From the award-winning New York Times bestselling author of Still Aliceand Left Neglected, comes a heartfelt novel about an accidental friendship that gives a grieving mother a priceless gift: the ability to understand the thoughts of her eight-year-old autistic son and make sense of his brief life.
Two women, each cast adrift by unforeseen events in their lives, meet by accident on a Nantucket beach and are drawn into a friendship.
Olivia is a young mother whose eight-year-old severely autistic son has recently died. Her marriage badly frayed by years of stress, she comes to the island in a trial separation to try and make sense of the tragedy of her Anthony’s short life.
Beth, a stay-at-home mother of three, is also recently separated after discovering her husband’s long-term infidelity. In an attempt to recapture a sense of her pre-married life, she rekindles her passion for writing, determined to find her own voice again. But surprisingly, as she does so, Beth also find herself channeling the voice of an unknown boy, exuberant in his perceptions of the world around him if autistic in his expression—a voice she can share with Olivia—(is it Anthony?)—that brings comfort and meaning to them both.
And confession time – I love Lisa Genova. When I first read her book, Left Neglected, I knew I had to read everything she ever released. So I read Still Alice and loved her even more. When I heard she was writing a new book, Love Anthony, I was so excited. I even went to the store and bought the new book the day after it was released!
While this was a really touching story, I have to admit that it wasn’t my favourite by Lisa. What I loved about her previous novels was the fact that they were rooted so much in medical mystery. Love Anthony is about a medical mystery – autism – but it wasn’t written in the same way as her previous works. I can’t put my finger on what the difference was, but this one didn’t totally grab me from the first pages and I found myself not feeling too enthusiastic by the end.
I did really like the characters, Beth and Olivia, and enjoyed reading about their personal journeys. I felt like they should have met one another earlier in the book, though, because their storylines, while connected, still seemed so separate. And the ending (which I won’t give away) seemed a little too … pretty? I can’t explain it, but I just wasn’t satisfied.
Of course, this isn’t to say that the book is terrible, because it isn’t. It was beautifully written, but was just lacking in something. That being said, I will still read Lisa’s books in the future – she’s still an amazing writer and someone who really knows what she’s doing in her books. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next!