“One day Jack asked me, ‘What color do you see for Monday?’ ‘What?’ I said distractedly. ‘Do you see days as colors?”
Raising five children would be challenge enough for most parents, but when one of them has been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, life becomes a bit more chaotic, a lot more emotional, and full of fascinating glimpses into a unique child’s different way of thinking. In this moving memoir, Carrie Cariello invites us to take a peek into exactly what it takes to get through each day juggling the needs of her whole family. Through hilarious mishaps, honest insights, and heartfelt letters addressed to her children, she shows us the beauty and wonder of raising a child who views the world through a different lens, and how ultimately autism changed her family for the better.
Cariello’s autistic son, Jack, sees days of the week as colors; fixates on shampoos, birthdays, cars, and calendars; and is animal phobic. Here, in What Color is Monday, Carrie Cariello grants readers intimate access to his unique mind; quirky, sometimes frustrating, behaviors; and his special personality. Cariello intuitively sensed “something was amiss with adorable little boy,” specifically “language deficiency,…limited eye contact,…horrific outbursts”, and his inability to seek comfort. She and her husband, Joe, were relieved to have a diagnosis, and moved quickly to obtain services. Cariello shares her family’s more humorous and trying experiences with swimming and karate lessons, the YMCA, water parks, and a Disney cruise, all with five children, ages 3-9. She also discusses how she and Joe learned to cope with marital stress and her struggle to make therapists, teachers and the world see Jack “in all his autistic glory,” not simply as “the child.” Ironically, Cariello explains, “in my quest to help him reach his full potential, I’m actually reaching my own”; she reflects on her tenacity, and choosing to “embrace, not conquer” autism. — Publishers Weekly
One in 88 children receives an autism diagnosis, according to a 2008 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Though so many families are affected, there doesn’t seem to be enough information or support to relieve the sense of isolation intrinsic to the diagnosis. Cariello’s second son, Jack, who is on the autism spectrum, sees the days of the week as colors, hence the title of her book. This family memoir is a heartfelt, honest, often tongue-in-cheek view of life with an autistic child, showcasing Jack’s laugh-out-loud escapades and his keep-your-hanky-handy triumphs. The thematic visual of snowflakes-“similar but unique…drifting, melting, re-crystallizing”-is used to represent his autism, and is particularly poignant. However, the worry and frustration that are an inevitable part of parenting, and most especially special-needs parenting, are not glossed over, but celebrated as signs of growth for the family as a whole. A short glossary defines terms that may be unfamiliar to readers. VERDICT This upbeat, inspirational title will appeal to those interested in autism, family dynamics, and parenting. — Library Journal
As the Cariello family faces challenges and fears, readers find wisdom and inspiration in an ingenious love that never gives up. This is a family you’ll hold to your heart long after you’ve turned the book’s last page — Mary Johnson, author of An Unquenchable Thirst: A Memoir
… a positive perspective on the challenges of raising a child with autism… The strength of Carrie and Joe and the love that they obviously share for each other and their family are incredibly inspiring. — Doug Flutie, The Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism
In my quest to help him reach his full potential, I’m actually reaching my own
About the Author
Carrie Cariello lives in Southern New Hampshire with her husband, Joe, and their five children. Her second child, Jack, is on the autism spectrum. She is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post, Autism Spectrum News, and has been published in several local parenting magazines. She is a frequent speaker at autism events, and she blogs regularly about Jack, autism, and motherhood on her Carrie Cariello website.