Audiobook Review | “Life as a Spectrum Mom (Volume 1): The Ups, Downs, and Upside Downs of Parenting Autistic Kids” by Karen Pellett, narrated by Sara K. Sheckells

Posted Friday, 27 October, 2017 by jorielov , , , , , , , 0 Comments

Audiobook Review Badge made by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Digital Audiobook by: I am a new blog tour hostess with Audiobookworm Promotions wherein I have the opportunity to receive audiobooks for review or adoption (reviews outside of organised blog tours) and host guest features on behalf of authors and narrators alike. I started hosting for Audiobookworm Promotions at the end of [2016] during “The Cryptic Lines” tour wherein I became quite happily surprised how much I am now keen on listening to books in lieu of reading them in print. My journey into audiobooks was prompted by a return of my chronic migraines wherein I want to offset my readings with listening to the audio versions.

I received a complimentary audiobook copy of “Life as a Spectrum Mom” via the publicist at Audiobookworm Promotions (of whom was working directly with the author Karen Pellett) in exchange for an honest review. The difference with this complimentary copy I received is I had a 90 day window to listen and review the book whilst given a soft deadline where I could post my ruminative thoughts at an hour which worked for me on the day the review was due; this differs from a blog tour which has a more set schedule of posting. The audiobooks are offered to ‘adopt’ for review consideration and are given to readers to gauge their opinions, impressions and insight into how the audiobook is resonating with listeners. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

NOTE: Due to my unexpected hiatus in September, my adopted audiobooks (‘Life as a Spectrum Mom’, ‘Sharpe Shooter’ and ‘Sharpe Edge’) as well as the blog tour ‘The Supernatural Pet Sitter’ were delayed from posting until October.

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What initially prompted me to listen to Life as a Spectrum Mom:

I started to seek out stories in both Fiction and Non-Fiction which speak to motherhood and mumhood for the past few years now. I am a Prospective Adoptive Mum myself, as I know I will be adopting from foster care in the future – part of my path as an Auntie has been seeking out Children’s Lit (from Picture Books, Middle Grade novels to Young Adult titles) which led me back into a realm of literature which I hadn’t visited in quite a long time! Finding, I have a newfound joy of immersing into stories writ for younger audiences – I have found so many incredible stories, characters and portals of imaginative ‘thought’ – I cannot wait to share these lovelies with my own children ‘one day’.

Whilst seeking out stories involving parenthood directly, I am finding myself inspired by the honest approach writers are able to convey the ins and outs of being a parent in today’s technologic world! I appreciate reading stories about the foster care system (my favourite thus far is ‘The Language of Hoofbeats’), stories of international adoption (my favourite being ‘Red Thread Sisters’) and even, of alternative means of conception (such as the heart-centred & emotional journey as seen in ‘Claiming Noah’).

I was keenly uplifted reading the journey towards ‘balance’ and ‘self-directed growth’ Ms Bure was endeavouring to share with us in her latest memoir (she writes a series of them at different stages of her life) ‘Dancing Through Life’ – whilst owning to the difficulties of being a pro-active Mum juggling work and opportunities which arrive unexpected to give you a jolt of growth you hadn’t realised you needed. And, even though I felt a bit short-changed after reading the memoir ‘The Mother God Made Me To Be’, there was still a lot of moments of joy reading this mother’s journey towards re-awakening her own spirit for defining life on her terms.

Ergo, when it came time to settle into this audiobook – I was already primed and ready to hear a mother’s story about how raising three Special Needs children has led her onto the path she was always meant to walk. Sometimes, we never realise what our ‘purpose’ in life will be until it is revealled to us whilst we’re already moving in a direction towards where we ‘think we’re meant to be’ even if there are things in motion to let us arrive ‘where we’re needed’ instead. All our paths into mumhood are different – each of us is feeling led and guided towards the moment where we can fully embrace being Mums (and Dads!) – raising our children and endeavouring to nurture their hearts towards being well-rounded persons who can go out and share their individual spirits with the world. Each child has a gift to share, a lesson to give and a joy to multiple simply by their presence in our lives.

As I continue to read stories of motherhood and parenthood (as I love the father’s perspective just as much!) –  I feel a step closer to where my path will start to interconnect to the future where I too, will one day be a ‘Mum’. The fortitude of strength all parents have is given to them in the moments where they feel they aren’t strong enough because this is one special gift parents are given by Him to help see them through the situations which test us all for how we can transition through life’s uncertainties in order to continue to celebrate the joys.

One thing I knew going into this memoir is part of what would make it easier to read (er, listen to) is the ‘humour’ Ms Pellett put inside it! I, myself, thrive on HUMOUR! My family was infamous for finding ways to insert humour into our everyday lives – something which continues to be our mainstay even now, throughout my adult life. Humour is the balm to our soul – it’s a way to see the lighter side of ‘everything’ even if nothing feels *that!* funny whilst we’re living through it! Oy.

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Audiobook Review | “Life as a Spectrum Mom (Volume 1): The Ups, Downs, and Upside Downs of Parenting Autistic Kids” by Karen Pellett, narrated by Sara K. SheckellsLife as a Spectrum Mom
Subtitle: The Ups, Downs, and Upside Downs of Parenting Autistic Kids
by Karen Pellett
Source: Audiobook via Audiobookworm Promotions
Narrator: Sara K. Sheckells

From candy explosions and safety spaces to patience pills and mattress slides, autism turns normal on its head and stomps on it for good measure. For this family and their three autistic children, life is chaotic but glorious. Experience everyday life from the perspective of a spectrum mom and defy the label as only an exceptional family can.

Genres: Biography / Autobiography, Memoir, Motherhood | Parenthood, Non-Fiction

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ASIN: B0741NBX68

Published by Self Published

on 20th July, 2017

Format: Audiobook | Digital

Length: 3 hours, 22 minutes (unabridged)

Self-Published Audiobook

Karen Pellett | Blog | Site | @KarenPellett | Facebook | Instagram

Narrator: Sara K. Sheckells | Site | @SaraSoundsVO | Facebook

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notes on the introduction to this family:

This audiobook focuses on the first volume of this family’s memoir series written by a wonderfully humourous author who knows how to draw the listener/reader’s eye towards important affirmations and the cheekiness of everyday life in harmonic bliss! The reason I was pulled into this heart-warming memoir so very quickly is due to the words originally writ by Mrs Pellett! She has this uncanny knack of finding a way to give you a warm welcome into her life and world – as readily as if you were sitting next her with a cuppa tea!

In the very beginning – she recounts her ‘ideas’ of marriage and mumhood – including how she became a StepMama to two boys who lived with their mother (this was her husband’s second marriage) ahead of having her first (biological) daughter Rebecca. Soon after, she had her first son Colin and what was quite incredible, she shortly thereafter conceived her third child, a second son named Joseph. She was frank and earnest about how ‘helpful’ it was having her husband home during this difficult time – as juggling parenthood and pregnancy was quite all-consuming to say the least! He was out of work but thankfully available to help her through her third pregnancy due to the high risk issues she was having carrying Joseph. This would mark the end of her pregnancies and she chose not to tempt fate (can’t blame her!) with future conceptions by having her tubes tied.

It was here, where she starts to disclose how her and her husband first learnt her children had Special Needs and were about to be diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum: Rebecca hand turnt three, Colin was turning two and Joseph was barely a year old when Rebecca was declared as having ‘Sensory Processing Disorder’ (see Wikipedia Article). The boys followed next showing ‘atypical behaviour patterns’ which is why when she knew one of her sons was tracking towards being on the Autistic Spectrum, she started to ‘seek out’ as many resources as she could in her community. She reminds me of how I was raised – my Mum was always a ‘full step ahead’ even when she was feeling a bit inundated with information! She was a rock-star whilst helping me navigate the murky waters of ‘growing up dyslexic’!

Joseph was originally misdiagnosed as having Asperger’s Syndrome when he eventually was found to Social & Communicative Disorders with Developmental Delays and Aggressive tendencies whilst her husband has ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) whilst Mrs Pellett has SPD (presuming this is Sensory Processing Disorder*) with ADHD and a few other ‘quirks’ to round out the family medical histories!

*I was slightly confused if this was the same condition as her daughter but I believe it was meant to be taken as such after re-listening to this section a few times. Lateron, it was re-confirmed I had interpreted this correctly: Rebecca and her Mum have the same processing challenges.

my review of life as a spectrum mom:

We are transported straight into the hectic life of Mrs Pellett – one cheeky thing she mentioned was something I could relate to myself – she was talking about how sometimes you feel like you have the wrong ‘translation dictionary’ for things that pop up in life? Isn’t that the truth? Almost like your finding yourself in a place where up is down and down is up – although, no one else seems to notice, but navigating through those moments is an uphill climb? I know those moments, well! We all have them – even before we’re parents! Life has a way of unsettling us and then, allowing us to choose how we set our attitudes to face ‘what comes next in line’ for us to conquer next – even if it’s a major medical crisis you never saw coming!

Go Sox! I was so wicked excited to find out she’s a Red Sox, fan! I’m a full-on geek – not just bookishly inclined! I LOVE baseball – who doesn’t? It’s one of the few all-American traditions we get to celebrate each year! Seriously, though – when she used her love of baseball to highlight ‘portraits’ of her children – with their individual likes, dislikes and questions about everything from food to things in their environment – I truly felt it was like shifting through my own baseball cards and looking for personal details on behalf of the players I was eager to learn more about! It was such a clever way of ‘introducing’ Rebecca, Colin and Joseph in an interpersonal way!

For this section, I decided to transcribe ‘notes’ on behalf of the children – as a way to relate to you, my readers, their individual portraits as related to me by their Mum. These were the quick notes I took – but not the full disclosures on their behalf!

RebeccaPersonal challenges: ADHD, Sensory Processing Disorder & Anxiety. Favourites include: giraffes, the colour pink, pepperoni pizza, zesty dipping sauce, any meat (pepperoni or chicken especially), loves Bill Nye the Science Guy, jazz (Mommy likes it), scorpion fishes (loved this creative exploration of species!), joke books (this was my indulgence!) & candy science experiments. Aspiration: run a zoo in Florida. Favourite subjects or hobbies: math, science, & funny quips. Strengths: perfect long term memory recall, hates anything that messes with routine and expectations; loves bear hugs – loves empty boxes and fills them with stuffed animals – to where she can ‘disappear into a cosy comfort zone’. Loves to ‘move’ – jump, run, rustle and tumble. She’s constantly in action – but she has issues processing too much data all at once. Extra Challenge: She has no short-term memory (think: ‘Fifty First Dates’ – the film). Hidden Talent: Remembers animal ‘facts’. She does better with information set to music (I can relate!). Quirks: She has a particular palette for only ‘certain’ foods – made in a specific way (don’t most kids? after all, I went through a french toast ‘phase’). She has issues with ‘social clues’ – she’s better with finite details (especially in Math and Science). She mimics the behaviour of others but when she’s around her siblings she gets confused by what she’s meant to be doing.

ColinPersonal challenge: Moderate Functioning Level 2 Autism. Favourites include: frogs, the colour green – any flavour pancakes by Jiffy, loves A&W Root Beer, vehicles with wheels, puzzles and complex problem solving. Extra Challenges: hates loud noises and screaming; doesn’t like being ‘out of his world’ or changing what he’s doing or his routine. Hidden Talents: Loves to organise things in rows to feel calm. He likes to dismantle things which he’s curious about even if it makes life a bit more complicated for ‘Mommy’. His favourite thing to do is to assemble puzzles from different angles each time he approaches a new pattern.  Extra Challenges: Communicating with his mother, other children and his siblings/family – Mrs Pellett had to learn to ‘read’ his signals and his own way of expressing what he wanted to ‘say’. Connecting with Colin is a precious gift each time Colin let’s his mother ‘in’ and gives her something tangible to hold onto which can last forever. A Sensory avoider and seeker – he has a duality about him which makes it hard to know what he needs at any given moment. He can make a lot of noise but if anyone else does this it puts him into a funk. Quirks: He tries to seek out answers to questions no one else is aware of but his sense of boundaries is different from other children – as he would rather go and ‘seek’ until he found something ‘interesting’ to hold his attention. He does better with one on one education rather than classroom settings. He uses noise cancelling headphones where he can only ‘hear’ his teacher to where he can block out his classmates and ‘function’ in a busier class than having to remain on his ‘own’.

JosephPersonal challenges: Asperger’s developmental delays, has a larger head with Social & Communicative Disorders and a heart murmur. Favourites include: Loves dogs and penguins and the colour orange; Little Caesars pepperoni pizza and Tang. Mythbusters and YouTube videos. Loves any toy having a ‘chain reaction’ and wants to fly to the moon. Loves physical comedy, gears, trick race tracks. Extra Challenge: Has issues with Colin – just being in the same room or interfering with his routine. His mind is hyperactive and his coping skills are not as adjusted as some of his siblings. Quirks: He likes lots of noise and being in constant motion. He doesn’t like doing things outside of his own rhythm. He has selective hearing issues as he’s not able to focus or hone in on whole conversations. Hidden Talent: He loves to debate and prove his points. He loves to build everything and anything. He took up reading in places and times where you wouldn’t think he’d be interested in focusing on reading.

I could sympathise with the frustratingly difficult path Mrs Pellett felt she was walking, when the ‘Autism Spectrum’ terminology and medical jargon altered how it was declaring itself in both the medical arena and in the private sector. I did preliminary research into Autism years ago, as I knew being a Prospective Adoptive Mum, there was a possibility Autism could be a component of my future life – I even researched immunizations and alternative approaches of how to gain communication skills in the Autistic child – whilst finding, as Mrs Pellett has through parenting her children – there are too many variables for one classification or one ‘group’ of Autistic children to be placed inside. I could not imagine how there could be a blocked reference for the children, when all children are unique unto themselves! That would be like saying, for those of us who are Dyslexic – we’re all alike! #justno!

The most I could decipher (as this was in my earlier twenties, rather than the latter half of my thirties) is the age in which the diagnosis was given is generally before the age of five – in regards to knowing if a child is on the Autistic Spectrum or not. Concurrent to this research of mine – including other medical conditions known to be ‘classified’ as ‘Special Medical Needs’ for adoptive children, I happily found the film based on Temple Grandin’s life and even had the joy of listening to a few of her radio visits shortly thereafter. If anything, I found her story more enlightening than the context of my research queries! In the end, I ‘let it go’ and saved the searches for a future date – if and when, I need to resume them. After all, until you reach the point of being placed with a child or sibling group (as I am seeking), you do not know of the hurdles you might be facing or the medical explanations you will need to better understand.

Life as a Mum is never dull – the best of us learn to ‘adapt’ in the moments as they arrive and shoot from our hip! Even if we love being self-educated and ‘ready’ for whatever arises, there are times where you just have to approach the day as it dawns!

I will say, throughout all the research, I did pick up the clues on how to approach an Autistic child – which came in handy at a mall, where I recognised a boy was Autistic in the elevator and gave him his space – as I could tell enclosed places were not his forte! His parents were surprised I knew what I was observing and I quickly mentioned ‘why’ but left it a bit vague as I could tell they didn’t have a lot of time to ‘chat’ which is why I simply said, “I understand what to look for and I know why he’s not reacting to me or to my Mum standing near him.” I wished them a good day – they were out shopping for new clothes for their son and perhaps themselves. I hope others who met them or ran across them at the mall were equally as kind. It’s something we can all hope for even if we observe differently in other moments where patience in ‘others’ is still not as commonplace as it should be.

As Mrs Pellett was talking openly and authentically at parents who are in her similar situation – I hoped they would listen to her – knowing they’re doing the best they can, everyday and they need to celebrate their strengths and ‘let go’ of things they couldn’t change or couldn’t circumvent. We all have bad days – but it’s all those lovely in-between days, where we flex our muscles as parents – seeking out ways to be there for our children in every which way they need us to help them or give them a reason to feel encouraged to seek out their world.

I also agree – if something is advised to have worked for other children, you cannot be frustrated by how it is not cross-applying to your child. I know my parents were frustrated themselves when they were given a lot of advice of ‘how best to raise a child with learning difficulties’ – oy! The best choices they made were the ones they did on their own – without outside information – simply reading the situation and doing what was right for ‘me’. In the end, we all have to ‘know our children’ and understand their individual needs. We cannot get hung up on the details – because sometimes, life is not measured in labels or obstacles or even rates of educational process – life is measured in memories and experiences as we continue to grow and adapt to our environment.

The conception of ‘normal’ is something which is broached in all families where the child or children are reaching their ‘goals’ at a different pace than others. Even when you grew up Dyslexic, trust me – people have some weird examples of what they deem as ‘normal’ – even if your issues are with reading, grammar, mathematics and other learning disciplines – if you can find a way to ‘compensate’ (or in my instance ‘over compensate’) – you could say, I know *exactly!* what Mrs Pellett was talking about when she was told by other parents ‘your kids don’t look Autistic!’ as for my Mum and I it was akin towards hearing, “Are you sure your daughter is Dyslexic, she shows such aptitude for learning?” as if the two were exclusive of one another? As if you couldn’t enjoy ‘learning’ if you struggled with ‘how you learn’; thereby, people miss the point, everyone ‘learns!’ differently, not just those who have a specific identifiable ‘difficulty’!

We’re walked through how each of her children were on a long road towards foresight into understanding why her children had the need-specific issues to work around per each stimuli which was grieving them at any point in time. Some of her children had a higher than regular ‘hyperactivity’ levels – but it was more than this – for instance Rebecca’s body responded better to ‘high activity periods’ followed by ‘down-time’ to where her reasoning skills were more likely to ‘kick-in’ after proper exercise to ‘die-out’ the hyper-drive her body had kicked in through instinct.

Blessedly, in regards to Colin, Mrs Pellett like most Mums’ knew her son well enough to understand what the doctor was going to say about him! In fact, she knew him so well, the doctor was surprised in a way, he was not necessarily needed to intervene in regards to disclosing what their hurdles were or how best to navigate round what bothers them because Mrs Pellett had already put in the hours and observational research needed to better understand ‘what is needed and when’. In this, she reminded me a heap of my Mum, as my Mum was both my mother and my first teacher – she taught about the world outside but also, about how to curate my natural curiosity whilst developing my walk in faith as well. I had a heightened curiosity about *everything* – no topics were off-limits, just ask Mum! I was one talkatively inquisitive three year old!

What I loved about this memoir is how ‘relatable’ it is to all parents – in the end, it doesn’t matter what ‘someone’ thinks applies to your child; only you know your child. Labels are irrelevant in the long-term because at the end of the day, children and adults alike are simply ‘themselves’. Mrs Pellett approached her children like the little persons they are – she worked around their struggles, yes, but she acknowledged they had interests, dislikes and other workable theories of the world they were just getting to know – in essence, she was helping each of them develop ‘into who they would become’ lateron in life. Just like my Mum treated me – she never talked down or left me feeling like my opinion did not matter – if anything, Mums like ours allow children to ‘breathe’ into the space they are growing into – they allow us to develop who we are before we even realise we’ve ‘become someone’ who has a dimensional personality and an articulation of who we are to the outside world! Sometimes – part of the natural growth process for all of us is how we are allowed to have the freedom to ‘sense’, ‘feel’, ‘taste’, ‘hear’ and ‘understand’ everything connected to us – from our home environments to our outside environments – everything is a learning curve!

Back to labelling for a minute – in my family, my Mum and Dad didn’t like them at all – they said they could stunt a child’s growth if they focused too much on what is said about them in the particular way all educational interventional resources have the tendency of doing! lol I was in speech therapy as a youngster as much as Special Ed as back in the ’80s Dyslexia was in the ‘stone age’ of understanding! I blessedly was never classified as ADHD, but let’s face it, I had it all the same! I still have a natural hyper-drive – it’s something I’ve learnt to work round or at least, in the height of hyperness can acknowledge it and just ‘go with the flow’ whilst knowing it’ll downgrade.

If you consider I’m a Creative Dyslexic Writer – you can already see how I didn’t let that particular ‘label’ stop my passionate desire to become a book blogger, a bookishly geeky chatterbox on Twitter and a writer who loves to create stories and poems! The world seeks to find ways to dismantle the innate gifts we’re given – of the ways in which we can react and relate to the outside world if we’re somehow ‘different’ from the masses. I’m sure most Dyslexics weren’t encouraged to write, but in my family? It was nearly a given I should be encouraged because of how passionate I was about stories and the art of the craft from a very young age – this after having to ‘fight’ to read in the first place, as I was your typical fourth grader who wanted to ‘drop out’ rather than stay ‘in’ school.

I’m sharing some of this background information on myself because as I listened to Mrs Pellett raising her children – of the obstacles she’s overcome to let teachers and doctors know about the blessings her own children provide in her life by what they can express, create or accomplish – it was echoing the hard work my own parents put in to try to explain the same thing to everyone in my world growing up too! Sometimes you find you just have to ‘throw in the towel’ and carve out your own path – which is what my parents did! lol The argument was less enticing to have as you get older – both for parents and the child(ren)! It took until Nanowrimo in 2008 to put my own ‘label’ on myself – I’ve always been the tortoise – sometimes it takes me a bit to ‘catch up’ to my peers (in certain instances) but once I do ‘catch up’ – guess who rockets off to the moon whilst the hares are still thinking their the only ones ahead?

I appreciated seeing how her children were able to stay mainstreamed – they were being raised with the same ‘life lessons’ as other children – from learning about respectable social skills, communicating boundaries and understanding right/wrong impulses even if that was something the child personally struggled to know what exactly was deemed ‘right or wrong’ in each circumstance which came along for them to decipher the situation at hand. One thing which gave them a kind edge was having their grandparents active in their lives, even though – sorting out the right balance of healthy interaction with their grandchildren might have taken awhile to sort out.

I don’t believe anything which is being disclosed is ‘exclusive’ to a family of Special Needs children – reading children and understanding them takes time, observation and a lot of love – because in the end, patience and love is what helps you navigate through the little ‘hurdles’ which can make ordinary moments more stressful for everyone involved. Emotional triggers and stimuli triggers could affect any child, too. I do know Mrs Pellett’s children have a more heightened awareness and reactionary triggers, but in the end – they are still children who are on a path towards better understanding how best to interact with people and their world.

Listening to the terrifying experience of the MRI Mrs Pellett had to endure – I definitely understood her anxieties and fears, because it was something Mum and I had to deal with when my father was hospitalised with his bilateral moderate stroke in November 2016. You definitely cannot plan for everything – including tests you cannot always help your loved ones get through, outside of fierce praying and of surgeries you never thought they’d have to face – yet, somehow you have to muster more strength than you feel and find a way to provide both the moral and emotional support whilst never letting on your own concerns running concurrent to your loved ones. Courage is an armour we find we have in the hours where we feel we’re not as strong as we need to be!

How Mrs Pellett came out of the diagnosis of having ‘brain lesions’ is an interesting exploration of the toils we go through as humans! The interesting bit is how medical science was ‘confused’ about her condition – were the lesions due to chronic migraines? (Note to Self: don’t be startled if that shows up in your future – as I have chronic migraines!) Is this a ‘warning’ of MS? Or did the lesions cause the migraines in the first place? Hearing her doctors vacillate in their understanding of what they thought they could medically explain was a hoot because it shows how ‘limited’ medical science can become when they encounter something which is not ‘neat and tidy’ to medically explain.

However, it was her approach to handling the surgery she needed to rectify a pending medical crisis which could have taken her life – she wrote letters to her loved ones, in case, she wouldn’t have the chance to ‘say everything’ she needed to say – through prayer and a conscience awareness of how vulnerable she was realising she ‘might not survive’ the surgery is what put her into a mood of uncertainty. She rallied through the surgery but afterwards, she slowly spiraled downward to where depression started to consume her in such a way where she needed intervention. At the heart of everything she was experiencing – she kept positive about how working with the doctors would lead her ‘through’ to the next chapter of her life where her emotional imbalances would not take away the joys she had as being her children’s Mum. It was a long, long arduous journey – full of the weird hallucinations you hear about when trying to find the right rhythm of doses with antidepressants.

There are so many tender moments of enjoyment within this audiobook – when it came time to decide how to ‘write’ my reflections on it’s behalf – I knew, at some point, I might fail to encompass everything Mrs Pellett has given us to take in – she’s left a part of her soul and her heart within this testament of a mother’s love for her children. She’s taken a huge leap of faith to seek out those of us (like my Mum and I) who believe in her and believe in the methods of parenting she is practicing. It’s an incredible personal journal of a woman who found herself blessed with three very special ‘teachers’ in her life – where each of them hold’s a piece of the key which unlocks her heart.

I am so very thankful I requested this audiobook because it knits true to the heart of how some of us know we were meant to be mothers – of how raising children is our gift back to the world – of giving back the light and the heart and the love we once knew ourselves as children. This is something to cherish and to celebrate – I hope everyone who listens to this story, listens between the words and the passages – augmenting the truths of her story against their own memories and experiences whilst celebrating the beauty of how she’s been able to remember the breadth of her own motherly adventures to give us something wicked special to experience! She truly lucked out with narrators, too – as I whole-heartedly know, if any other narrator (save perhaps, Heather Henderson!) had approached this narrative – it simply wouldn’t have been the same! She speaks on the heart-level and thereby gives us an enlightened view of how children light up our lives with their incurable curiosity which reminds us to be inquisitively curious about everything – whilst grounding us in the truer meaning behind our lives.

on the informative & humourous memoir styling of mrs pellett:

Mrs Pellett no-nonsense attitude about handling those little wrinkles of everyday woes is one reason I think she made it through everything with a positive outlook! Her children not only gave her things to consider, like when Rebecca questioned why she was on prescription medicine or why her behaviours changed a bit when she was taking them. Other times, it was as simple as finding ‘things’ put in strange places – which to someone ‘else’ in the house felt was the ‘right’ place to put them. I almost chuckled when the baking soda became cast like ‘fairy dust over the family room’ when she was attempting to ‘right a wrong’ she could not identify in ‘ordour’ control – except, I could sense the groan of how much more work it would take to put the room back to rights! Oh, my!

One of my favourite ‘interpersonal immersions’ into her life is when she described how Joseph would happily wander into the street to chase butterflies whilst Colin was spearheading the ‘neighbourhood watch’ team by checking ‘all doorknobs’ for the one or two which were left open! Colin loved the sock war – where colours flew like rainbows bursting into Mrs Pellett’s bedroom – where sparkles of colour and the laughter of the impromptu game has lasted longer than the game itself which gave insight into sometimes you just have to go with the ‘random bits’ which become some of the most beloved memories in the long term!

Hearing about the Pellett family’s frequency of ‘electronic resurrections’ did make me smirk – as I have heard stories of how frequently hand-held technologic gadgets can disappear into leagues of water before anyone can do or say something to prevent the submerisions! Bags full of rice just gave me a hearty chuckle because I could see how handy it would be to already have the ‘solution’ at the ready whenever the ‘next oppsy moment’ happened!

The most touching recollection is how her children came to her rescue – she was having an especially difficult day – where her panic attacks were overtaking her to such a degree of alarm, she was having trouble ‘anchouring’ herself through them. Rebecca prayed for help whilst finding singing was acting as a calming influence to the chaos her mother was feeling — her sons, also started to aide their Mum, to where the children ‘gave back’ what they had been given everyday of their lives – the warmth protective shield of love which can erase all of the worlds’ hurts simply through the generous spirit of the intention behind how ‘being there’ for someone else can move mountains through the kindness of being the supportive hug all of us might need at one moment or another.

Mrs Pellett has such a lovely way of fusing her ‘family life’ and the journalled memories of mumhood in such a way, as to make her feel approachable and a woman everyone can feel they can relate too simply because of how she finds the best way to greet each new day is simply to acknowledge it’s arrived! She doesn’t let preconceptions forestall what naturally occurs – meaning, you cannot ‘plan’ for everything in life – she’s become adaptive and reactive to what is necessary per each moment where being a Mum is a daily adventure! She has given us an inside view of her world – where locks, knobs, technologic gadgets and curiously ordinary objects can sometimes lead to some very unique situations where logic doesn’t quite enter into the picture! This isn’t always a ‘bad thing’ – sometimes parenthood is a reinvention of ‘seeing’ life through a new pair of eyes – where everything is ‘new’ and ‘possible’ – to where the concerns of the world are not ‘attached’ yet and where childhood ‘innocence’ takes on new layers of truth!

I am definitely ready for ‘Volume 2’!

i realise i’ll have to remain patient for it, but ooh! what a happy day it shall be when i see it available!

rock on, Mrs pellett! rock on!

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specifically in regards to the audiobook:

As I am relatively new to reviewing audiobooks and listening to them with a greater frequency than of the past, I am appreciative of Ms Jess providing a cursory outline of how best to articulate my listening hours on behalf of this audiobook and the others I shall be blogging about or reviewing in future. I’ve modified the suggestions to what I felt were pertinent to respond too on my own behalf as well as keeping to the questions I felt were relevant to share.

Listening Habit:

Generally, I love to colour as I listen to audiobooks – however, with this title in particular, I found myself losing traction if I tried to colour! There is a lot going on all ‘at once’ and I found for the first time, it was simply better if I ‘listened’ intuitively, wrote down causal notes and then, went back to ‘fill in the gaps’ of what my notes were not revealling about my ‘listening experience’ to formulate this review! I could have knitted if I had thought to bring my knitting – that might have aided the processing a bit, as finding my ‘groove’ with Non-Fiction is sometimes trickier than even I admit!

Number of Times I’ve heard the Narrator(s):

I haven’t come across a lot of Non-Fiction audiobooks – thereby, I am unsure if this narrator specifically works in the Non-Fiction market or goes between both divisions of literature. I, will, say one thing though – there were moments where I felt Heather Henderson (the narrator of the Betty MacDonald memoirs) and this narrator have a ‘dual’ sense of how to dive a reader into the ‘heart of their living person’ to such a readily fused insight, you nearly forget this isn’t someone you know personally – it’s someone your just ‘meeting’ for the very first time! I found both their styles to be wondrously similar and it’s a preference now of mine for this type of story in Non-Fiction as both women had such a lot happening in their lives, the quicker pace in telling their stories works brilliantly!

Regards to the Narrator’s Individual Character performances:

Main narrative voice – This was my favourite as she’s given voice to the mother Mrs Pellett in such a way, as you nearly have to blink realising it’s NOT Mrs Pellett because for me, she emulated her to such a lively degree of authenticity – you thought you were hearing her directly!

Children’s voices – She didn’t offset the narration too much to yield to different voices, but there were classic ‘moment’s of where she altered her voice to inflect something one of the children were saying – to give an example, if Mrs Pellett was talking about a specific child (say Joseph) and she remembered he had said a rebuke to her when trying to explain something specific to him, then you heard this squeaky high child’s voice saying ‘what it was’ to lend the impression this was a ‘living memory’ of an event which actually happened.

How the Novel sounded to me as it was being Read: (theatrical or narrative)

It’s an interesting question to be sure! This was a spoken narrative depiction of a mother’s life raising three uniquely spirited Special Needs children – you could almost consider this ‘theatrical’ on the level, there are bits and bobbles which are ‘reenacted’ to give you a proper sense of the scope or depth of that particular ‘memory’ – but it’s how the confluence of the story itself was told which gave me the most joy to listen too!

Preference after listening to re-Listen or pick up the book in Print?

Ooh, my! I think I might enjoy reading this in print whilst overlaying it with the audiobook – I think sometimes I have trouble processing ‘faster told’ tales – or especially in Non-Fiction, as the way in which I personally process a work of Non-Fiction takes a bit longer than absorbing a fictional story – I think in some regards, I’d be aided by having both print and audio versions of the Non-Fiction titles which interest me most to devour. In this, I’d have an ‘extra’ layer of insight and of fusing what is being heard vs what is being shared in written context to what is being said. It depends on how you understand your reading life – we’re all learning at a different rate of speed and if we understand how we each process the information we’re taking in, then we will each know how best to circumvent any processing issues we might stumble across.

In closing, would I seek out another Sara K. Sheckells audiobook?

Most definitely! She has a warm personality for etching out the life of those who are writing their memoirs in such a way as to completely convey the goings on of their living treasured moments! I love this particular style of approach and so, for me, if she continues to narrate memoir or other exciting titles in Non-Fiction in the manner in which she approached this memoir, I’d be ready fan to follow her next pursuits!

UPDATE: I ran a search for her on and found a few titles of interest: ‘The To-Do List’ by JC Miller – which is a Contemporary work of Fiction where a woman loses her every last nerve in her marriage. ‘Things Unsaid’ by Diana Y. Paul – another Contemporary Fiction title involving family life and the drama of being raised in the same family whilst offering different perspectives therein whilst seeing what happens after everyone has grown into adulthood. ‘I, Girl X’ looks like a novella or short story about a sister whose brother is suffering with mental illness. I saw ‘The To-Do List’ is still available to be Adopted through Audiobookworm Promotions – when I get my reviews posted for the Sharpe series of mysteries, I’ll have to see if it’s still available! Blessed to see she’s working within both branches of literature!

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 This audiobook review is courtesy of Audiobookworm Promotions:

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{SOURCES: Whilst signing up for adopting audiobooks through Audiobookworm Promotions, I sought permission to use the cover art & the book synopsis of the audiobooks I would be adopting to use on my reviews. I was given permission by Audiobookworm Promotions to use these materials. Therefore, the cover art for “Life as a Spectrum Mom” and the book synopsis are being used with permission. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets embedded by codes provided by Twitter. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: Audiobook Review Banner and the Comment Box Banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2017.

About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Friday, 27 October, 2017 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 21st Century, Audiobook, Autism, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Brothers and Sisters, Clever Turns of Phrase, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Debilitating Diagnosis & Illness, Disabilities & Medical Afflictions, Equality In Literature, Humour & Satire in Fiction / Non Fiction, Indie Author, Learning Difficulties, Memoir, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Modern Day, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Mother-Son Relationships, Motherhood | Parenthood, Non-Fiction, Post-911 (11th September 2001), Siblings, Special Needs Children, Vignettes of Real Life, Women's Health

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