This my first work of non-fiction for adults. It is a memoir about my mother who was diagnosed with autism at the age of 72.
Praise for A Place for Everything:
"You don't have to have a connection to autism to find much to - enjoy perhaps isn't the right word - that you can relate to in this book because it's largely about the business of caring for your elderly parents when you are a woman who might have a whole shedload of other responsibilities."
Jane Garvey, Woman's Hour
“It’s a brilliant, searing account and I defy anyone
not to be gripped by it"
Sally Magnusson, BBC Radio Scotland
"This is a seminal book in this area. The new frontier for the diagnosis of autism is the very last decade of life. In this captivating story, the author describes how her mother’s lifelong eccentricity was finally explained, providing a sense of closure and resolution."
Professor Tony Attwood, clinical psychologist
"Painful, raw and with an honesty that rings clear as a bell"
Catherine Simpson, author of When I Had a Little Sister
"[A] vividly told and profoundly affecting memoir"
As a child, I didn't think much of Mum's behaviour. So what if she was strict and didn't like a mess? Loads of people's mums were like that. It was the 1970s and the legacy of our parents' post-war upbringing meant that a lot of households still had the expectation that kids should be 'seen and not heard'.
My sister and I grew up in a loving family environment. Yes, mum could be ‘eccentric’ at times, but as long as we kept things clean, stayed quiet, and looked the other way when things started to get ‘a bit much’ for Mum, everything was fine.
It was only when Mum reached her late 60s, and I and my sister had families of our own, that the cracks really started to appear.
Mum became more anxious and seemingly more irrational as the years rolled by. And then, alarmingly, more detached from the outside world.
When Dad, the man who had calmed and cajoled Mum through her entire life, was diagnosed with cancer, Mum's world - and ours too - turned upside down.
This is a story of a life lived with undiagnosed autism, about the person behind the disorder, those big unspoken family truths, and what it means to care for our parents in their final years.