I Wish I were Engulfed in Flames: My Insane Life Raising Two Boys With Autism by Jeni Decker

Dec 2, 2012

Jeni Decker, mother of two and independent filmmaker has found herself living a life she never imagined: raising two sons both with diagnoses on the autism spectrum, the wife of a husband who doesn’t know what to do with these boys who aren’t interested in Little League or Yankees games, a dog and an albino frog. Decker’s memoir is a laugh out loud hilarious, though often unbelievable look at her daily life and the way she has chosen to embrace the unusual and unexpected that each day brings with her boys. Decker focuses on her sons’ abilities and uniqueness rather than on their differences. Short chapters by Decker’s oldest son Jake are included.

I Wish I were Engulfed in Flames is an often irreverent, blunt and extremely honest look into daily life at the Decker house. Decker tries to head off tantrums before they escalate, discusses the pros and cons of fork swallowing, the existence of legendary creatures and armpit hair; yet she still embraces each of her sons and their own particular way of defining themselves and the world around them. At the same time she manages to keep her sanity and maintain a realistic but optimistic outlook for the future. Those who do not have firsthand knowledge of the autism spectrum may find many of these same situations unbelievable.

Brash, sarcastic, irreverent, heartfelt and touching are just a few of the words that describe Decker’s memoir. The final chapter, "The Weight of Normal," is about acceptance of your child for who they are, not who you thought they were going to be. This is Decker’s key to enjoying her children and all the unexpected joy and laughter they bring to her life.

Reviewed by Lisa J.
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