By Lisa Genova
Published by: Gallery Books September 25, 2012
Source: E-galley from Edelweiss and Gallery Books in consideration of a review
Beth lives on Nantucket with her husband Jimmy and three young daughters, her world is rocked when she receives a note that her husband is cheating on her. This changes everything, Beth kicks him out, decides she needs to return to what has made her happy in the past. She knows she has to write again, and there is a voice, a voice of a young boy that is speaking to her.
Olivia moves to Nantucket in March, not a pretty time of year to go to the island, but she and her husband have separated, and she will now be living in their summer/investment property. Her mood matches the scenery, cold, desolate and alone. While Olivia has visited the island many times in happier and warmer times this is a very new stark experience. Without her husband or her son, her life is nearly empty. She knows she’s going to have to move on, but moving closer to her family in Georgia isn’t the answer so she’s taking time to contemplate on Nantucket. When the “season” on the island begins Olivia takes out her camera and offers her services for portraits on the beach or local spots.
Beth and Olivia formally meet when Beth hires Olivia to take pictures of she and her girls, new portraits to replace the family ones she tore up and threw away, the ones that had pictures of Jimmy in them. Neither of the women meeting before, years before on the beach. Olivia’s son Anthony was lining up smooth white stones on the sand, Beth was trying to round up her girls…it’s an image that will remind both women of a sweet but painfully quiet little boy……….a boy that will bring them together.
Anthony, Olivia’s son, and the voice that Beth hears as she writes, is this the same boy? The voice and the coincidences are eerily similar and yet there is no explanation as to how this voice is coming to Beth.
Lisa Genova writes about real people with neurological problems, and in Love Anthony she has again captured a story that pulls you in, wanting to know more. While the topic of autism may seem sad and heartbreaking, I must say that in the end this book shows so much hope and love it’s quite beautiful. Genova weaves the stories of two women, both broken and in need of healing, broken marriages are one theme the other the love of a parent. These are things many can relate to, and Genova takes no short cuts in showing the pain and honesty of how things can be torn apart and in some instances repaired and in others there is no chance for that. I loved how Genova took the very common question of why, why me why my child and tried to give it a new perspective, not really an answer but a point of view I’ll not soon forget.
If you have enjoyed Still Alice and Left Behind, I think you will enjoy this new book from Lisa Genova. I admit I believe Still Alice to be her finest work to date, but this book touched me, gave me much to think about. I’ve given it a 4 out of 5 stars. I’m sending a print copy off to a dear friend tomorrow. She has a friend with a now 21 year old son with severe autism. He now lives in an adult group home, but his life and that of his parents has been forever changed. His parents work tirelessly to support autism research, and I hope each person who reads this book will be a bit more informed and concerned about autism.