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Spinning straw: The Jeff Apple story Mass Market Paperback – January 1, 1999

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 196 pages
  • Publisher: Diverse City Press; 1st edition (January 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1896230148
  • ISBN-13: 978-1896230146
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.4 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,338,794 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Katherine on May 26, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Author Phyllis Green's almost irritatingly breathless prose guides us on the relentless journey with the Apple family. In the sixties, Jeff Apple's disability could not be found in text books. Spinning Straw is perhaps the only biography of an autistic child who is a severe self-injurer. From the age of two-and-a-half, Jeff Apple assaults his own body.
Autism is probably the third most common developmental disability. Over 500,000 individuals in the U.S. have some form of autism - identified as a communication disorder that makes it hard to communicate verbally or nonverbally with the outside world. Typical signs are repeated body movements, unusual responses to people or attachments to objects, a resistance to non routine environments, and sometimes, aggressive behavior or self-injurious behavior. [The latter is officially known as "SIB."]
An articulate wordsmith, Green, helps Mother Pat Apple share the family's heartache as Jeff's self-violent behavior gets worse. The Apple family becomes submerged into an unknown world, a world with little comprehension. We are inspired through the endurance and determination of the Apple family's everyday life.
Despite Jeff Apple's overpowering urge to self-destruct, he provides subsequent insight into the meaning of humanity. This true story stimulates readers to appreciate the true quality of life. In Spinning Straw, the writer delves into a human experience teaching us more about the human condition.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Susan Flanakin on February 26, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Art does not usually imitate life. We usually finish reading a book or viewing a movie and we feel disappointed in life, as though we've been cheated from the media's idea of dramatic, yet glamorous lives. We sometimes even draw in because the half-truths told by film and novels tell us we are odd and unacceptable when we or our circumstances aren't perfect.
"Spinning Straw" is different. It is cathartic because it tells the whole story of life. Some of the pictures Phyllis Green paints of Pat Apple's story of her son and family are so lovely you feel the depth of beauty the sun has when peering out of a cloudy sky. Other word pictures hurt your heart they are so sad. But what would life be without its ups and downs? "Spinning Straw" remembers that in order to truly feel we have to feel both pain and ecstatic joy. We do not get to pick one or the other. And I promise you, when you finish reading "Spinning Straw"-- and you will once you start it-- you will agree that life is worth the chance of sadness when happiness is allowed as well, as the story of little Jeff Apple is filled with both extremes.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sybil Austin Skakle on June 28, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
SPINNING STRAW - The Jeff Apple Story - written by Phyllis J.D. Green, related by Patricia M. Apple, is an absorbing story of a child with Serious Injury Behavior. While many treatments are attempted and the unpredictable behavior of Jeff is recorded, the reader marvels at the patience of his parents and care givers and at their ability to keep on hoping something will work. Rumpelstiltskin, a funny looking little man, offered to help the miller's daughter spin straw into gold. In her desperation, she made a deal with him. Jeff Apple's family accepting help from every one that could give them hope of healing for Jeff were as desperate. They spun a lot of straw but never succeeded in spinning it into gold. They never knew more than temporary success. While his parents and kind therapists tried every possible means to teach him to refrain from self injury, Jeff continued to inflict pain and abuse to his person, sometimes injuring those trying to protect and care for him. The reader learns much about SIB and the character of those who seek to keep the sufferers safe from themselves. Such a sad story, Mrs. Green tells. She explains the day by day routines that sometimes worked and the reader became hopeful with the parents and therapists and feels the disappointment and frustration at failure. The reader identifies with the mother, who has to agree to dreadful things like electric shock, restraining sheet, cold showers. The reader knows the anguish and guilt Mrs. Apple felt in allowing her child to be so treated. And yet her desperation made it imperative that she accept these in a hope of saving Jeff from himself. Yes, Pat Apple had to make an awful deal, as the miller's daughter did. Well written, it is not a happy story. It is a epic story of the victory of the human spirit over dreadful circumstances to continue to love and hope. The title SPINNING STRAW is intriguing and apt.
- Sybil Austin Skakle
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By "dieudonnee" on October 25, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
In this book, the quality of the human spirit shows itself in it's mightiest face...that of unconditional love. Beautifully written, eloquent in it's reality, the author takes us right there. We are in the Apple's home & lives...we smell the bacon on that first day...& then we feel the first suspicions along with Jeff's mother. Ultimately, we feel the love, the hope, the frustration, the fear & sadly, the grief. We are there in the silent moments, the sunny moments, the despairing moments & the final moments. Our hearts go out to the Apples, their courage, fortitude & dignity...but most of all for their love. No parent should let this book pass them by, no parent who picks this book up will put it down, particularly any parents of special children. This book is for every caring human being, parent or not, as they will not, can not, walk away from it untouched .. or uninspired.
On a personal note, I was told I should read this book with with a box of tissues to hand. Being a person not much inclined to tears, I took that advice with a grain of salt. My mistake. The only salt around me when I read Spinning Straw was in my eyes & on my face, as it is at this moment recalling the book as I write this review. A "must read".
To Patricia Apple, a woman of indomitable courage & to Phyllis Green, who weaves words into pictures, all my respects.
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