Gina’s Reading: Louder Than Words: A Mother’s Journey in Healing Autism

Louder than Words by Jenny McCarthyI so appreciate Ms McCarthy’s offering her experiences in this format.  She is an articulate reporter of the reality of folks who are living with a kid who has autism.  In Louder than Words: A Mother’s Journey in Healing Autism, Jenny McCarthy has opened up her world–often a painful one–for our scrutiny in hopes of helping other parents.

However, as a mom with two kiddos with diagnoses on the autism spectrum, I struggle somewhat with the “pull them through the window at any cost” theme of this book.  It is tough for any parent to find that balance between acceptance of your child’s abilities and desire to help them achieve more than they currently are.  It is nearly impossible to walk that line when your kids have a diagnosis.

Along with the diagnosis comes a cadre of professionals, pseudo-professionals, and well-meaning passersby who will offer you free and high-paid advice, threats, and guilt trips regarding the rearing of your child.  Do too much and you are a “cure-bie” who is in denial that your child will always be this way.  Do too little and you are neglecting your child and missing the window. I suppose I’m looking for voices that find that middle space. I didn’t hear that balance in Jenny’s book.

Maybe I’m the one who needs a kick in the pants to do more for my kids. I’m certainly not claiming to be the perfect mom. I am pretty invested in my kids, though, and truly want them to be more than a fix-er-upper project. They will likely always have autism, so there’s a large part of me that is looking for delight in that reality — yes, delight — and not more angst about the diagnostic reality.

So, would I recommend this book?  Sure.  It is an honest, heartfelt look at one mom’s journey through diagnosis and early treatment for her son’s autism.  It is a quick read and worth picking up.  Is it the only–or even one of the first 10 books about autism I would recommend?  Nope.  Karyn Seroussi’s book was equally honest with loads more info to help you chart your course–whether that course includes pulling your kid out a window or just sitting along side them as they do their own thing.

In short, Ms McCarthy dearly loves her son.  She has a strong desire to help other folks similarly situated.  It was a good read and food for thought.  I’m glad I added it to my shelf.

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About Gina Lynette

I have been called a, "PollyAnna, sugar-coated idealist." I like to think of myself as more optimistic than that.


  1. All I can say, Gina, is “to each his own.” This book, perhaps, will be just what one mother out there needs. This author cannot be everything to everybody. No one can. You have to be true to yourself and to your children. I guess if you take just one sentence from her book that is helpful, that is good. Good Lord, how much research have you done on the subject? You could write a dozen books.

    I have researched so much on fibromyalgia that anything that I read right now is “reruns.” However, a newbie could find helpful information.

    What I am trying to say is we never stop trying to learn more about a diagnosis. But in the end, we have to be true to ourselves and pick out the parts of an article or book that best fit ourselves and/or our children. The rest of the info is just fluff but perhaps meaninful to someone else.

    You gave a good review.


    • Yup. That’s kind of why I bothered to review it. There may be folks who are interested in what Jenny has to say and reading about her book here might send them looking for it. There may be others who would filter their reading the way I do and may choose to skip reading this book in favor of one that will give them more of what they want or need.

      If we had unlimited time to read, I’d be all about the “if there’s one sentence that helps” thing… but with a pile of 35 books beside my bed, I’m wanting way more out of what I spend my precious, limited book time reading.

      I’m wondering if there is a Reader’s Fellowship where they pay folks to read for a year like the many, many writing fellowships out there. If I did that for about 20 years, I might stand a chance at getting through my “want to read” list.

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