I can’t believe that I never reviewed Charlotte Moore’s book George and Sam, about her two autistic sons. It meant so much to me and I was one of the first to buy it the minute it was published, back in 2004.
It has just been re-issued in paperback, and with the added and very great bonus of the columns Charlotte wrote for the Guardian for two years, before the book was published. I used to live for those columns. They were in the paper fortnightly, and I would have happily read one every week. Every day. Seeing the photo of Charlotte and knowing it was another Mind the Gap day meant so much to me.
Until then, I had no idea anyone could write so intelligently about autism, while also being amusing.
The new version of George and Sam has the same cover photo of the boys, from when they were about twelve or thirteen. They are adults now, of course, but will never live like normal adults. What’s so fantastic about Charlotte and her neurotypical youngest son Jake is the way they feel this is normal. Because to them it is.
The addition of 100 pages of Mind the Gap is like revisiting a favourite childhood place. I didn’t remember this, but the column began on my birthday, eleven years ago. And for me it was precisely the right year for it to begin.
I am of the opinion that you could easily re-read this book and the Guardian columns many, many times. It’s like coming home and feeling safe.* And I’d forgotten the introduction by Nick Hornby, who knows what it’s like to live with autism.
I can’t be the only one who feels like a changed person for having read about Charlotte’s daily life with her boys. Whether or not you live with someone on the autistic spectrum, read about George and Sam and your life may improve.
*I recently had a request from a reader of this blog for a friend to be put in touch with Charlotte. I can fully sympathise with that kind of feeling. As long as we don’t all do it.