We tend to listen to people who shout the loudest, who demand our attention. With all the noise, it’s easy to forget that others aren’t capable of making their needs known. Some people – displaced children, and children in the system, especially – often don’t believe that their needs matter at all. -Benjamin Ludwig
Ginny Moon’s painfully honest narrator is Ginny, a girl with autism living in a world that just doesn’t add up. Five years ago the police removed her from the home of her abusive mother Gloria.
Now fourteen and in her 4th Forever Home, Ginny is hell bent on returning to her mother’s apartment – despite knowing how dangerous that could be – to find something she insists she hid under the bed.
Ginny will steal, lie, plan her own kidnapping and tear apart every shred of the normal, stable life she currently has, just t find what she left at the farthest edge of forever.
As some of you are aware, I am a parent to a teen with Autism, bearing that in mind, I approach these books with caution. Ginny Moon appealed to me straight away, as the central character is female. Autism is extremely complex, even more so in girls and women, who are often much later diagnosed than their male counterparts, so I was curious to see how Ginny would be portrayed, especially considering she was inspired by the authors own experiences. This book has a lot to live up to, having been likened with The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, a book I have read previously and was highly impressed with.
From the outset it’s obvious that time and structure are important to Ginny, as the book is written in diary style with time ever present. The author has done a superb job in finding Ginny’s quirky inner voice, as an adult you will warm to her, be frustrated with her, find her utterly charming and have your heart break for her.
This really is one of those ‘hard to put down’ books; I was genuinely blown away by the writing, the consistency and Benjamin Ludwig’s ability to bring us right into the mind of that 14 year old girl with Autism. From 9 years old, to 9 minutes, to 9 grapes at breakfast; an obsession with Michael Jackson, a need to belong and a desperate desire to take care of her baby doll; Ginny takes us on quite a remarkable journey.
I cannot recommend this debut novel enough. You will cheer for Ginny, you will fear for her, you will want her to stop and listen. You will relate to her Forever Mom’s anxieties, you will warm to her Forever Dad’s determination. It takes a special sort of someone to get inside the mind of a person with Autism and relate that to paper, Benjamin Ludwig has done just that. It is simply a stunning piece of work.
Ginny Moon will be released on June 1st.
Benjamin Ludwig is a middle school language arts teacher who believes strongly in supporting the voiceless and displaced, especially their need for attachment. Shortly after he and his wife were married they became foster parents, and adopted their first placement, a teenager with Autism and developmental disabilities. Ginny Moon was inspired in part by conversations he had with other parents at Special Olympics basketball practices.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of Ginny Moon for the purpose of this review which is my honest opinion.