I ordered Forever Boy as soon as I heard it was being published and read it within 24 hours of Amazon delivering it to my doorstep. Mind you, this is the first book I have given myself permission to read in quite a long time. The boys require so much of my attention during the day and I am usually exhausted by the time they are asleep.
In Forever Boy, Kate describes the journey her family has been on. Her son was diagnosed with Severe Nonverbal Autism. My boys both also have an Autism diagnosis; however, all three boys are very different. What I loved about Forever Boy is that it spoke straight to my Mama heart. Our boys may different, they have different struggles and our day to day looks completely different, but the words she wrote still rang true.
I ended up reading much of the book aloud to my husband through tears (just to be clear, Harry Potter can make me cry these days!) Each time he would comment “You’ve said that exact same thing a million times” or “Wow, that sounds familiar.” This is what makes Forever Boy so moving. It’s relatable, no matter where the child is on the spectrum.
I appreciate Kate’s honesty. She is real about how her son’s diagnosis has affected her marriage, her family relationships, her friendships, and her emotions. She talks about BOTH the joys and the struggles of life with Autism. The world tells us Autism Mamas that we need to be joyful about our kids’ diagnosis. Kate shares how she came to find joy, but doesn’t shy away from the stuff that we aren’t supposed to talk about.
Within her pages, Kate gives you permission to be real, to worry, celebrate, cry, or get angry, when the world says you need to smile and pretend like everything is wonderful. Goodness knows I have felt all of those things, sometimes within a few minutes of each other. In the last chapter, Kate talks about grief and allowing yourself to feel it. I firmly believe that in order to move forward, you must allow yourself to process these feelings. Toxic positivity isn’t helpful to anyone. Kate urges us to be the person we needed in the beginning.
If you are a parent of a child on the spectrum, you should read this book. You are not alone. If you are an extended family member of a child on the spectrum, you should read this book. It will help you understand what your loved ones live. If you work with a child on the spectrum, you should read this book. It will help you better understand the families you support. If you are a human, you should read this book. It will help you gain new perspective and be a kinder, more understanding person.