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Friday, August 23, 2013

‘grace, under pressure’ {book review}

I received a copy of the book Grace, Under Pressure: A Girl with Asperger’s & Her Marathon Mom to facilitate this review, and any opinion expressed are my own. There are affiliate links included. Disclosure Policy.

I do not have a child with special needs, a disability or mental handicap, an exceptional child or one with a physical limitation or who is other than mainstream. However, regardless of the term or phrase used or preferred, I am still a mother. A mother who can intellectually understand the physical and mental pain, anguish and despair resulting from an issue (such a small word for a big thing) regarding children. I can not understand what it would be like to walk in the shoes of a mother who deals with that on a day-to-day basis, 24 hours a day, morning and night.

GraceUndrPresr_cvr2.inddThat is one of the reasons why reading and reviewing Grace, Under Pressure: A Girl with Asperger’s & Her Marathon Mom is so important and interesting to me. The other reason is possibly odd: I’ve been fascinated with Asperger’s since the first time I heard and understood the diagnosis. That fascination magnified when  Heather Kuzmich, a young lady with Asperger’s competed during cycle 9 of America’s Next Top Model. So when information about Grace Under Pressure drifted through my email in box I had to read the book for myself.

Sophie Walker, Grace’s mom, hadn’t planned on writing a book. She initially began jotting down her thoughts about the latest experiences and frustrations with her daughter’s condition and her providers while commuting each day. Sophie thought if she wrote everything down she would be able to make sense of what they were going through as well as work out an appropriate action to help her daughter. As time passed she wondered if others were going through the same thing – the challenges of understanding the diagnosis, the needs of the child and having the feeling of failing as a parent – and batted the idea around about publishing a blog. With Grace’s approval she wrote about their experiences. That blog garnered thousands of readers who were commenting with supportive and relief-filled messages because someone was putting words to what they were dealing with and feeling. Sophie understood.

It also gave those readers a sense of inclusion. You know the ‘there are people going through similar circumstances and there is someone who cares” mentality.

My opinion

This is obviously a great book for parents who are experiencing something similar with their children, but it is also a great book for parents and, specifically, moms. We as moms (and dads!)  worry about our children, we fight on their behalf and we’ll push to get the very best care, education or whatever it is they need. That’s why this is a book I will recommend to all parents or even possibly caregivers of other family members.

Every situation isn’t the same, but we all have something to share that will help someone else. It’s what makes dealing with life a little easier. I’m still reading Grace Under Pressure. It’s not a book I want to rush through …

About the author

Sophie Walker is the author of Grace, Under Pressure. She has been a reporter for Reuters News Agency for 16 years and has worked as a foreign correspondent traveling to Iraq and Afghanistan with Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. She lives in London. Visit her online at or on Twitter @sophierunning.

Click to read an excerpt from her book.

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