This soul-stirring debut memoir explores the experience of isolation and the miraculous power of care and communication in its midst.
In this soul-stirring debut memoir, Maria Mutch explores the miraculous power that care and communication have in the face of the deep, personal isolation that often comes with disability. A chronicle of the witching hours between midnight and six a.m., this meditative book takes place during the twoyear period in which Mutch’s son Gabriel, who is autistic and also has Down syndrome, rarely slept through the night. In this tapestry composed of interwoven memories, we see both Gabriel’s difficult childhood and Maria’s introduction to the world of multiple disability parenting.
As a counterpoint to Gabriel’s figurative isolation is the story of Admiral Richard Byrd, the polar explorer who journeyed alone into the Antarctic wilderness in the 1930s. His story creates a shared and powerful language for the experience of feeling alone.
In these three characters—mother, son, and explorer—Mutch reveals overlapping and layered themes of solitude that, far from driving us apart, enlighten, uplift, and connect.
Fawn Carriker on Goodreads wrote:
You don't have to be a parent to understand the magic of Maria Mutch's debut. At once hopefully kind and also blisteringly honest, this memoir artfully juxtaposes the harsh conditions of turn of-the and mid 20th Century Antarctic expeditions with her own experience as a mother. Highly recommended.
This was a hard book to read, simply because of its stark reality and poignancy. Raising and loving a child with a disability is difficult, but also rewarding. Maria Mutch did an excellent job counterbalancing the fear, exhaustion, and joy that comes with loving such a child.
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