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How to Be a Sister: A Love Story with a Twist of Autismby Eileen Garvin
Synopses & Reviews
"Here we are, then, Margaret. You and me. You have made my life indescribably different from what I could ever have imagined."
Eileen Garvin's older sister, Margaret, has autism. Growing up with Margaret wasn't easy — her unpredictable behavior was often embarrassing in public and stressful at home. Losing her favorite blue plastic hairbrush could leave Margaret inconsolable for hours. But just as small crises are larger-than-life with Margaret, everyday moments — a shared smile, a phone call — become monumental triumphs in this story of two sisters who stick together through it all.
A candid, modern memoir, How to Be a Sister will strike a chord with anyone who sometimes struggles to connect with a loved one — especially a sibling. Readers will be inspired by the author's lifelong endeavor to forge a meaningful relationship with her sister, and by the unique perspective (and well-developed sense of humor!) that she gains along the way.
"Garvin's storytelling abilities are strong, and her fierce, protective love for Margaret, whom she brings to stinging life on the page, gives this book real power." Washington Post
"A marvelous, harrowing, life-affirming book." Abigail Thomas, author of A Three Dog Life: A Memoir
"This book is an unforgettable, courageous, and explicit sibling's eye view into a rarely explored relationship, where the bond wrought by love and joy, crisis and heartbreak is mesmerizing." Mary-Ann Tirone Smith, author of Girls of Tender Age: A Memoir
"[R]ich in the hilarious detail of coping with a beloved family member with special needs. Read this book. It will enrich your life." Terrell Harris Dougan, author of That Went Well: Adventures in Caring for My Sister
Eileen Garvin's older sister, Margaret, was diagnosed with severe autism at age three. Growing up alongside Margaret wasn't easy: Eileen often found herself in situations that were simultaneously awkward, hilarious, and heartbreaking. For example, losing a blue plastic hairbrush could leave Margaret inconsolable for hours, and a quiet Sunday Mass might provoke an outburst of laughter, swearing, or dancing.
How to Be a Sister begins when Eileen, after several years in New Mexico, has just moved back to the Pacific Northwest, where she grew up. Being 1,600 miles away had allowed Eileen to avoid the question that has dogged her since birth: What is she going to do about Margaret? Now, Eileen must grapple with this question once again as she tentatively tries to reconnect with Margaret. How can she have a relationship with someone who can't drive, send email, or telephone? What role will Eileen play in Margaret's life as their parents age, and after they die? Will she remain in Margaret's life, or walk away?
A deeply felt, impeccably written memoir, How to Be a Sister will speak to siblings, parents, friends, and teachers of people with autism--and to anyone who sometimes struggles to connect with someone difficult or different.
About the Author
Eileen Garvin was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. The youngest of five children, she has always been close to her sister Margaret. She completed her B.A. in English at Seattle University, and her M.A. in English at the University of New Mexico. She writes for newspapers, magazines, and web sites from Hood River, Oregon, where she lives with her husband.
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