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  • Michael Braccia

Second review on Amazon 121115

I was very grateful to Jon Markes for the review he posted on Amazon today for 'Could it be That Way'. I very much appreciate the constructive remarks, and I am relieved that he seemed to have enjoyed the book.

" Michael Braccia's debut novel is a story of resilience and ambition, It is also a story that is very funny at times, yet heartbreaking. Above all, it is a story about love: parental, marital, familial and unconditional love. The style is biographical, as we are taken into and through the life of the main protagonist, David, whose life is profoundly changed the day that his son, John, is diagnosed with severe autism. From that day forward, the course of David's life and the lives of his family are interwoven with the needs of ,his son and the struggles that he faces, not so much with his autism as with the system that fails to understand, or refuses to understand those needs. David is required to draw on all his life skills honed before John was born in order to fight not only his son's corner, but to ultimately create a better life for others with autism. David's achievements are remarkable, but this story is as much about the family that surrounds him and supports him throughout his often very ambitious endeavours. As the narrative unfolds, we come to know David's parents and in-laws and, in particular, his wife, Anita and in many ways, it is Anita who is the book's hero. Each family member becomes an important player in David's and John's lives, for different reasons and at different times. While the book pursues a mainly linear narrative, Braccia also provides glimpses of what John might say at various points in the story, if he were able to communicate verbally. Surprisingly, given the title of the book, John remains in the background for much of the story, yet the profound changes that he goes through dictates the course that the family's life takes at any one point. Through story-telling, Braccia calls on the reader to challenge their perceptions of what is means to live with autism, while also providing many useful, factual insights into the disorder. This is a book that both educates and entertains. At times it feels that there is a little too much information about David's early life, although by the end of the book it is clear why Braccia has included such detail. However, the story moves along at a great pace, particular during the final third of the book when it becomes difficult to put down. This is an ambitious first novel, dealing with a challenging subject about which much has already been written. Where Braccia succeeds is in telling a very human, unsentimental love story about a normal family that is called upon to do extraordinary things when challenged with autism and readers will be challenged, amused, informed, but above all, inspired by reading this book."

Jon Markes

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