Friday, October 26, 2012

Review: Love Anthony by Lisa Genova (audio)

Love Anthony by Lisa Genova
Read by Deborah Messing
Simon and Schuster Audio
September 2012
Length: 9 hours

From the back of the audio case: I'm always hearing about how my brain doesn't work right...But it doesn't feel broken to me.

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 thoughts: I have now read everything by Lisa Genova and can say I am definitely a fan! Having the scientific background coupled with great writing skills really gives Lisa Genova the ability to explore topics that are at the forefront of the medical community. She looks at early onset Alzheimer's in Still Alice and one possible effect from a traumatic brain injury in Left Neglect. Now in Love Anthony, she takes a look at autism.

A chance encounter with a young boy on a Nantucket beach and his row of smooth white stones leads the reader on an amazing journey into the world of autism and the power of love. Love Anthony is the heart-breaking and life-affirming story of Olivia, who is dealing with the break-up of her marriage to David following the death of their son and Beth, who is struggling with her husband's infidelity and wondering if she can forgive him - and how they are brought together through the words of an 8 year old autistic boy named Anthony.  
Olivia and Beth meet on in a chance encounter and their lives then become intertwined in a way they could never foresee. The story seamlessly goes back and forth from Beth's point of view to Olivia's, all while moving the story ahead. Love Anthony really is a love story - especially about the unconditional love between a mother and child.  It is a heartwarming story that I think will stay with me for a long time. I've worked with autistic children in the past and could really see some of them in Anthony's character.  

I cannot wait to see what Lisa Genova gives us next...her stories are real, raw and heartfelt all the while giving the reader real information about a medical topic. 

Audio thoughts: I loved Deborah Messing when she was on Will and Grace and found her to be a great narrator for this book. She was able to give each character their own voice, raw with emotion when needed, and that includes the voice of Anthony. It was easy to tell when he was speaking This is the first time I've listened to Deborah Messing narrate a book and I will definitely be looking to see what else she has done.

I received a complimentary copy of Love Anthony by Lisa Genova from Lauren at Simon & Shuster Audio.

*** Devourer of Books hosts Sound Bytes every Friday - a meme to share the audio books that everyone is listening to. Stop by and you just might find your next audio book!



  1. I was really iffy about Debra Messing narrating, often actors don't work well as narrators for me, glad to hear that she was good!

    1. This is the second time I've listened to an actor narrate - the first time was Lisa Genova's other book, Left Neglected which is narrated by Sarah Paulson - and both were really good!

  2. I'm not big on audio books, but I think I'd like to read this one. I have a son with Asperger's and so books about the Autism spectrum fascinate me. Great review.

    2 Kids and Tired Books

    1. While I don't have kids myself, I have worked with kids on the spectrum and I find books about the subject to be fascinating as well.

  3. Audio doesn't work for me but nice to know the voice.

    Like you I am a fan also, have read all her books and look forward to whatever she writes. Still Alice is my favourite and an all time favourite all time book.

    1. I actually liked Left Neglected better than Still Alice and I think Love Anthony ties with Left Neglected. Can't wait to see what she writes next!

  4. This sounds very compelling, and timely with the rise of autism. Glad you enjoyed the narration by Debra Messing--she's a wonderful actress and I'm sure she brought the characters to life.

    1. She definitely is a good actress and I think she did a great job bringing the characters to life. I really enjoyed this book.

  5. I've worked with children with autism too so this is one book I really want to read. Great review!

  6. I am really excited to read this one and I'm hoping my book discussion group will want to give it a try. I'm glad you enjoyed it! I hope to read the author's other books someday too.


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