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22 Reviews
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Can't Wait for Her Next Book
I loved this book on 2 levels: First, having an autistic nephew, I found much in the story that was eerily similar to our own experiences, sometimes with much different reactions and outcomes, though. Nice to see it through another's eyes. Second, Ann Bauer is a gifted story teller. The story captivates the reader with both it's portrayals of the circumstances and the...
Published on December 24, 2005 by Avid Reader

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I wanted to love it...
but I only liked it. Dealing with children with special needs in my profession and being a mother I thought I would find a lot to relate to in this book. I wanted the mother to demand someone to give her answers about her son, and she just never got to that point. By the middle it was dragging. I won't be seeking out more of the author's book.
Published on January 27, 2011 by REM Reviews


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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Can't Wait for Her Next Book, December 24, 2005
I loved this book on 2 levels: First, having an autistic nephew, I found much in the story that was eerily similar to our own experiences, sometimes with much different reactions and outcomes, though. Nice to see it through another's eyes. Second, Ann Bauer is a gifted story teller. The story captivates the reader with both it's portrayals of the circumstances and the emotional journey of the mother (and father to some extent.) This is not only a story of an autistic child, but is a story of motherhood and a marriage. Don't miss this book. (Beware, some of the reviews below give away far too much of the storyline. I suggest reading only part way if you'd rather wait for the book to give you all the story. Why do reviewers do this?? How inconsiderate.)
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful read on many levels, August 26, 2005
This book works on so many levels. It gives us insight into how people with all kinds of cognitive disorders find incomprehensible the world that we take for granted. The book also lets us see into the hearts of two mothers, separated by half a century, who face the terror of losing sons. And it makes an argument, a convincing argument, that sometimes the things we want most in life come at a great price.

Ms. Bauer's writing is clear, lucid, and beautiful. A remarkable first novel from an author I have no doubt we will be seeing more of.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just buy this woman's book., August 31, 2005
By 
Heal (Iowa City, Iowa) - See all my reviews
I'm blown away. I've been waiting for this book ever since I read some of Ann Bauer's earlier writing: she has a storyteller's knack for writing about the fierce, determined love mothers feel in difficult and confusing situations, situations that don't resolve themselves completely. Bauer writes characters that feel deeply real, human and flawed and admirable and, at times, dislikable. The story has a central focus: a young couple's talky, brilliant son slides mysteriously to the edges of his own mind, skating into territory that sometimes looks like autism, sometimes looks like something else. The book watches the marriage, and the people in it, shift to accommodate the son's mysterious changes. But the story's about more than that: it asks what happens in a family as a result of all that shifting. It asks us to feel a love so fierce, in a situation so pressing, and to question the lengths we'd go to, if that were us. The prose is beautiful, never overwritten, happening in lines that are tight and rhythmically beautiful. Easily the best book I've read this year.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Accurate dysfunction, December 8, 2006
I read this book and "Curious Incident of the Dog In the Nightime" to fulfill a requirement for a diversity class I'm taking. I was the only person in the class who liked "Wild Ride" better than "Curious Dog." As a special educator, I watch and listen as families wade through their lives with a disabled child. It can be messy, complicated, and exhausting, as well as vibrant and rich. For me, this book tapped into all of those things. As I listened to the rest pick apart this book and learned how disappointed they were with the mother, it became apparent to me that, what the group DIDN'T like, was the emotion it sparked within them. I found "Curious Dog," to be somewhat informative for the reader who doesn't know much about autism, but I found "Wild Ride" to be much more 3-dimensional. In all, both were very good books, but with very different perspectives.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Atypical Child and his family, September 4, 2006
Though a lot of reviewers have called Edward, the central character in WILD RIDE, autistic he is better described as an atypical child with some autistic characteristics. Bauer does a great job describing the impact a child who is very different from others has on his whole family and particularly his parents. WILD RIDE is especially interesting because Edward's mother (Rachel, the narrator of the book) includes researching family history in an attempt to help Edward. The story of her maternal uncle Micky's difficult life in the mid 50's is a compelling story in itself. Rachel also looks in to her adopted husband, Jack's, birth family. Jack, himself, displays some unusual characteristics as he has an uncanny ability to heal, problems with employment and authority and just an unconventional outlook on life. While this is a generally well written book there are spots where time shifts are handled in a confusing manner but a bit of rereading makes all clear.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very interesting book, August 30, 2005
By 
K.Depp "Mom of 3" (Glastonbury, CT United States) - See all my reviews
As I read this book, I could feel all the emotions the mother in this story was feeling. I have twin boys who were diagnosed with PDD at age 3. For two years I endured the endless doctor appointments, comments from family, jealousy toward my friends "perfect" children. The author does a great job of showing the reader the struggles parents, particularly mothers, might go through when one of their children has a disability and the hope they so desparately hang onto. I love the characters, particularly Rachel, because I can see myself in her.

Needless to say, my boys were misdiagnosed! They are healthy, happy, well adjusted 10 year olds. Never give up hope.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars All in the Autism Family, August 26, 2005
By 
This review is from: A Wild Ride Up the Cupboards: A Novel (Paperback)
When Rachel met Jack in a bar, she was a student at a college in Minnesota in the late 1980s. She was immediately attracted to him; barely graduated and ended up eloping with him. Rachel described the early years of their marriage as idyllic and rich in romance.

Their first child, Edward, was born on March 12, 1988 followed by Matthew in 1990 and Grace in 1995. Each child is quite large and tall like their father. Edward also has autism.

Edward made all developmental milestones within normal limits until he was nearly 4. In 1992-93, the family moved from southern Minnesota to northern Minnesota. On a 1994 road trip, they crossed the Iowa border and it is there when Edward, seeing the long stretches of land and understanding the concepts of "borders," says that they are nowhere and often told other children that he wanted to live "nowhere."

In northern Minnesota, Jack changes jobs and Rachel continues with her magazine work. Luckily her magazine has landed some lucrative accounts as the family had been in financial dire straits for a long time. Edward became nonverbal; his skin was described as pallid and ashy and his back had a series of strange looking marks that even the doctors could not explain. Edward's behavior became disruptive; at a story-time in a local library, the librarian roughly ousted Edward from the group and chewed Rachel out.

Several years later, Edward explained his behavior by saying that when the librarian twirled a color stick, the colors hurt his eyes and distracted him. He would then look at the ceiling lights and play with the switches to "come even" after this sensory bombardment. What the boy described is not an unusal experience for people with autism.

Edward somehow got through a public education with some support from the school and a lot of support from Rachel. He had a gift for math and could compute any multiplication and division problem he was given. He could also do very advanced math, much to the delight of his brother.

Matthew understood Edward. When Edward had his tonsils removed at 5, he became verbal much to the delight of those who knew him. Matthew told Rachel that Edward's fear was "when people, smells and sounds get mixed up." What an excellent description of the autism experience! Since autism is a sensory-neurobiological condition that does affect sensory integration and processing, Matthew's apt assessment of how frustrating it is for a person with autism who has difficulty in sorting out these various sensory modes.

Matthew also taught Edward how to spell. When Rachel worked with Edward, then 6 on writing his name, Matthew was avidly paying attention. An early reader who was very bright and verbal, Matthew was ready to protect his older brother and keep him up to speed socially and academically. Matthew also accepted Edward unreservedly.

Rachel does some family digging and learns that her maternal uncle Mickey, born in 1932 shared many behavioral traits with Edward. When Mickey's older brother Frank died from scarlet fever at age 12 in 1935, Mickey was devastated. Never very verbal, he retreated and spoke even less. His older sister, Eleanor, then 9 took Mickey under her wing and later, a younger sister, Susanna, born in 1936 watched out for her only brother as well.

Mickey barely coped in school; was harassed by teachers and pupils alike; suffered from sensory overload and did not learn to read until he was 14. Luckily, he had a natural aptitude for baseball and that got him through his secondary years. He never qualified for a team after graduation and simply accepted that as he did not have the interest nor the desire to go into sports professionally.

He served in the Korean War; discovered he had a flair for math and could mentally envision planes' aerial position; had a good job in the army; married in 1959 and had a son in 1960. He died shortly thereafter and his widow moved to Omaha with their son in 1967-68. Susanna relates this to Rachel. Every few chapters are about Mickey and his lifetime; to read these "Mickey" chapters interspersed throughout the book is effective in that readers have time to follow Edward's story as well as this historical perspective.

A compelling book about love, loss, autism and acceptance. In 1997, Rachel's sister has her first child and Jack is facing betrayal and legal difficulties. The story closes in 2003 with Edward, then 15 surviving middle school in a world much more ready to accept him than his uncle knew decades earlier.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE ULTIMATE DEDICATION, May 13, 2010
This book is a fictional chronicle of one family's struggle--to discover what is causing son Edward's strange withdrawal that began at the age of four, and what, if anything, can be done to correct/cure his problems.

Throughout the story, narrated in the first person by the mother, Rachel, we peek into their world, from their courtship and unusual beginnings as a couple, followed by their almost perfect life as a young family until one day when their world turned upside down.

We accompany them to doctor's visits; we see them through the eyes of strangers who look askance at them and at their son; we share a bit of their loneliness and isolation as their world becomes increasingly smaller, until finally, there is nothing left except the day-to-day coping.

Interspersed with this narrative are the chapters that flash back to the past and to various family members, some of whom also exhibited "odd" behaviors.

In their search for answers, they even peruse old letters between an Uncle Mickey and his sister, always hoping to find a clue.

How one family's focus on one child's troubles and elusive diagnosis completely shapes and alters their lives forever is the ultimate story here.

Longing for solutions and answers, I kept plodding along, fascinated by this family's persistence and courage--and then at the end, I was surprised by the inevitable conclusion.

A Wild Ride Up the Cupboards: A Novel is an unforgettable story that gives new meaning to the word "cope." Five stars.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Engaging, October 11, 2005
By 
Pat (Atlanta, GA United States) - See all my reviews
Ann Bauer takes her readers into the heart of a marriage and allows them to experience the frustrations and challenges of dealing with a child who is "different." The fact that Eddie can't seem to be classified adds to the frustration and also to the hope the parents continue to have for their son. I am now an Ann Bauer fan because she made me feel what it was like to be Eddie's mother and Jack's wife. Ann Bauer did in this novel what other writers hope to do, and it was done with empathy and grace.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I wanted to love it..., January 27, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
but I only liked it. Dealing with children with special needs in my profession and being a mother I thought I would find a lot to relate to in this book. I wanted the mother to demand someone to give her answers about her son, and she just never got to that point. By the middle it was dragging. I won't be seeking out more of the author's book.
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A Wild Ride Up the Cupboards: A Novel
A Wild Ride Up the Cupboards: A Novel by Ann Bauer (Paperback - June 27, 2006)
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