Title: Love Anthony
Author: Lisa Genova
Narrator: Debra Messing
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Published: September 2012 – Simon & Schuster Audio
8 cds – approximately 9 hours
Synopsis: Olivia Donatelli’s dream of a “normal” life shattered when her son, anthony, was diagnosed with autism at age three. Understanding the world from his perspective felt bewildering, nearly impossible. He didn’t speak. He hated to be touched. He almost never made eye contact. And just as Olivia was starting to realize that happiness and autism could coexist, Anthony died.
Now she’s alone in a cottage on Nantucket, separated from her husband, desperate to understand the meaning of her son’s short life, when a chance encounter with another woman facing her own loss brings Anthony alive again for Olivia in a most unexpected way.
Beth Ellis’s entire life changed with a simple note: “I’m sleeping with Jimmy.” Fourteen years of marriage. Three beautiful daughters. She had never felt so alone. Heartbroken, she finds the pieces of the vivacious, creative person she used to be packed away in a box in her attic. For the first time in years, she uncaps her pen, takes a deep breath, and begins to write. The young but exuberant voice that emerges onto the page is a balm to the turmoil within her, a new beginning, and an astonishing bridge back to herself.
In a piercing story about motherhood, autism, and love, New York Times bestselling author Lisa Genova offers us two unforgettable women on the verge of change and the irrepressible young boy whose unique wisdom helps them both find the courage to move on.
My take: My first experience with Lisa Genova’s books was Still Alice. Genova took the reader into the life of a woman diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease. In Love Anthony the main character is Olivia whose son (on the autism spectrum) has passed away. She feels incredible guilt for various reasons – not the least of which is how her son died.
Love Anthony is also about another woman – Beth. Her life has done a 180 and she’s working through how to go forward. Genova connects the two woman in an intriguing way. They help each other discover that unconditional love is not a one way street and forgiveness may be part of healing.
I liked how Genova’s story wrapped up – maybe not with a beautiful bow but tied up nicely just the same. I appreciated the author’s comments about autism at the end of the book. Recommended.
Debra Messing’s performance was good. Her voice was easy to listen to and I thought she voiced the characters adequately.
Disclosure: I received a review copy of the audiobook from the publisher via Audiobook Jukebox. I was not compensated for my review.