Monday, September 27, 2010

Sucking Up Yellow Jackets

Jeanne Denault is in my writers group, The Rebel Writers of Bucks County.

Her memoir Sucking Up Yellow Jackets has just released from O-Books and it's a funny, witty and sometimes poignant account of her raising a son with Aspergers Syndrome.

From climbing out of his cot within a few months of his birth to climbing a telephone wire hand over hand high above their terraced home in Philadelphia and then, as a teenager, dismantling a motor cycle simply because his mother demanded he had to get rid of it and he took that to mean literally, Jeanne depicts in precise, wry prose what it was like to bring up this super intelligent child at a time when Asperger's wasn't even understood by the medical community. She thought she was going mad or had spawned the devil's child.

Jeanne and her family moved around the states while Max was growing up--Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Illinois where Jeanne's attempts to fit in among the 'meat and potatoes' women of the area drew their scorn when she made a gourmet dish featuring a mild curry sauce for a block party and incited their wrath. The family relocated to Pennsylvania again after Max had a few run-ins with the local police and judges. His teachers, some of his counselors and even her husband blamed her for some of his excesses.

A fast, dazzling and very enjoyable read.