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Saturday, 21 March 2009
From Zaftig To Aspie
by D J Kirkby
Denyse Kirkby's vivid memoir about her childhood experiences not only gave me an enthralling insight to her fascinating lifestyle and of those around her, but also took me back to those carefree days of my own youth. Despite having enjoyed a completely different childhood to hers, that didn’t even inhabit the same continent, reading this book evoked long-forgotten feelings, of fears and hopes that we have as young children.
This book is beautifully written. Each chapter covers a different memory, with every story as fascinating as the next. She describes her surroundings with such clarity that I felt sure I was there with her, so much so that it was almost like watching a film I didn’t want to end.
I couldn’t bear to put this wonderful book down, and longed to keep reading and learning more about how it was to grow up with a hippy mother, in Canada in the early seventies. Learning about the various places they lived, how she coped with experiences, both wonderful and tragic, whilst being able to almost smell the heat and the scent of the air around her.
Denyse describes how it felt to be different, not only in the way that her mother chose to live, and the friends and relatives that shared their lives, but also with her understanding of her surroundings and contemporaries.
She explains what it was like, and her reaction to being diagnosed at the age of forty with Aspergers Syndrome. My nephew has Aspergers, which made reading the book, and seeing her childhood through her eyes, even more riveting. I should think that anyone hoping to be transported into someone else’s colourful and beautifully depicted childhood couldn’t ask for a better and more fascinating read.
This is a book that I shall keep to read again.
Reviewed by Deborah Carr