Last night at 1:00 am I finished listening to Love, Anthony on audio. I had been listening to it in my car as I drove around doing errands but I was working on a project indoors and decided to bring the cd’s inside so I could play them while I worked. My computer worked fine to play the cd on and pulled double duty after I finished my project and turned to Pinterest. I pinned away as the story progressed. An enjoyable Sunday afternoon elapsed as I steadily worked away and Debra Messing read a story to me. The words pleasant and cozy come to mind.
A few thoughts on this particular audio book:
Debra Messing was a delightful narrator. I searched to see if she’d done any other books but alas, she has not. Here’s hoping she does in the future. I honestly think her voice made the book better.
This was my first Lisa Genova book. Known for her extensive knowledge of anything neurological related, she’s made a name for herself with her books about a woman struggling with alzheimers (Still Alice) and a woman struggling with the loss of awareness on her left side (Left Neglected). That I knew. What I didn’t know was that she humanizes those rather clinical diagnoses– delving into the range of emotions that come with these afflictions. She explores the way neurological impairments affect our relationships and self image, our outlook for the future and our interpretation of the past.
Or at least that is what she did with Love, Anthony, the story of two women who are inexplicably linked by a dead boy who had autism. One woman is his mother. The other is a woman who spotted him on a Nantucket beach and was forever changed by this brief encounter. Both women are dealing with major changes and loss in their lives and learning to cope, each in her own way. The way that these two women’s lives come together is part of the story… and the reason why I was up until 1:00 am. I wanted to see how Genova was going to “bring it on home.”
And speaking of home, that was the other element about this story that I wanted to note. The setting of Nantucket is a vital part of this story. The isolation of the residents in the dead of winter. The pecking order of this established place steeped in history. The exhilaration combined with chaos that comes with the dawn of summer– and the arrival of tourists. The way the place defines both the locals and the visitors spoke to me and drew me further into the story.
The question that threads through the story is “Why was Anthony here?” How could this brief, limited life have meaning? And I’ll be honest, for most of the book I didn’t know the answer to that question. But Genova did and I’m glad she revealed it to us. If you have been touched by autism I highly recommend this book. Or if you just enjoy a story about women’s relationships set in an intriguing place, this might be a good fit for you. And if Debra Messing reads it to you, all the better.