Back when I was a kid, I used to read a series of books called, The Babysitter’s Club. The author of these books was Ann M. Martin – who has recently added a new book to her list of publications – Rain Reign.
Written from the perspective of 12 year old Rose – a girl with high-functioning Asperger’s Syndrome, and an obsession with homonyms – the author does a terrific job of drawing you into the world and mind of this special young lady.
Growing up with a single (and struggling) father, since her mother left when she was two, and a special bond to her uncle – Rose has her special dog, Rain to keep her company.
When Hurricane Susan hits their town late one night, Rain disappears and poor Rose is distraught. She puts together a plan of action to try and find her pet. This part of the book brought me to tears (which doesn’t happen very often when I’m reading youth fiction.) It’s here that Rose discovers what bravery and selfishness is.
Throughout the story, Rose frequently thinks and uses homonyms in her narrative, which are both irritating and interesting all at the same time. Listening to her exactness, detailed noting of times and observations of the minute details surrounding her really bring a new insight and reality to the world of Autism – providing a rare opportunity to feel autism from the inside, from a first-person point of view.
A book filled with ups and downs, the struggles of being a special needs child (and of raising one), and of finding a place to belong. There is a lot of pain in this book, a lifestyle that isn’t necessarily easy to accept (a father who is out at the bar more than at home), some harsh moments (such as an episode of physical abuse) and some language which could make some readers uncomfortable (use of the word “retard” and “fricken'” for example). It’s all woven together with an experienced writer’s hand, making everything work together to bring Rose’s life into focus and help her develop.
I really enjoyed this book. It’s worth reading. I recommend it.