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The Anti-Romantic Child: A Story of Unexpected Joy

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The Anti-Romantic Child: A Story of Unexpected Joy Cover

ISBN13: 9780061690273
ISBN10: 0061690279
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Priscilla Gilman had the greatest expectations for the birth of her first child. Growing up in New York City amongst writers, artists, and actors, Gilman experienced childhood as a whirlwind of imagination, creativity, and spontaneity. As a Wordsworth scholar, she celebrated and embraced the poet's romantic view of children — and eagerly anticipated her son's birth, certain that he, too, would come "trailing clouds of glory." But her romantic vision would not be fulfilled in the ways she dreamed. Though Benjamin was an extraordinary child, the signs of his precocity — dazzling displays of memory and intelligence—were also manifestations of a developmental disorder that would require intensive therapies and special schooling, and would dramatically alter the course Priscilla had imagined for her family.

In The Anti-Romantic Child, a memoir full of lyricism and light, Gilman explores the complexity of our hopes for our children, our families, and ourselves, and the way in which experience can alter and lead us to reimagine those hopes and expectations. Using Wordsworth's poetry as a touchstone, she speaks intimately of her poignant journey through crisis and disenchantment to a place of peace and resilience. Through her courageous account, we discover how events and situations often perceived as setbacks can actually inspire and enrich us. Developing a supple and open mind is important, this book reminds us, not only with respect to our children but also with respect to our relationship with any person whose otherness is at first disorienting. As she goes beyond her family's trials and ultimate triumphs, Gilman illuminates the flourishing of life that occurs when we embrace the unexpected. The Anti-Romantic Child is an incredible synthesis of memoir and literature, one that resonates long after you finish the last page.

Review:

"The daughter of literary agent Lynn Nesbit and the late theater drama critic Richard Gilman crafts a beautifully sinuous and intensely literary celebration of the exceptional, unconventional child. Her son, Benjamin, was born when she and her academic husband, Richard, were in graduate school at Yale, where she was still working on her dissertation on the Romantic English poet William Wordsworth. As 'Benj' grew older and failed to hit the usual milestones of children his age, exhibiting brilliant but 'odd' behavior such as an obsession with numbers, aversion to physical affection, fastidiousness, inability to feed himself, and echolalia, Gilman realized these were 'uncontrollable manifestations of a disorder,' namely hyperlexia. Falsely reassured by their well-intentioned pediatrician, the couple finally sought professional therapists, and after they relocated to Poughkeepsie, N.Y., where both got teaching jobs at Vassar, Benj made marvelous progress in school. Throughout her narrative, Gilman extracts from many of Wordsworth's poems, which comment on innocence and loss and gave Gilman tremendous succor during Benjamin's early development, making for both charming and studious reading. Her thoughtful memoir involves the breakup of her marriage, rejection of an academic career, and move to New York City to work in her mother's literary agency as much as it delves lyrically into the rare, complex mind of the unusual child." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Review:

"A riveting and original book about love." Ann Beattie

Review:

"With unforgettable honesty, Priscilla Gilman recounts how the reality of a challenging child transformed her dream of the perfect family. I couldn't put this book down." Gretchen Rubin, bestselling author of The Happiness Project

Review:

"What a glorious book Priscilla Gilman has written. Lively, eloquent, straightforward, and insightful, The Anti-Romantic Child deftly delineates and negotiates the complex cross-currents of a life of the mind and a life of the heart." Sandra Boynton, children's book author and illustrator

Review:

"The Anti-Romantic Child is beautiful, poetic, and heartfelt. It's more than a mother-child story; it's a journey of self-discovery. It's a book every parent should read." Kathryn Erskine, bestselling author of Mockingbird and winner of the 2010 National Book Award

Review:

"Priscilla Gilman's lyrical narrative is profoundly moving and ultimately joyous. It eloquently touches the universal as a meditation upon the way devoted parenthood can overcome the poignance of a child's developmental disorder." Harold Bloom

Review:

"Gilman is at once lyrical and deeply analytical as she explores the complexities of parenthood and the need to embrace the unforeseen." Booklist (Starred Review)

Review:

"This is a fascinating, tender, illuminating book about an extraordinary boy and his equally extraordinary mother. Their story will remind you that our fantasies about the way life should operate are both infinitely simpler than the complexities of the real world, and infinitely less beautiful. A wonderful read." Martha Beck, author of Expecting Adam

Synopsis:

TheAnti-Romantic Child is remarkable. This haunting and lyrical memoir will bean invaluable and heartening guide to all who find themselves in similarsituations and indeed anyone confronting an unforeseen challenge.” —MarieBrenner, writer for Vanity Fair andauthor of Apples and Oranges
 
With an emotionally resonant combination of memoirand literature, Wordsworth scholar Priscilla Gilman recounts the challenges ofraising a son with hyperlexia, a developmentaldisorder neurologically counterpoint to dyslexia. Gilman explores thecomplexities of our hopes and expectations for our children and ourselves. Withluminous prose and a searing, personal story evocative of A Year of MagicalThinking and A Year of Reading Proust, Gilmans The Anti-RomanticChild is an unforgettable exploration of what happens when we lean toembrace the unexpected.  

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About the Author

Priscilla Gilman grew up in New York City and received her B.A. and Ph.D. in English and American literature from Yale University. She was a professor of English literature at both Yale and Vassar College before leaving academia in 2006. She has published numerous articles, chaired panels and lectured at literary and early childhood conferences, and taught poetry to inmates in a restorative justice program. She lives with her two sons in New York City. This is her first book.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

thenightwriter, June 30, 2011 (view all comments by thenightwriter)
I began this book, as a mother of a child with Asperger’s syndrome, not quite sure what to expect. However, I quickly fell in love with how Priscilla Gilman related so much of her experiences to her most beloved poetry. As a reader, you can literally feel the perception shift in Gilman as she comes to terms with the special needs of her son by the way her interpretations of poetry shift. I could relate so well to Gilman’s experiences with her son. I was shocked, though, when I came across the page where Gilman describes hyperlexia because she was describing my son perfectly. It was because she chose to share her story that I was finally able to identify a mysterious piece of my son’s early development and could provide information on hyperlexia to his therapists and doctors. Through sharing her experiences, Gilman provided me with a new understanding of my son and new ways to relate to him. She opens up the discussion on how we come to terms with having children that do not “fit” others’ and even possibly our own definition of “normal.” Gilman shows the power of love to not necessarily overcome adversity, but to accept it as it is, embrace it, and even welcome it. She shows us that through the shedding of who we thought we were supposed to be, who we thought our children were supposed to be, a new way of thinking, a new way of life, a new self emerges. What was once considered anti-romantic becomes most romantic and beautiful through the acceptance of what is and a fierce determination to no longer allow others to define who we are or who we should be. Gilman not only becomes an advocate for her son but also for herself. She grows alongside Benj and finds strength and courage through his experiences and uses them to ultimately find her true self.

I believe everyone should read and will learn so much from The Anti-Romantic Child. We are at a point where excavating our authentic self is more important than ever, and it may just be that the children we’ve labeled as “special” are indeed so, as they are emerging as our greatest and most powerful teachers yet.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No

Product Details

ISBN:
9780061690273
Author:
Gilman, Priscilla
Publisher:
Harper
Subject:
Biography - General
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Publication Date:
20110419
Binding:
Book
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
304
Dimensions:
9 x 6 x 0.97 in 17.78 oz

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Related Subjects

Biography » General
Featured Titles » Biography
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The Anti-Romantic Child: A Story of Unexpected Joy Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$12.95 In Stock
Product details 304 pages Harper - English 9780061690273 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "The daughter of literary agent Lynn Nesbit and the late theater drama critic Richard Gilman crafts a beautifully sinuous and intensely literary celebration of the exceptional, unconventional child. Her son, Benjamin, was born when she and her academic husband, Richard, were in graduate school at Yale, where she was still working on her dissertation on the Romantic English poet William Wordsworth. As 'Benj' grew older and failed to hit the usual milestones of children his age, exhibiting brilliant but 'odd' behavior such as an obsession with numbers, aversion to physical affection, fastidiousness, inability to feed himself, and echolalia, Gilman realized these were 'uncontrollable manifestations of a disorder,' namely hyperlexia. Falsely reassured by their well-intentioned pediatrician, the couple finally sought professional therapists, and after they relocated to Poughkeepsie, N.Y., where both got teaching jobs at Vassar, Benj made marvelous progress in school. Throughout her narrative, Gilman extracts from many of Wordsworth's poems, which comment on innocence and loss and gave Gilman tremendous succor during Benjamin's early development, making for both charming and studious reading. Her thoughtful memoir involves the breakup of her marriage, rejection of an academic career, and move to New York City to work in her mother's literary agency as much as it delves lyrically into the rare, complex mind of the unusual child." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Review" by , "A riveting and original book about love."
"Review" by , "With unforgettable honesty, Priscilla Gilman recounts how the reality of a challenging child transformed her dream of the perfect family. I couldn't put this book down."
"Review" by , "What a glorious book Priscilla Gilman has written. Lively, eloquent, straightforward, and insightful, The Anti-Romantic Child deftly delineates and negotiates the complex cross-currents of a life of the mind and a life of the heart."
"Review" by , "The Anti-Romantic Child is beautiful, poetic, and heartfelt. It's more than a mother-child story; it's a journey of self-discovery. It's a book every parent should read."
"Review" by , "Priscilla Gilman's lyrical narrative is profoundly moving and ultimately joyous. It eloquently touches the universal as a meditation upon the way devoted parenthood can overcome the poignance of a child's developmental disorder."
"Review" by , "Gilman is at once lyrical and deeply analytical as she explores the complexities of parenthood and the need to embrace the unforeseen."
"Review" by , "This is a fascinating, tender, illuminating book about an extraordinary boy and his equally extraordinary mother. Their story will remind you that our fantasies about the way life should operate are both infinitely simpler than the complexities of the real world, and infinitely less beautiful. A wonderful read."
"Synopsis" by , TheAnti-Romantic Child is remarkable. This haunting and lyrical memoir will bean invaluable and heartening guide to all who find themselves in similarsituations and indeed anyone confronting an unforeseen challenge.” —MarieBrenner, writer for Vanity Fair andauthor of Apples and Oranges
 
With an emotionally resonant combination of memoirand literature, Wordsworth scholar Priscilla Gilman recounts the challenges ofraising a son with hyperlexia, a developmentaldisorder neurologically counterpoint to dyslexia. Gilman explores thecomplexities of our hopes and expectations for our children and ourselves. Withluminous prose and a searing, personal story evocative of A Year of MagicalThinking and A Year of Reading Proust, Gilmans The Anti-RomanticChild is an unforgettable exploration of what happens when we lean toembrace the unexpected.  
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