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The Anti-Romantic Child: A Story of Unexpected Joy (Hardcover)
Priscilla Gilman had the greatest expectations for the birth of her first child. Growing up in New York City amongst writers, artists, and actors, Gilman experienced childhood as a whirlwind of imagination, creativity, and spontaneity. As a Wordsworth scholar, she celebrated and embraced the poet's romantic view of childrenand eagerly anticipated her son's birth, certain that he, too, would come "trailing clouds of glory." But her romantic vision would not be fulfilled in the ways she dreamed. Though Benjamin was an extraordinary child, the signs of his precocitydazzling displays of memory and intelligencewere also manifestations of a developmental disorder that would require intensive therapies and special schooling, and would dramatically alter the course Priscilla had imagined for her family.
In The Anti-Romantic Child, a memoir full of lyricism and light, Gilman explores the complexity of our hopes for our children, our families, and ourselves, and the way in which experience can alter and lead us to reimagine those hopes and expectations. Using Wordsworth's poetry as a touchstone, she speaks intimately of her poignant journey through crisis and disenchantment to a place of peace and resilience. Through her courageous account, we discover how events and situations often perceived as setbacks can actually inspire and enrich us. Developing a supple and open mind is important, this book reminds us, not only with respect to our children but also with respect to our relationship with any person whose otherness is at first disorienting. As she goes beyond her family's trials and ultimate triumphs, Gilman illuminates the flourishing of life that occurs when we embrace the unexpected. The Anti-Romantic Child is an incredible synthesis of memoir and literature, one that resonates long after you finish the last page.
About the Author
Priscilla Gilman grew up in New York City and is a former professor of English literature at Yale University and Vassar College. She has taught poetry appreciation to inmates in a restorative justice program and to New York City public school students. The Anti-Romantic Child, her first book, was excerpted in Newsweek magazine and featured on the cover of its international edition; it was an NPR Morning Edition Must-Read, Slate's Book of the Week, and selected as one the Best Books of 2011 by the Leonard Lopate Show. Gilman writes regularly for publications including the Daily Beast, the New York Times, and the Huffington Post, speaks frequently at schools, conferences, and organizations about parenting, education, and the arts, and is a Scholar/Facilitator for the New York Council for the Humanities. She lives in New York City with her family. The Anti-Romantic Child has been nominated for a Books for a Better Life Award for Best First Book.
“Smart, soulful, and involving.”
-Nick Hornby, The Believer
“Rapturously beautiful and deeply moving, profound and marvelous.”
-Andrew Solomon, author of The Noonday Demon
“The Anti-Romantic Child is beautiful, poetic, and heartfelt. It’s more than a mother–child story; it’s a journey of self-discovery. It’s a book every parent should read.”
-Kathryn Erskine, bestselling author of Mockingbird and winner of the 2010 National Book Award
“Priscilla Gilman’s lyrical narrative is profoundly moving and ultimately joyous. It eloquently touches the universal.”
“What a glorious book Priscilla Gilman has written. Lively, eloquent, straightforward, and insightful, The Anti-Romantic Child deftly delineates and negotiates the complex cross-currents of a life of the mind and a life of the heart.”
-Sandra Boynton, children's book author and illustrator
“Every parent should read this luminous book to absorb or absorb again the truth that every child is a surprise—a revelation—to be uniquely learned and understood as well as loved.”
-Mary Catherine Bateson, author of Composing A Further Life: The Age of Active Wisdom
“Unforgettable. . . . I couldn’t put this book down.”
-Gretchen Rubin, bestselling author of The Happiness Project
“This is a fascinating, tender, illuminating book about an extraordinary boy and his equally extraordinary mother. A wonderful read.”
-Martha Beck, author of Expecting Adam and columnist for O magazine
“A book for all parents. . . . [Gilman’s] poignant story of reconciling fantasy with reality is a universal story of parental growth. A story to inspire us all.”
-Ellen Galinsky, the Huffington Post
“A fantastic memoir. . . . I loved this book.”
-KJ Dell'Antonia, lead blogger for the New York Times Motherlode