cover image I Dream He Talks to Me: A Memoir of Learning How to Listen

I Dream He Talks to Me: A Memoir of Learning How to Listen

Allison Moorer. Hachette, $28 (288p) ISBN 978-0-306-92307-4

Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Moorer follows her debut, Blood, with an equally vulnerable and uplifting account of raising a child on the autism spectrum. In prose both lyrical and frank, she chronicles how her son, John Henry, went from being “a sweet and social child” to losing his language skills at 17 months. As she balanced divorce and her musical career, she parented John Henry through the minutiae of his daily schedule, habits, and moods: the comforts of cinnamon rolls and bacon, the triggers of frustration and inactivity, and “the moments that I wait on, when I can actually feel instead of have faith that he loves me, when... he is at peace.” In sharing her experience—and advice in a chapter called “A Guide to Getting Through” (“grow elephant-sized balls”)—she reassures other parents that they are not alone. At the same time, she doesn’t sugarcoat the difficulties she’s encountered, describing the peril of a snow day’s interruption of routine and the “parallel universe... no one else sees” of having a nonverbal child who wants to take “five or six baths a day.” Moorer’s candor and self-doubt are achingly honest and oftentimes funny, making this not a story of heartbreak but a celebration of life’s struggles and rewards. This is a parenting book worth reading twice. Agent: Laura Nolan, Aevitas Creative Management. (Oct.)