" can clearly be the soundtrack of this wonderful book. "We all want to change the world" - so true in this case!

Walesa is a realistic, humble and practical man with a delightful wit. Throughout his successes and setbacks, he has kept his humor and realistic outlook. In 1980, Walesa and a band of Polish freedom fighers got together to form the Solidarity Party. Using computers smuggled into Poland from England, Germany and the U.S., the Solidarity supporters held secret meetings in churches and people's homes. They made concerted efforts to gain support for effecting political changes in Poland and their movement picked up speed. Sadly, Walesa was jailed for one year during the 1980s. Still, his voice was heard and his word spead. Pope John Paul II threw his voice, prayers and support behind Walesa and backed him all the way. By 1987, Walesa's voice was ringing clear and strong around the world and people outside of Poland became more aware of the new political climate that was rapidly moving into Poland.

By 1988, the Solidarity Workers were a strong force to be reckoned with. Polish citizens rallied round them and Walesa's voice carried far beyond the shipyard docks; the factories and the mills. His voice was heard world wide and on June 4, 1989 the Solidarity Candidates won by a landslide! Poland held its first free election since WWII. Tom Brokaw among other news pundits/reporters were in Poland, ready to congratulate the newly elected Solidarity Candidates.

1989 was a heady year. On June 4 1989, the same day the Solidary candidates won the election, Ayatollah Khomeini died and, on a sad note the Beijing Massacre in China occurred. June 4, 1989 was Triple Shot Sunday. During the fall of 1989 Walesa was flown to America and spoke before the Senate and the Congress. Then New York Mayor David Dinkins gave Walesa the Key to the City and had Walesa ride around Manhattan in the Mayor's car. Walesa was named Man of the Year in 1989, an honor he richly earned and deserved. I think we should raise our glasses to Lech Walesa!

During the latter part of 1989, other Eastern European countries broke with the Warsaw Pact. Vaclav Havel, a playwright was singularly honored in the former Czechoslavakia, now the Czech Republic. His political plays, once banned were broadcast on PBS television channels and included in libraries around the world. Like Walesa, Havel held a position of high political power. On November 10, 1989 the Berlin Wall was knocked down after serving as a barrier for 28 years. Also in late 1989, Imre Nagy was given a proper Catholic burial with a traditional Hungarian headstone after 35 years of being buried in an unmarked grave. He was finally given the respect he was long due.

Lech Walesa can rightfully take his place alongside of people like Robert Kennedy; Dr. King, Gandhi and all the freedom fighters who have throughout history worked hard to make political changes to improve the world. I salute all of these people and thank them from the bottom of my heart. Let's all once again raise our glasses to Lech Walesa!

Property of
Property of
by Alice Hoffman
Edition: Paperback
3 used & new from CDN$ 2.10

1.0 out of 5 stars Not MY Property!, April 12 2008
This review is from: Property of (Paperback)
I didn't like this book or any of the characters and make no bones about it. I thought the protagonist, who is never given a name is a Grade-A fool.

See, this stupid girl wants to be a gang deb. She has no other connections that we know of other than this guy named McKay and the gang and the girls' auxillary version of that gang. She pals around with this not too bright candy addict with the ghastly nickname of Danny the Sweet, or even worse, "The Sweet."

The stupid girl sees the seamy, violent underside of life via this gang. Girls are referred to as "The Property" and are treated steps below chattel. Very enlighted thinking, eh?

I did not like this book at all and cannot in good conscience recommend it.

Blood Orange
Blood Orange
by Drusilla Campbell
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 16.00
46 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Pulpy Orange, April 9 2008
This review is from: Blood Orange (Paperback)
Dana Cabot is transformed from a happy wife and mother of a cognitively delayed child to a bitter woman the day her daughter Bailey, 7 is kidnapped. Prior to the girl's kidnapping, their weirdly named dog Moby Doby is hit by a van and threatening letters start arriving. The first question is who nearly hit the dog and who is sending out these sick missives?

According to Dana, Bailey is NOT autistic. One would have to concur as the girl's behavior does not support that diagnosis. Bailey, marginally verbal was described as stringing together random rhyming words; deliberately "sprinkling and spilling" powders; "airplaning" from room to room and having a mercurial temperament. She sounds as if she is cognitively delayed. A student at a local special school in San Diego, Bailey appears to be perfectly happy with the world as she knows it.

On a sunny May 29 in the early part of the 21st century, the Cabots' world changes. Bailey is kidnapped and a local task force is working diligently to find her. When she is returned home some 3 months later, she becomes mute and withdrawn. The hyperactive "airplaning" becomes a thing of the past and threatening notes appear literally in Dana's path.

The list of suspects is quite long. Bailey obviously knew her kidnapper as whoever took her taught her to bodysurf. After a lifetime fear of water, she becomes quite comfortable in it and can even swim. The question is who the kidnapper is. The list of suspects is the grandson of a neighbor who worked tirelessly to find her; a priest who happens to be Dana's best friend; a weird woman whose husband is on trial for child molestation and murder who is ensconsed in the Cabot house as David Cabot is representing the husband; a lover Dana had when she spent a vacation in Italy. Who, if any of these people had any part in Bailey's kidnapping? What happened during her 3-month absence?

Although I thought this was a well written, riveting read, there were parts that bothered me. I could not see why the Cabots would lodge the wife of a child molester/murderer suspect; the woman was cruel and one could only fear for the safety of her unborn child. A question in the mind of readers was if this woman could have had any part in Bailey's kidnapping. The real question is why any parent allow someone like that into their home. One could only fear for Bailey as well. The ugly and sordid nature of the alleged abuser David Cabot is defending and the accused man's wife provides an effective contrast to the idyllic descriptions of the flora in San Diego.

All in all, a good read. This is a good companion book to "A Road Through the Mountains" by Elizabeth McGregor.

A Road Through the Mountains
A Road Through the Mountains
by Elizabeth McGregor
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 14.40
22 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Please Come to Boston, April 9 2008
Briton David Mortimer meets the love of his life, Anna when they were college students in England. During their loving interlude together, Anna becomes pregnant and leaves England and David behind, replaying a similar scene that her mother Grace had played years before. Anna was the product of an extramarital affair and was dismayed to realize that her child, also would grow up without her father as she did.

However, history does NOT repeat itself when Anna returns to the idyllic town of Ogunquit, Massachusetts. David has no idea Anna was carrying their child until a decade after Rachel's birth. Rachel, 10 has Asperger's Syndrome, the spectrum parter to autism. She has musical prowess and is bright and verbal. However, she has some severely autistic tendencies such as meltdowns and rigid adherence to routine, such as always drinking from the same cup and sitting in the same place.

Fate takes some weird twists and turns when Anna and Rachel are in an automobile accident. Their Nissan is history; Anna is severely injured and in a coma and Rachel's arm is broken. Grace takes the bull by the horns and contacts David. He learns then of his daughter; his own sister insists that he go to Boston and do the right thing. He owes that much to Rachel.

David arrives in Boston and spends time with the comatose Anna. Every other chapter is about their time together and his passion for botany/horticulture. Whole parts of this book are devoted to horticultural terms and is aimed at those who have an abiding interest in that subject. Over time it is revealed that Sarah and David's father was on the autism spectrum; upon meeting Rachel, David finds glaring similarities his child has to his late father. Descriptions of the man and his behavior certainly support the claim that he had Asperger's.

Although this was a tad predictable, it was an interesting story. I loved the descriptions of idyllic Massachusetts and the fact that David never stopped loving Anna. Rachel's special interest in bridges is somewhat of a metaphor; she in fact becomes the bridge that links all the characters in this story. Dave Loggins' 1974 song "Please Come to Boston" seems to underscore and serve as the soundtrack to this story. "Blood Orange" by Drusilla Campbell is a good companion book to this one.

With the Light... Vol. 2: Raising an Autistic Child
With the Light... Vol. 2: Raising an Autistic Child
by Keiko Tobe
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 12.45
31 used & new from CDN$ 1.80

5.0 out of 5 stars The Inner Light Continues to Shine, March 23 2008
This stellar masterpiece of a book makes me think of the 1968 George Harrison song, "The Inner Light." It might make you cry. This book is the second in a series about Hikaru Azuma, a child with autism.

Since this book was written in the Japanese manga style, readers are also treated to Japanese literary culture. The book's story sequence is from right to left, which is the opposite of most Western languages. A glossary of Japanese words and a list of Japanese holidays and description of services for people with autism are provided as well. Readers are engaging in a form of cultural sharing with this book.

Sachiko and Masato Azuma's first child, Hikaru has severe autism. Hikaru is a linking of cultures as well. Masato's mother is Western and his late father was plainly Japanese. Sachiko is not Asian. Hikaru is more Asian in appearance. There are other non-Asian and even Eurasian characters as well as one Afro-Asian character in this book, which provides a "diverse" look at Japan and Japanese culture.

Readers are treated to aspects of Japanese culture. The Hina Dolls and Girls' Day which is celebrated on March 3 is explained in this book. Honorific titles and expressions are explained as well. Readers get a good, clear picture of Japanese culture and services. The book also includes useful websites about autism and can also be seen as a good resource tool.

In this second installment, Hikaru, now 9 and in 4th grade is making steady progress under the tutelage of his gifted teacher, Aoki-sensei. Readers are treated to the kind peers who befriended Hikaru since their days in day care. Moe-chan, ever Hikaru's protector remains a loyal friend as does the high spirited, rough and tumble fun loving Nobuaki as well as their fair-minded, logical friend, Tanaka-kun. He is the only one of the three who has known Hikaru since they were infants.

The illustrations are nothing short of phenomenal and the character development vivid and brilliant. Kanon, Hikaru's toddler sister is by now enrolled in day care and has the same outstanding teacher Hikaru, Moe and the others had just a few years earlier. Bright and high spirited, she continues giving her brother crash courses in interaction. One funny part in this book was when Hikaru crashed a doll party Kanon had been invited to by a classmate.

Hikaru also bonds with a classmate in a fashion. Miyu, a child who had been neglected in preschool and forbidden to attend school activities joins Hikaru's class. Aoki-sensei takes the girl under his wing and responds to her on an individual level. Using picture cards helps her to communicate. Hikaru also used picture cards to express needs. Miyu's embittered mother holds out no hope as she has had horrendous school experiences and feels there is no light at the end of the tunnel for Miyu. Aoki as well as Hikaru's mother encourage her to keep hope and to recognize the girl's progress. Under Aoki's tutelage, Miyu learns to read and has mastered self help skills. He also has his students included in school assemblies and programs. Out of this comes the Buddy System, where other students pair up with the kids in Aoki's class.

When Aoki becomes engaged and later marries a fellow teacher, he is transferred despite the parents' many protests. Hikaru's mother implores the principal to keep Aoki-sensei on as Hikaru thrived in his class. Sadly, Aoki is transferred all the same.

One silver lining in that cloud was Hikaru's invitation to his former teacher's wedding. He gets into it, in a fasion and he utters phrases that he feels most closely match the desired response. Marginally verbal, Hikaru can read and is quite adept at figuring out how to plan things. He learned to plan so well that he was able to board a bus and travel quite a distance!

Another silver cloud was a kind volunteer who watched over Hikaru and the other children in attendance. Having lost her own autistic son some years earlier, she is especially compassionate towards Hikaru and his classmates.

While Aoki-sensei is forced to transfer, Hikaru is forced to start 5th grade with a new teacher. In a weird twist of fate, the new teacher was the one who inadvertently endangered Hikaru in the first volume. Punitive and rigid, Gunji-san lays down the law and cannot maintain Hikaru and 7-year-old Miyu. That year provided major setbacks. However, the light at the end of the tunnel was never extinguished and shows of compassion helped make for more accomodation for Hikaru and Miyu-chan. Moe, Nobuaki, Tanaka and a new boy named Ishida take the special ed students under their wing and voluntarily play and work with them, much to the consternation of Gunji-san.

Sadly, teachers who are not well matched for students with special needs are not uncommon. Gunji, overwhelmed and disillusioned soon came to rely on the Peer Buddies as they were able to create calm order in the class when she was not. Over time, the Special Buddies were able to build a social bridge of sorts and let's just say....the light never went out.

The drawings are magnificent and the characters are very appealing and believable. The rich diversity of characters makes a good thing better. Gunji, clearly Western is married to a man who is Japanese and their daughter is clearly a linking of both cultures. She is very Eurasian in appearance.

At times, one could easily forget that this is a novel. The book has a preface about two Japanese families coping with autism. It is very interesting to learn about autism services in other countries. The Japanese character for "autism" is "closed off" or "cloistered self." The irony of the Japanese character for autism is that Hikaru is part of a very integrated community and, thanks to Moe and his wonderful teacher is anything but cloistered.

Keiko Tobe has unified people from all over the world with this stellar book. She wisely included explanations and descriptions of Japanese culture and mores as well as some humor. I like the way she talks about people who have influenced this book. While Tobe does not go into great detail about autism, her story and the magnificent drawings clearly depict severely autistic behavior and how it impacts others.

This is a delightful book that will remain a bright light in the hearts of all who read it. I was delighted to learn that this will be a continuing series! I'm already looking forward to the next installment!

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