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A Thorn in My Pocket: Temple Grandin's Mother Tells the Family Story Hardcover – October 1, 2004

68 customer reviews

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A Thorn in My Pocket: Temple Grandin's Mother Tells the Family Story + Emergence: Labeled Autistic + Thinking in Pictures, Expanded Edition: My Life with Autism
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Editorial Reviews

Review

“I laughed, I cried, I was shocked and amazed. Her story is one that will stay with me especially on the days I have trouble with my child.”



 

About the Author

A talented playwright, author and actress and mother of four, Eustacia Cutler is a graduate of Harvard University with a degree in English literature. Her daughter Temple Grandin is Associate Professor of Animal Science, Colorado State University, and author of Animals in Translation.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 228 pages
  • Publisher: Future Horizons; 1 edition (October 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1932565167
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932565164
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #234,174 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

188 of 192 people found the following review helpful By C. Haning on February 4, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Eustacia Cutler's book about raising Temple Grandin answers the two questions I've always had whenever I've heard or read about Temple Grandin. How did Temple survive in a time when everyone was warehousing their kids with autism in mental institutions and how did she succeed so well as an adult?

This is not a "how-to" book on educational procedures or anything like that. By reading this autobiography, you will understand the character of Temple's mother, who quite literally saved Temple's life. Fifty-some years ago, Eustacia was the product of her time in most ways--the stay-at-home wife to a wealthy man who was bent upon institutionalizing Temple, particularly when he got the support from psychiatrists who believed at the time that the reason for Temple's autism was Eustacia herself.

There's a real lesson to learn here. Instead of surrendering her child, the originally compliant Eustacia (women were supposed to be that in the 40s and 50s) changed. She intuitively knew that if she gave up whom she could be, her child would be given up as well. She fought ferociously and even walked away from her marriage and her economic well being to save her child. And at that time, when she faced a family who didn't support the divorce financially and a society that looked down on single mothers, she had four children!

If there's one thing that stands out in this book, it's that you have to be who you are and all you can be in order to give that same gift to your child.
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61 of 63 people found the following review helpful By M. Lawrence on February 3, 2005
Format: Hardcover
There are so many wonderful layers to this book. I have to admit that early on I pigeon-holed Ms. Cutler, almost dismissing her, for having what appeared to be a rarified life. But her accessible language, her wit, her determination, pulled me along until I saw how very wrong I was. She cuts herself no slack as she peels back layer after layer of her life, revealing how she struggled to find ways to give her firstborn child, Temple, a shot at a life of possibilities. As the layers fell away, I could see just how high the stakes really were. Like her, some of us have found ourselves doing battle with people who say they love us and with the experts. We can identify with the pain and the personal costs to our identity, our sanity and, yes, our soul. Ms. Cutler's journey includes her involvement with people, places and events that are now acknowledged as major influences of the 20th century, giving us some rare glimpses of living history. In the end, when you remember how frighteningly easy it would have been, how expected, frankly, for Ms. Cutler to have simply put Temple in an institution, you can appreciate her love and determination to face the fear of the unknown, to eventually leave the favored, the familiar, the expected, to find her own way.
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62 of 68 people found the following review helpful By Kathryn J. Riley on February 6, 2005
Format: Hardcover
To those who say this is not a "How To" book, I have to disagree.

Eustacia Cutler tells us "How To" fight for a child's right to be a part of family and society. She tells "How To" stay the course when family and physicians conspire against you. "How To" overcome the feelings of guilt and being overwhelmed; "How To" get on with life. "How To" be supportive of a child who was unable to show affection and was so often at odds with the world. Temple's mother has written a beautiful, sensitive book. It is a book that fills one with hope; if Eustacia and Temple can have such a successful outcome, so perhaps can others.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Debra Lockwood on February 19, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a parent of a son with autism I was very excited to read what Temple Grandin's mother had to say! I really appreciated that she was so open and honest about her fears, hopes, ups and downs. It amazed me that she had such great insight to what her daughter needed when (at that point in time) society usually forgot about autistic people. I loved the book and if she ever writes another, I'll buy that too!
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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful By JoAnn Surls on February 3, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I just couldn't put down Eustacia Cutler's book. It's the most totally gripping, fascinating, amazing story I've ever read. First, the book is the story of Eustacia Cutler's belief in her child and her fierce battles to keep her child in the world (rather than institutionalize her). She repeatedly introduces Temple to new experiences in a time when children who "were different" were hidden away--sometimes, literally in closets. When, finally, Eustacia found a school that introduced Temple to the things that intrigued her (her love of animals and her ability to visualize because she thinks in pictures), Temple was inspired to become the person she became--a Ph.D. in animal science.

This book is a piece of poetry in the way it's written. I've told everyone I've seen about it because the images are haunting, from the visit to the "insane" children in institutions to the myth about Frankenstein. A Thorn in My Pocket is so sensitively written, I could feel the mother's heartbeat.If you read only one book this year, this is the one you should choose. You'll be a better person for it and, if you're a parent of a child with autism, you'll have a role model to help you along the way.
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