Almost all her life, Linda has lived with her brother Douggie’s disability; from the childhood forever altered by her mother’s harsh abandonment, through adolescence, marriage and children of her own, Douggie and his autism have been a constant. As middle-age, divorce and new love approach, Linda continues to live with her feelings of guilt: was it her fault her mother left; did she do enough to help her father; is her brother really happy? And is there really anything she can do about any of it? In this bittersweet novel, Dee H. Gordon examines complex relationships, love, guilt and understanding, posing the question: is it possible to please everyone else, if you fail to please yourself?
I was sent this book to review by the author, Dee Gordon. The picture above is an Amazon Affiliate link, which means if you click on it, I will get a percentage of anything you buy.
Starting in 1957, My Little Brother, My Little Life tells the story of Linda and her autistic brother Douggie. It starts on the day their mother left home. Gradually, the author takes you through Linda’s life and her relationship with her brother, her marriage, raising her own family, her divorce, career, new love and ever present, her relationship with her autistic brother.
I found this book a very interesting read. Guilt is a theme that is present throughout – Linda’s guilt at not being involved enough in later life in her brother’s life, of wanting a career, of focussing on her own family. This theme of guilt is something that I can really associate with – not in the same way of course but I think a lot of mums feel this guilt ever present in their lives and thoughts as they try to negotiate through family life. I also found the book very educational (but not in a boring way) as my son may be on the autism scale (though not nearly as severely as Douggie in the book).
My conclusion: a good read and a moving story.