With the CDC reporting that 1 in 150 children have autism, the condition and its symptoms have become well-known. In the sixties, when Anne Clinard Barnhill was growing-up, an autism diagnosis was rare and doctors were often unaware of the symptoms. Barnhill’s sister, Becky, did not receive the diagnosis of autism until she was thirty-seven. She was considered “emotionally disturbed” throughout her childhood. Anne watched her sister spend time in institutions where she improved, but was subject to questionable care and bouts of homesickness. Barnhill tells her story in At Home in the Land of Oz: My Sister, Autism and Me.
Released: June 2007 by Jessica Kingsley Publishers; $17.95; ISBN: 978-1-84310-859-7; paperback (256 pages).
What others have to say about At Home in the Land of Oz:
“AT HOME IN THE LAND OF OZ tells the story of a family striving to keep a perilous balance while nurturing an autistic member. It is first of all just that, a story filled with suspense, humor, empathy, frustration, triumph and heartbreak. Anne Barnhill writes economically, cleanly, and frankly and her words will go to the heart of every reader. From her pages I learned that endurance can be the most important component of courage. And I learned in a most entertaining way.”
Fred Chappell, Bollingen Prize-winning author of I Am One of You Forever
“…a story that deserves a far brighter and higher billing than the kind of easy, happy, feel good non-fiction that often tops best-seller lists. This is because her story deals with those quiet heroics that many families and individuals face while they hide away in pain and misunderstanding. In facing autism full on, Ms. Barnhill has demonstrated how humans can love each other in unspeakable ways, learning languages as well as contours of certain rooms of the heart that some of us are never fortunate enough to know.”
Clyde Edgerton, professor at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, and author of Walking Across Egypt
“In this book about crossing barriers and making connections, Anne Barnhill gives us a vivid and wrenching account of her sister’s struggle with autism. It is a story of kinship, intimacy and affection, and one of the barriers it breaks through is with the reader, connecting us with the pain and victories of a life, a family.”
Robert Morgan, author of Gap Creek
“While the book is about Barnhill’s sister, Becky, it is also a classic coming-of-age story that reads with the suspense, and superb prose, of a terrific novel.”
The Greensboro News and Record, reviewed by Steve Cushman
“It sounds odd to claim that AT HOME IN THE LAND OF OZ is a beautiful book about autism, but it’s just that—a story of love, fortitude and infinite patience.”
The Pilot, reviewed by Stephen Smith
“I fell in love with Anne’s writing and her family when I reviewed this book in June, but recently I was reminded of it again when I saw a segment on CNN about Jeff Daly and his struggle to find his sister Molly who was institutionalized in 1957 at the age of 3…I highly recommend this special sister’s memoir.”
The NC Autism Bookstore, reviewed by Hope