Based on the blurb and Genova’s previous novels, I knew Love Anthony would only take me a day, maybe two.
I read the prologue at the airport, waiting for my flight. Three people asked me, if I was ok, offered my tissues, one gave me her sympathy, empathising with me, how hard it is to have to fly home for funerals and “that type of thing”. I was in tears; it wasn’t sad, it was beautiful.
Within the first two pages, I fell in love with the little boy doing his happy dance on the beach, aligning his white rocks, and with his guarded, weary mother. Lisa Genova shows how, with just a few words, she can create loveable, relatable characters. And there’s Beth, who has three perfect little girls, who will just walk up to a lonely child and invite him to play, who can read the little boy so easily.
It’s not about how the two meet, in fact, this was very uneventful. But once their stories develop, I couldn’t wait for them to interact, for their paths to cross again. And they did.
Olivia is the mother of a boy with autism and this is the most honest and sincere description of a struggling mother I have ever read. When you know your child will never grow up like the other children, you can’t just accept it and go forward; it is a daily struggle. And Olivia’s genuineness makes her vulnerable. One could judge her for everything she has done, but you wouldn’t, you understand her, you feel for her.
“We have pills for headaches. We have antidepressants for sadness. We had God for believers. We have nothing for autism.”
People say reading makes you learn to empathise because you get to know the world from a different perspective. Lisa Genova teaches us a lot in just one book.
I had to try very hard not to turn to the last chapter. I peeked at it, but it really is meant for the end. A perfect end to a story that is all about Anthony. And about love.