From Kirkus Reviews
The hypercompetitive rituals and other inanities of elite suburban preschools get a merciless but droll dissection in Woods' debut novel.
Meg Norton, stay-at-home mom of two, strives to shoehorn her son Charlie into a prestigious preschool even though she knows he isn't ready for the transition. The decision to keep him home isn't hers to make: In her affluent Southern California community, interview tutors for kindergarten admission and waiting lists for preschool are as ordinary as a PB&J. Moreover, her husband, Chuck, and wealthy father-in-law attended the Norwich School, which they continue to financially support as alumni. But Charlie's "interview" isn't a success-he throws a tantrum over his shoes-and he's turned down by Norwich administrators. In fact, it takes little for Charlie to have a meltdown; bunchy socks, the wrong drinking cup, even humming can trigger tears and screams. Meg's endless problems with her son spill into other areas of her life-isolating himself with work, Chuck seems to hold her responsible for Charlie's oddities; the other moms at play dates and art classes make her feel outcast; even her best friend Dana seems to have transformed into the kind of "A-list mom" they previously mocked. After Charlie gets into Norwich on his third attempt, Meg's troubles multiply and turn far more serious. She must acknowledge one secret in order to reveal another that will change her son's life and her own. Woods crafts classroom and backyard scenes into keen, sly takes on the world the Norton family inhabits. Meg makes an ideal medium for this tale. A perpetual outsider, she skewers with delightful off-beat humor all that comes her way-bridal-themed birthday parties, kindergarten graduation ceremonies and school drop-off etiquette. What saves her from sanctimony is that she's too smart to be unaware of her own complicity and her desperate desire to fit into a world she loathes. She's astute enough to finally admit, too, that the distance between her problem child and herself may be less than she thinks: "We both have things to learn."
An irreverent but stylish critique of a privileged social milieu --Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"In Living Through Charlie, Rebecca Woods has tapped into the experience of having a not so perfect child in an oh-so-perfect world. She writes with deftness and knowledge of the pressure mothers feel raising a child on the autism spectrum. There is humor and humility on every page."-Lian Dolan, author of Helen of Pasadena
"Living Through Charlie might not represent every family dealing with autism, but it does cover a lot of common ground, and the story both acts as a support for those families and gives other families an inside look, with the hopes of promoting awareness and compassion...Author Rebecca Woods tells the story with a healthy dose of humor and with a very human approach. It's at times witty and other times sweet, and always very real." - Cara Batema, Editor, Specialneeds.com
"Rebecca Woods offers a modern-day comedy of manners with a familiar story made special through her wit, compassion, and insight... The time I spent reading "Living with Charlie" flew by as I looked in on a family in chaos. Woods provides a whole new meaning to the word "cope," not with just an exceptional child, but with ourselves and the world we live in."- Eileen Granfors, Author/Blogger, Amazon "Vine Voice" Top 500 Reviewer