Cariello's autistic son, Jack, sees days of the week as colors; fixates on shampoos, birthdays, cars, and calendars; and is animal phobic. Here, she grants readers intimate access to his unique mind; quirky, sometimes frustrating, behaviors; and his special personality. Cariello intuitively sensed "something was amiss with adorable little boy," specifically "language deficiency,...limited eye contact,...horrific outbursts", and his inability to seek comfort. She and her husband, Joe, were relieved to have a diagnosis, and moved quickly to obtain services. Cariello shares her family's more humorous and trying experiences with swimming and karate lessons, the YMCA, water parks, and a Disney cruise, all with five children, ages 3-9. She also discusses how she and Joe learned to cope with marital stress and her struggle to make therapists, teachers and the world see Jack "in all his autistic glory," not simply as "the child." Ironically, Cariello explains, "in my quest to help him reach his full potential, I'm actually reaching my own"; she reflects on her tenacity, and choosing to "embrace, not conquer" autism.
One in 88 children receives an autism diagnosis, according to a 2008 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Though so many families are affected, there doesn't seem to be enough information or support to relieve the sense of isolation intrinsic to the diagnosis. Cariello's second son, Jack, who is on the autism spectrum, sees the days of the week as colors, hence the title of her book. This family memoir is a heartfelt, honest, often tongue-in-cheek view of life with an autistic child, showcasing Jack's laugh-out-loud escapades and his keep-your-hanky-handy triumphs. The thematic visual of snowflakes-"similar but unique...drifting, melting, re-crystallizing"-is used to represent his autism, and is particularly poignant. However, the worry and frustration that are an inevitable part of parenting, and most especially special-needs parenting, are not glossed over, but celebrated as signs of growth for the family as a whole. A short glossary defines terms that may be unfamiliar to readers. VERDICT This upbeat, inspirational title will appeal to those interested in autism, family dynamics, and parenting.
Mary Johnson, author of An Unquenchable Thirst: A Memoir
As the Cariello family faces challenges and fears, readers find wisdom and inspiration in an ingenious love that never gives up. This is a family you'll hold to your heart long after you've turned the book's last page
Doug Flutie, The Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism
... a positive perspective on the challenges of raising a child with autism... The strength of Carrie and Joe and the love that they obviously share for each other and their family are incredibly inspiring.