Here’s a little taste of my new book, In Two Worlds, in which you meet the protagonist, Anthony, and his family. This is Chapter 1, ‘Beach Day.’
If you enjoy this sample, please check out my book on Amazon, available in paperback and kindle, and as an ebook at Smashwords.
Chapter 1: Beach Day
Anthony enjoyed going to the ocean. He loved the cold water on his hot body. He loved the hot sand tickling his bare feet. He loved the sensory pleasures of the ocean breeze on his skin, the whitecaps breaking and the seabirds running after the waves. He enjoyed finding seaweed that washed ashore and stomping on the air bubbles. Seaweed was enticing. It twirled and trailed after Anthony in fascinating patterns. Putting it all together, the ocean was a huge rush, thrilling every sense, even taste.
“Anthony, take the seaweed out of your mouth!” his mother yelled. The three boys were playing in the sand. Mark had prepared a long path meant to funnel the tide. Little Gary played with his toys, attempting to build a tower of sand. And Anthony, who had resisted all attempts to get him to make his own tunnel or tower, was sitting nearby running sand through his fingers and loving the feel. He stared, mesmerized at the sight of the sand tumbling in falling columns to the sand on his feet. He had to taste it. The urge was overwhelming. Oh no, not again. Anthony’s father jumped up.
“No, no!” He brought a towel and wiped Anthony’s tongue. The people lying closest to Anthony’s family were staring. “Give him some water,” his dad yelled to Anthony’s mother. “I can’t get it all.” Then he stared sternly at his son. “No eat sand, Anthony,” he said in clipped broken English. “No, bad. Bad.”
Part of Anthony wanted to eat more sand just because he hated baby talk so much. Compulsions were hard to take. They were like a body ordering a mind. It wasn’t as if Anthony enjoyed a mouth full of sand. It was gritty and tasted salty and he felt a bit like gagging. He saw his brothers pretending they weren’t with him. He saw his father’s shame. If Anthony could have explained, he would have told his parents that he had to obey the compulsion. It didn’t matter that the sand was gross in his mouth or that he looked like a strange oddball to the strangers who were staring with such curiosity. His body ordered him to eat sand, so he ate sand.
His impulsive acts were like a lizard hanging out on a rock and without thought ambushing the cricket that wandered by. Like the lizard, Anthony lived with impulsive actions governed by his primitive brain, but unlike the lizard, they often were not functional. A lizard eats his cricket to survive. Anthony’s impulses, like pulling petals off flowers or eating strangers’ leftover scraps he found on the tables in the mall food court or putting sand or seaweed in his mouth, seemed idiotic, harmful, or just plain weird. But he had no means to resist these compulsions.
“It isn’t good, Anthony,” his father said. He took Anthony by the hand to play in the waves. Gary took his father’s other hand. The moist sand vanished under Anthony’s feet. Anthony bounced up and down on his toes and waved his arms in the air, excited. The three of them jumped over the approaching waves over and over. Finally, Anthony tumbled forward and brought his hand deep into the soft, muddy sand. There was no stopping himself. He put a handful of it into his mouth. “I can’t take this any longer,” Anthony’s father muttered. He brought Anthony and Gary back to the towel. “He did it again,” he told Anthony’s mother.
“I saw,” she said. “Maybe we should go home.”
“No, no, no!” cried Gary. “It’s not fair!” He was right. The family obeyed Anthony and his impulses too often. “I want to stay longer, please.”
“He has autism,” Anthony’s father yelled to the staring strangers. They turned their heads, embarrassed at being noticed. “Fine, let’s go play ball,” he called to Gary and Mark, “and maybe,” he suggested to Anthony and his mom, “you two can stay here on the towel.” Anthony’s mom gave him a snack. She poured sand on his legs and dug holes in the sand with him. He started to calm down inside. His mom sang to him and he snuggled next to her. Then she took Anthony by the hand and they went for a stroll by the shore. He felt the velvety sand under his feet squish between his toes with every step. He felt salty and damp. He was happy. When they came back to the towel, after a long walk, Gary’s tower stood, pail-shaped, made by inverting damp sand into a multi-tiered edifice.
Anthony had to obey. He stepped on it.
I had an intensely emotional response to this extract . It was both painful and beautiful to be taken inside Anthiny’s experience. My son is seven and non speaking so I am bound to relate to the content, but putting that aside I thought this was really quite extraordinary. I have a feeling that EVERYONE would benefit from reading this book.
I have to admit I was a little concerned as to whether fiction would be the right vehicle for your writing (I loved Ido in Autismland so much) but it is often the case that fiction can tell truths better than non-fiction, and I suspect this is the case here. I bought the book a few days ago and expect I will race through it . I also expect to then buy more copies and start gifting them to family and friends!
That’s why I wrote it in fiction, to really have to chance of getting a much bigger picture. I’m so glad you loved ‘Ido in Autismland,’ and I hope you will love this book more. If you have time, I’m asking readers to post reviews on Amazon and Goodreads.
I purchased Ido’s novel as soon as I heard it was available and am almost finished. Although it is classified as fiction, it is like historical fiction that is a fictionalized story grounded in real events. His novel has fictional characters and events but clearly draws on his personal experience with stigma, oppression by “experts,” and coping mechanisms dealing with non-speaking autism. It is a triumphant story that describes the main character’s experience as he learns to communicate. Even as a non-disabled speaking Autistic person the book has made me both laugh and get angry as I recognized things about myself. As a human being it has made me cry with sadness seeing what another human being had to go through and cry with joy as Antony was finally able to start letting people see his lively personhood. Everyone should read this. Thanks Ido, you’ve done it again!
I appreciate your praise. Would you mind posting your opinion on Amazon and Goodreads reviews?
wow, so far i think this book could be really good. it is very hard to have autism because it can be frustrating at times. Your first chapter of your book was really good. I like the part about the sand, that was really funny. It is really difficult to sense what is going on in your surroundings just like Anthony did. Sometimes i do not want to have autism. At times i feel pressure, sounds can bother me and i get sometimes upset, startled, or frustrated when noise get overwhelming for me. Anthony is like that too, he feels things differently, he goes through his struggles, just like you and me. Your blog has come such a very long way, keep it up. You written two books, and that is really awesome. A lot of kids with disabilities have typed on the computer, but you written two books, that is really amazing, you have done what they could have done. After so many years, you are still inspiring others to do what people with Autism want to do. Other people in schools do Best Buddies with disabled kids. You are very unique in a cool way, and i feel good at what you do. Great job, i think you will have a great successful future, congratulations on your work, thank you and good luck.
Gee, Ido, I’ve only read your first paragraph so far and I must say it is extraordinary ro realize that “Clever Hans” has so many adjectives in his vocabulary….
Haha neigh neigh.
Just received In Two Worlds. Look forward to reading it this week. Thanks for writing it, Ido.
Thanks! I hope you’ll consider writing a review on Amazon if you like it.
I just read In Two Worlds. Truly impressed and inspired by this novel. I hope one day our autistic son will be able to communicate freely like you. Thank you for creating the paradigm shift in how people perceive autism. Highly recommended book for all.
Thank you. I hope so too.
I would be grateful if you posted a review on Goodreads and/or Amazon.
I wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed your new novel. I wrote a review in Amazon for it. I wanted to let you know that I work for a school program that has learners who are non speaking who are using RPM and that I live with two non speaking young people with autism who are using RPM although they are no yet communicating as well as you are. I have been contracted to develop a parent education program and I want to make many quotes from you and send people to buy your book. I am also reading your book aloud in segments for my friend and colleague who is almost 90 and cannot read. She is so excited by your work and by the hope that you are bringing to non speaking people and their families. We have both worked with such children with autism for many years and just knew they were there inside. I hope you will reply to me so that I can explore with you seeking permission to make an audio version of your book to use with my parent education program. Blessings to you for the hope you bring.
Thanks so much for your kind words. You are welcome to quote my books or essays.
Making an audiobook is a more complex issue. Please give us a few weeks and someone will email you.
Thanks for reminding us to review the book so others get a heads up about its significance. I just put my review on Amazon.ca, where a doctor also gave it five stars.
Once an e-book is available, I’m sure lots of people will want to access it. I know people I would be buying it for already. Keep us posted!
Ebooks are out on Kindle and Smashwords already. Links are on the right under the picture of the book’s cover.
Thanks for the nice review and your support!
Thank you for the great book and all your advocacy. I made an oops in my last post (the kind of Autistic oops I have to be very careful of when I don’t say what I mean to convey to others but only what my own brain has set itself on). I meant to say I’m also looking forward to when an audio book of your novel is available because I know people who would best be able to access your work in that form.
I read this book in one sitting. I couldn’t put it down. The perspective was unlike anything I have ever read.
Thank you so much! Please consider writing a review on Amazon or Goodreads
My book is due to arrive on Wednesday. I look forward to reading it. Your first book has given me hope for my 6 year old not yet speaking boy, who currently communicates with Proloquo2Go. Your writing is a gift Ido. You have shared incredible insights with the world into the condition known as autism, but also into errors in human perception of others.
Please tell me the name of the predictive typing to speech system you currently use. God bless.
I use either assistive express or proloquo4text (letters and word prediction app).
Assistive Express or proloquo4text. Keeble keyboard is good too.
I am currently reading this (on my Kindle) and I am very impressed. Once completed I plan to write a review on Amazon. A very important book; revolutionary, in fact.
Ido you are great, i read many article about you, i will translate this articles in Perisan & Kurdish Language, hope that Autismic people get known with you.
greeting,Hiwa from Iran
Thank you Hiva!