Welcome to Imprint Friday and today's featured imprint: Amy Einhorn Books. Stop by each week to be introduced to a must-read title from one of my favorite imprints. I know you'll be adding many of these books to your wish list.
If you're a parent, you might remember teaching your child how to take public transportation. You might even remember the day your kid took the bus by himself. Glen Finland remembers clearly, because she practiced all summer with her twenty-one-year-old son, and even then, she was scared when he set off to ride the D.C. Metro alone for the first time. Next Stop: A Memoir of Family spirals around Finland's son David, who has been diagnosed with autism.
Here's the publisher's summary.
Next Stop is the universal story of how children grow up and parents learn to let go—no matter how difficult it may be for both of them.All parents wonder about the day their children will leave home for good. It's a bittersweet time of pride and worry. For the Finland family, that day may never come for David. Although he can hold down some jobs (working at the ballpark), he has trouble with others (working at the grocery store), and his prospects of moving beyond minimum wage and receiving benefits are slim.
The summer David Finland was twenty-one, he and his mother rode the Washington, D.C., metro trains. Every day. The goal was that if David could learn the train lines, maybe David could get a job. And then maybe he could move out on his own. And then maybe his parents’ marriage could get the jump-start it craved. Maybe. Next Stop is a candid portrait of a differently-abled young man poised at the entry to adulthood. It recounts the complex relationship between a child with autism and his family, as he steps out into the real world alone for the first time, and how his autism affects everyone who loves him.
But David's story, of course, doesn't start when he's a legal adult. Almost from the day he was born, David was different from his older brothers—physically, mentally, and socially. Finland talks about his life in a straightforward, easy-to-read manner. She makes no judgments, and she asks for no sympathy. As she says, "When you meet one autistic person, you have met one autistic person." There are few universals when it comes to individual quirks and tics.
On the other hand, millions of families have had to learn to live with and help a troubled or different child. All parents of such children seesaw between wanting to hold on and needing to let go, between accepting limitations and refusing to give up. All siblings of such children also suffer. Some seem to understand why their brother or sister is the center of attention; others, like David's brother Max, are sometimes reduced to wondering why they can't be the star. If you're lucky, like the Finlands, then love and the relentless striving to do whatever can be done will hold everyone together, despite the bouts of anger, sadness, and acting-out. I suspect that not all families do as well.
Although Next Stop is about a family "who know[s] not to expect a fairy-tale ending," David Finland's story is not without its miracles. No matter your parental status, you can't help but be moved by the Finlands. They are an ordinary couple who have risen to extraordinary heights to give their son the best possible chance for an independent life.
To help kick off April's National Autism Awareness Month, Glen Finland talked to the Washington Post about autism, her own experiences, and Next Stop. On that page you'll also find a link to her article "Doors Opening," which eventually led Finland to write her memoir. To learn more about Finland, visit her website, follow her on Twitter, or like her Facebook page.
Amy Einhorn Books is a featured imprint on Beth Fish Reads. For more information about the imprint, please read Amy Einhorn's open letter posted here on January 25, 2010, or click the Amy Einhorn tab below my banner photo. To join the Amy Einhorn Books Reading Challenge, click the link.