Book Reviews

Dolphins in the Mud by Jo Ramsey at Featherweight Press

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Young Adult / Romance
Reviewed by Jamie Deacon on 09-November-2012

Book Blurb

When Chris Talberman's family moved to Wellfleet, Massachusetts, Chris left behind his boyfriend and friends. Six months later, Chris still feels alone.

When a pod of dolphins strand themselves on the cove outside Chris's house, his autistic younger sister, Cece, runs out to see them. A boy named Noah Silver helps catch Cece before she gets hurt. Noah is even more alone than Chris, and he's just as eager to find a friend.

Then everything goes downhill -- Chris's mother leaves, putting Chris's workaholic father in charge. With no one else to talk to, Chris turns to Noah, and their relationship deepens. But Noah has problems he isn't willing to share.

Book Review

Dolphins in the Mud… a memorable title for a novel that will surely leave a lasting impression. Heart-warming but brutally honest, this is a story about the difficulties life throws at us and how we can overcome them. It tackles a range of issues from autism and mental illness, to divorce and loneliness, giving an unflinching portrayal of family life, which, although far from conventional, anyone who has ever been through a hard time will be able to identify with.

Sixteen-year-old Chris has been forced to grow up fast. Living with an autistic younger sister isn’t easy, especially when it means moving away from his friends and boyfriend so that Cece can attend a special school. It doesn’t help that it has been impossible for him to make new friends, his mom being worried about how the neighbors might react to Cece, or that he is often left in sole care of his sister while his mom “runs errands”. Therefore, when Chris meets Noah, he hopes things are finally looking up. Noah is handsome, mysterious, and even lonelier than Chris, and the two strike up a tentative friendship that hints at developing into something more.

Then Chris comes home from school one afternoon to find that their mom has walked out on them, plunging the family into disarray. Cece’s routine, so essential for her stability, has been disrupted, and their workaholic father doesn’t have a clue how to handle his children. Much of the burden falls to Chris, which he finds incredibly unfair. He’s only a child himself, after all. He shouldn’t have to deal with this. Desperate for some normality, Chris escapes to spend time with Noah. Yet, even as their attraction strengthens, Noah’s behavior becomes increasingly erratic. It’s soon apparent that he has problems of his own, and may not be the rock Chris so badly needs.

The thing that impressed me most about this novel was the author’s grasp of autism. She does a wonderful job of bringing across the challenges associated with the syndrome, and paints a vivid picture of how it might be to live with someone suffering with the condition. I also had to admire Chris as a character. Though he’s a typical teenager in many ways, his endless patience when managing his sister is inspirational and displays a maturity far beyond his years. As well as being fraught with family conflict, this book offered a perspective on life I hadn’t considered before, so if this is something that appeals to you, I recommend giving it a go.

 

 

 

 

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Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Novel, 192 pages/55000 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 30-May-2012
Price
Buy Link