The Away Place by author Ruth Tiger is the poignant story of a special bond between a man with Down's syndrome and an idealist doctoral student.
Sarah Richardson, a doctoral student becomes an activist for protecting the rights of mentally challenged adults in the turbulent 1970s. A deathbed confession from her mother spurs Sarah into action of founding an experimental group home and five institutionalized adults move into her startup facility. She finds herself drawn to one especially sensitive and gentle man, John, who grew up in an institution never knowing his family.
When tragedy strikes one of the members of the group it ultimately leads Sarah to discover secrets about her mother's past. What happened to her mother that will bring Sarah's past, present, and future to full circle?
Tiger writes with amazing clarity, shifting perspective throughout her narration-the reader sees the experience through Sarah eyes and through John's eyes. Tiger's brilliant novel is rich with emotion, complex characters, and a dramatic ending that will stay with you long after you've finished the book.
About the Author:
Ruth Tiger is a Special Education Program Specialist and has published articles in academic and professional publications. She has a master's degree in Speech-Language Pathology and has been an activist in promoting the needs and rights of disabled individuals since the mid 1970s. Ms. Tiger has a son, daughter and grandson and lives with her best friend and husband of 35 years in Tacoma, Washington. The Away Place is her first book.
R. Tiger on Amazon wrote:
This book immediately took over my thoughts and my life. I felt like I was right there from the beginning, living and working with the characters. Much of the story is told from the point of view of the man with Down's Syndrome and his speech was endearing and seemingly accurate.
I work with people with disabilities and this book really hit home with me. I kept seeing my client's faces in the interactions in the book. It was very helpful to understand things from their point of view. I think I gained a new understanding that will help me in my work.
Ruth Tiger has shed light on a subject that 30 years ago was completely hidden from view: Where do the children go who are not "normal" and whose parents can't, or won't, take care of and nurture them?
It used to be the Institution. A gray, dismal, prison run mostly by people with few options for gainful employment, who didn't want to be there any more than the residents.
I was fortunate enough to work for an organization that helped developmentally disabled adults get out of those prisons and in to "homes." Some needed a lot more care than others but all the participants received just what they needed, whether help to get dressed, or help to have their own apartment and hold down a "real" job.
Ms. Tiger does an incredible job of getting into John's mind and illuminating it for us. And, from her own experience, of depicting what Sara goes through, with all her human doubts and hopes and frustrations and triumphs.
I hope Ms. Tiger writes more books!