Anthony had autism from early in his short life and then suddenly died when he was 8 years old. The death and the grief surrounding it was just too much for Olivia and her husband David to deal with and they divorced.
Beth and Jimmy had three daughters and seemed to be a happy family but then Jimmy had an affair and moved out. Beth withdraws into her own writing and is drawn to a memory of years ago when she was sitting on a beach. She had watched a little boy lining up his rocks up and then watching the tide come in and wash them. She eventually walked over and placed a rock with his. “He jumps and squeals and flaps his hands, a happy dance.” As she walks away she waves and says with total conviction, “See you later”. The memory of this little boy becomes the basis of the story she writes. As she writes it, the autistic boy can voice his thoughts and feelings through her, and she believes that they are coming from outside of her.
Olivia on her own, after the divorce, turns to photography to earn an living and she hopes it will help her understand why Anthony’s time on earth was so short.
Beth and Olivia meet and Beth, after learning about Olivia’s loss of Anthony, shares the thoughts and feelings of the boy she feels is speaking to her about the story in her book. The boy seems to be allowing her to see his world and it seems like it may have been Anthony’s world. His exuberance for life and intelligence help Olivia and the words really do seem to be inspired by her own son.
Both Beth and Olivia are strengthened through the boys thoughts and they both gain understanding by this.
The plot is simply enough, but as Lisa Genova has done before in her other books, the characters are life like and you feel what they feel
Lisa Genova Quotes
“The spectrum is long and wide, and we’re all on it. Once you believe this, it becomes easy to see how we’re all connected.”
"We have pills for headaches. We have antidepressants for sadness. We had God for believers. We have nothing for autism.”
“He said not to worry. But it's there. The worry. I can't help it. It's like telling me not to have brown eyes. I have brown eyes. I'm worried.”