Note about my Reviews

Dear Authors: The reviews in this blog are only personal opinions. I have absolutely no background in literature, writing or reviewing. I am a Librarian (actually a Library Technician for those who care OR know the difference) with a love for a good story. The opinions in the reviews are ONLY my OPINIONS. I am not commenting on the writers ability since well -- I am not a writer and never will be. If you are the author of any of the books reviewed here, my opinion is just that and not a judgment against you!

Monday, April 15, 2013

The Spark by Kristine Barnett

The Spark: A Mother's Story of Nurturing Genius
by Kristine Barnett
Random House Canada
ISBN: 978-0-307-36279-7
Buy From Indigo

Description: The extraordinary memoir of a mother's love, commitment, and nurturing, which allowed her son, originally diagnosed with autism, to flourish into a universally recognized genius-and how any parent can help their child find their spark.

Today, at thirteen, Jacob is working on extending Einstein's theory of relativity, and is a paid researcher in quantum physics. Yet at three, after an autism diagnosis, Jacob was assigned to life-skills classes, his parents told to adjust their expectations. The goalpost was to be tying his own shoes at sixteen. Kristine's belief in the power of hope and the dazzling possibilities that can occur when we keep our minds open and learn to fuel a child's true potential changed everything.

The Good Stuff
  • Wonderfully honest and truly inspiring
  • Shows the power of a mothers faith and love for her son
  • I wanted to hug this women after reading all of the challenges she faced and how she kept going through it all
  • Strong message of hope and thinking outside of the box when dealing with special needs children
  • Really made me think about how I can help my son more.  As many of you know my son has Spina Bifida and his biggest challenge being the ADHD that is so prevalent with children with this kind of disability. Think its time to maybe try to find Jake's Spark instead of trying to mold him into what I (not to mention the school system) think he should be or do
  • It was refreshing to read a hopeful story about autism/Asperger's without the blame on how this happened - Just a this is what happened & how we survive & thrive with it
  • She not only helps her child she helps others - that to be is a definition of a hero
  • Very readable
  • Nice to see the focus on the positive and not the negativity of her situation 
  • Also nice to read about the lighter moments
  • Focuses on the importance of play & that is good for every child
  • Also enjoyed the focus on the importance of community and charity 
  • The analogy she uses on pg 77 to explain autism are simple yet brilliant

The Not so Good Stuff
  • Um - not sure how to say this - but at times she comes across a little too self righteous - but hey if I lived through the same challenges she did -- maybe I would too (Ok and maybe she made me feel like I haven't done enough for my son)
  • Made me miss my friend Joan as she is very similar to Narnie
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"In the time it took me to try on two dresses, Narnie had found out everything about this woman's upcoming wedding, her fiance, and which of her emotional needs he did or didn't meet."

"Indulging the senses isn't a luxury, but a necessity. We have to walk barefoot in the grass. We have to eat clean snow. We have to let warm sand run through our fingers. We have to lie on our backs and feel the sun on our face."

"It's one thing to support someone when you agree with  him or her, but another thing entirely when you don't."

"Autism is a thief. It takes your child away. It takes your hope away, and it robs you of your dreams."

Who Should/Shouldn't Read
  • A must read for any parent of a special needs child
  • Obviously one that parents of children with Autistic/Asperger's will get something out of
  • Anyone looking for a hopeful, positive and inspirational story 
  • Honestly, every parent should read this and hopefully get the message that every child is different and we need to fight for them and help them find their "spark"
4.5 Dewey's

I received this in exchange for an honest review - no money exchanged hands - but damn I wish that would happen because I really want new carpets LOL!


  1. I recently heard of this book and I know it is selling incredibly well. Upon reading this review, my interest has multiplied. I raised a son with ADHD, among other things, and if I could have read this book back then, it may have changed things or at the very least my perception of the struggles. I simply have to add it to the must read list! Thanks for the review.

    PS I hope you get your wish.

  2. Thanks Shirley. I hope you enjoy it and I know its tough raising a child with these type of difficulties. I hope everything is working out for your child now. LOL wouldn't that be nice - you should see the carpets (dog with muddy feet on off white carpet isn't pretty)