To all those who know that a battle
will leave scars,
but do it anyway ― with love.

12695991_10208772073037629_662627382_nThis is the dedication in a must-read book called Dance of Joy,  written by author Melissa Campbell Rowe. It is a fictional work that follows a family with a severely autistic son, their struggles, and strength.

The Howard family is composed of the parents, Jeff and Meredith, a son Tucker with autism, and sisters Clare, Isabelle, and Myla. The book wastes no time as it begins. The first scene is in an emergency room, where Meredith is in the waiting room with an ice bag covering an eye swollen shut, injured by a vase thrown by Tucker in a fit of anger.

What felt so painful was the dad’s reaction; With more concern for Tucker instead of his wife. As the book progresses, you see their struggle to come to terms with their situation, the denial and how so often husband and wife reach the same conclusion at different speeds and ways, if they both reach the conclusion at all.

You will read about the problem of finding the right school or being allowed to stay in one. You will read about how quickly siblings have to grow up, as no child should have to do. You will see the struggles the siblings have in friendships. You will read about the work troubles, money troubles, and relational troubles that can result.

This book was a little painful to read at times. I had to put it down at times, it was so real. I told my husband and some friends that “If I had to put it down at times, she did her job exceptionally well!” Rowe put into painstaking detail the lives of the Howards. So much so, you forget that it is fiction.

Despite the frustrations with each family member, you fall in love with seeing and hoping for the best outcome. You find yourself rooting for the family, and because of that, this book turns into a page turner.

I highly recommend this book to the friends and family doing life with people with autism in their families.  I recommend this book to anyone who wants to see a picture of autism that is so prevalent, but rarely talked about. Despite the emotions reading this, I plan to read this book  again…and again.

You can find more info on Melissa here at her Facebook page, her start-up non-profit, and her website below:

The Arts With Grace non-profit

Melissa Campbell Rowe on Facebook

http://www.melissacampbellrowe.com>

I highly recommend liking her Facebook Page 🙂

This book is available for purchase at amazon, in print form, and for kindle.

Much love to you, Melissa. Keep writing!

I received compensation in the form of a complementary book for this review. However, this review is 100% my own opinion.

Sarah

As always, positive comments are welcome. Negative hurtful comments will be trashed before I can even finish reading them. I have many readers who are emotionally vulnerable, and I will not post comments that will further harm.

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Sarah