Priscilla Gilman had the greatest expectations for the birth of her first child. Growing up in New York among writers and artists, Gilman experienced childhood as a whirlwind of imagination and creative play. Later, as a student and scholar of Wordsworth, she embraced the poet's romantic view of children and 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 remarkable precocity were 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 ways in which experience can 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. Gilman illuminates the flourishing of life that occurs when we embrace the unexpected, and shows how events and situations often perceived as setbacks can actually enrich us. The Anti-Romantic Child is a courageous and inspiring synthesis of memoir and literature, one that resonates long after you finish the last page.
The Anti-Romantic Child, Gilman's first book, was excerpted in Newsweek magazine and featured on the cover of its international edition in April 2011. It was an NPR Morning Edition Must-Read, Slate's Book of the Week, selected as one the Best Books of 2011 by the Leonard Lopate Show, and chosen as a Best Book of 2011 by The Chicago Tribune. The Anti-Romantic Child was one of five nominees 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