Love Anthony by Lisa GenovaLove Anthony by Lisa Genova

Love Anthony

byLisa Genova

Hardcover | December 19, 2013

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From bestselling author and neuroscientist Lisa Genova—whose novel Still Alice is now an Academy Award-winning film starring Julianne Moore—comes a novel about autism, friendship, and unconditional love. Look for Lisa Genova's latest novel, Inside the O’Briens, available now.

In an insightful, deeply human story reminiscent of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Daniel Isn’t Talking, and The Reason I Jump, Lisa Genova offers a unique perspective in fiction—the extraordinary voice of Anthony, a nonverbal boy with autism. Anthony reveals a neurologically plausible peek inside the mind of autism, why he hates pronouns, why he loves swinging and the number three, how he experiences routine, joy, and love. In this powerfully unforgettable story, Anthony teaches two women about the power of friendship and helps them to discover the universal truths that connect us all.
Lisa Genova has a degree in Biopsychology, from Bates College, and a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Harvard University. Lisa is the author of the New York Times Bestselling novel STILL ALICE. Her second novel is LEFT NEGLECTED. She lives with her family on Cape Cod.
Title:Love AnthonyFormat:HardcoverProduct dimensions:320 pages, 8.38 × 5.5 × 1.1 inShipping dimensions:8.38 × 5.5 × 1.1 inPublished:December 19, 2013Publisher:Gallery BooksLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1439164681

ISBN - 13:9781439164686


Rated 3 out of 5 by from Wasn't what I was expecting This book didn't focus on Autism as much as I was expecting it too... Although I did learn a few things about autism I was expecting more.
Date published: 2019-01-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Must Read This book captivated me. As a health care worker I have often struggled with understanding autism, as many people do. This book somehow simplified it, and made it beautiful.
Date published: 2018-07-12
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Love Lisa Genvoa I love Lisa Genova's book ( Left Neglected is my favourite) this one is a good book but not my favourite. I do love that it gives the perspective on austism from the person with the disorder .
Date published: 2018-04-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from We are in this together... Once again, New York Times, bestselling author, Lisa Genova delivers a moving and poignant story. In her third offering, Love Anthony, Genova brings us the story of two women brought together by the moments in life that connect all of humanity… even when we’re too busy to realize we’re in this world together. Beth has a chance meeting, with an autistic boy and his mother, as they vacation in Nantucket. Years later, when Beth’s marriage is falling apart, she is compelled to return to writing. That young boy, and his meticulous behavior, inspires her to write a novel about autism, from the point of view of a boy who can’t speak. The woman (Olivia) who summered in Nantucket, with her little boy, has returned to the island, alone, and heartbroken. She has come to hide and to heal. However, as all souls are connected, Olivia and Beth’s paths intersect several times, until their shared experience bonds them and helps each of them find their footing to move forward. Love Anthony is more than a story about a boy who has autism. It is a story about being human: a story about the gifts we all bring to this earth, even when we’re “flawed.” It is about enduring hardships. It depicts the simplicity of that which is truly important in life. It is a story about love. If you enjoyed Still Alice and Left Neglected, this effort will not disappoint! If you’re not familiar with Genova’s work, start with this one and work your way back. I truly loved the others but this has emerged as my favorite.
Date published: 2018-03-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Another great one from Lisa Genova I love how every book of Genova's show a very human and raw side of each illness. This one is no exception.
Date published: 2017-08-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Heartwrenching An amazing story about a mothers love and struggle. This was a beautifully written book. Another gem by Lisa Genova.
Date published: 2017-04-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from so touching Amazing how the characters come together - Amazing how the book is written.
Date published: 2017-03-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful This book amazed me. I never knew how much I didn't understand about autism until I read this. It gutted me, made me rejoice and made me laugh. Beautifully written by an author who definitely knows the facts. I read this in less than 24 hours.
Date published: 2017-03-06
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Make you think ... Gives the reader a view of a what a family's life is like with an child with autism.
Date published: 2017-02-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from How to Love Great book that brings you into the life of raising a child with autism. Captivating book that had me looking forward to the next opportunity to read !
Date published: 2017-01-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing Another excellent book by Lisa, was hard to put down wanted to keep reading
Date published: 2017-01-12
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Didn't live up to my expectation I loved Lisa''s first two books so I was expecting a lot from this one. It didn't grab me the way the other two did. I liked the idea of the story but not how it was presented.
Date published: 2017-01-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from beautiful This book was all consuming and had me go through a roller coaster of emotions. A story of a family that has a child with autism. Extremely relatable and touching.
Date published: 2016-12-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved this This was a wonderful book. I truly enjoyed it. I can't wait to read more by this author.
Date published: 2016-12-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Joy, discouragement, fear, sadness, grief, resentment, love, hope & peace. An amazing and touching book! A creative way to allow the reader inside the mind of a boy with autism and to understand the inner workings of his special mind. Let's not forget the great portrayal of the struggles faced by the parents of a child with autism. Very touching... Keep the tissue box nearby!
Date published: 2016-11-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Lesson on Loving The power of this novel is conveyed in the love and how to express that love to a child who loves "differently." A compassionate look at the challenges some families face and the way to embrace them.
Date published: 2016-11-12
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Recommended by a friend #plumreview Interesting story but not my favorite book.
Date published: 2016-11-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great book! I bought this book because I enjoyed reading "Still Alice" and I am glad I did. The book has multiple perspectives, which I enjoyed. It also allowed us to get into the mind of a young boy with autism and his mother.
Date published: 2016-11-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Love Anthony Beautifully written. Touching story intertwining an interesting group of women. Lisa has another hit!
Date published: 2015-08-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Another amazing story by Lisa Geniva A heart wrenching story of love and loss. Lisa Genova is one of my favourite writers who doesn't fail in taking you into her characters lives.
Date published: 2015-07-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Love anthony It makes you appreciate what Anthony goes through in his mind, as well as the struggles of his parents.
Date published: 2015-04-09
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Love Anthony I've had a hard time writing this review as the book and author came highly recommended by a number of people and it just fell flat to me and was rather disappointing I'm not a fan of a story told from multiple POV and 2 separate story lines when they have no connection to each other until later on in the book. This is a huge pet peeve of mine. While I loved the audio narration, done by Debra Messing, I found the story to be pretty boring and uninteresting. Olivia's life is boring. Beth's is equally as boring. There was no character development Then Beth starts writing a very unrealistic novel about a boy with autism, who happens to be exactly like Anthony, Olivia's son. Her novel is told from his perspective which I found to be a bit far fetched. Beth's novel ultimately ties her and Olivia together (shocker) which I felt was an awkward friendship. Overall I just wasn't a fan of this novel, my first of Lisa Genova's. I fell like 3 stars was being generous with his one, it just wasn't for me.
Date published: 2015-03-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An excellent book for anyone with autism in the family My grandson with autism is higher functioning than the boy Anthony, but I felt that this book gave me some insight into how he thinks. It was well worth reading, and touching on a emotional level.
Date published: 2015-01-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Interesting subject Worth a read and good for a variety of audiences. Great visuals and an intersting location for the story.
Date published: 2015-01-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love, Anthony I definitely recommend this book to anyone who works with someone, or knows anyone that has autism. Lisa Genova describes thought, feeling, emotion and the way a persons thought process with autism works, in a way that makes absolute sense
Date published: 2014-11-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Classic Lisa Genova I am a big fan of Lisa Genova's style and this novel came very close to her previous novels. She is good story teller and allows the reader to experience another perspective. Great read!
Date published: 2014-07-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Good read Really enjoyed this book. I really liked Still Alice and this was just as good (from my memory of it anyways). I do know people on the autistic spectrum; I can only imagine the challenges the person and their caregivers must face. I don't entirely know if this accurately describes what might go on in an autistic child's mind, but it was a good read!
Date published: 2014-05-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love Anthony A story close to my heart. Lots of honesty and good research. Thank you for writing this book.
Date published: 2014-05-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love Anthony A great book.
Date published: 2014-05-09
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Too Much for One Novel Ironically, the part of the novel I enjoyed the most and that I thought was the best developed, was not centred around autism. Her portrayal of the two couples facing struggles in their marriages captured my attention and kept me reading the novel. Autism I felt was very poorly developed as a theme - but was rather complimentary to the marriage story line by demonstrating how a couple can be torn apart if they are not communicating and parenting as a team. Overall the novel was entertaining and the characters were fantastic - but if you are interested in a novel about Autism that are several that are considerably better.
Date published: 2014-04-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love Anthony A wonderful , heart wrenching, informative book. A must read and a keeper. Thank you Lisa Genova.
Date published: 2014-03-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love Anthony An insightful, heart wrenching look at the world of a boy with autism and how he sees the world around him. Lisa Genova delivers another wonderful read.
Date published: 2014-01-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love Anthony Loved this book.
Date published: 2014-01-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A beautiful and insightful story I was drawn into the story of Anthony, Beth and Olivia from beginning to end. This story discusses more than autism as it explores life lessons in patience, unconditional love and perseverance. I was touched by the underlying messages and the feeling that all of lifes trials and tribulations have a purpose. A really great read, couldn't put it down!
Date published: 2013-12-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Poignant message Loved this book contains several messages and life lessons about love pain and the fragility of love. Powerful!
Date published: 2013-12-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Love Anthony Interesting and absorbing especially when Anthony is the storyteller.
Date published: 2013-12-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love Anthony A must read for anyone who wants to understand autism...great detail and captivating storyline.
Date published: 2013-10-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love Anthony One of the best books I have ever read...tears, and smiles, and amazing
Date published: 2013-10-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Love Anthony Great read about families dealing with Autism. Enjoy Lisa Genova's books!
Date published: 2013-09-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love Anthony Love is the answer, we know that for sure. We are here on this earth to love and serve others.
Date published: 2013-08-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Just Amazing! I have a friend who has a son with autism. I heard his beautiful voice through this book - I know he is much different than Anthony but I still heard it. The book will definitely haver looking at children on the spectrum very differently.
Date published: 2013-08-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Emotional and moving Have recommended this book to friends. Heart felt touching story. It had brought tears to my eyes.
Date published: 2013-07-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Wish I had learned more ... Lisa Genova is a great writer and storyteller. Her "Still Alice" novel is one of my top 10, and I also loved "Left Neglected". I think it is because I learned something (along with being entertained) in those two books that I rated them so highly. I liked this book, would give it more of a 3.5 than a 4. I just didn't learn nearly enough about autism, both as I had expected, and as I had hoped. That said, the "afterward" of the book pretty much explains why I didn't learn as much as I would have liked, but it was a tiny bit disappointing in that regard. I'd still recommend this book - but as far as learning about autism, I preferred "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nightime" (which is referenced repeatedly in this book as well.)
Date published: 2013-01-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Story! Story Description: Gallery Books|September 25, 2012|Hardcover|ISBN: 978-1-4391-6486-6 I’m always hearing about how my brain doesn’t work right…But it doesn’t feel broken to me. Olivia Donatelli’s dream of a “normal” life shattered when her son, Anthony, was diagnosed with autism at age three. Understanding the world from his perspective felt bewildering, nearly impossible. He hated to be touched. He almost never made eye contact. And just as Olivia was starting to realize that happiness and autism could coexist, Anthony died. Now she’s alone in a cottage on Nantucket, separated from her husband, desperate to understand the meaning of her son’s short life, when a chance encounter with another woman facing her own loss brings Anthony alive for Olivia in a most unexpected way. Beth Ellis’s entire life changed with a simple note: “I’m sleeping with Jimmy.” Fourteen years of marriage and three beautiful daughters, yet even before her husband’s affair, she had never felt so alone. Heartbroken, she finds the pieces of the vivacious, creative person she used to be packed away in a box in her attic. For the first time in years, she uncaps her pen, takes a deep breath, and begins to write. The young but exuberant voice that emerges onto the page is a balm to the turmoil within her, a new beginning, and an astonishing bridge back to herself. In a piercing story about motherhood, autism, and love, New York Times bestselling author Lisa Genova offers us two unforgettable women on the verge of change and the irrepressible young boy whose unique wisdom helps them both find the courage to move on. My Review: I think I enjoyed this novel much better than Lisa’s “Still Alice”. Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed it as well but something about “Love Anthony” just resonated with me. I think it was due to the fact it was about children, autism, love, relationships, marriage and friendships. There is so much packed into this wonderful story. The way in which Beth and Olivia’s friendship materialized was enchanting and the story Beth writes is really Anthony’s story, unbeknownst to her of course. Talk about something being ‘coincidental’. It was almost as if Beth had lived through Olivia’s life, truly amazing that someone could create a story from within their mind that turns out to be the true story of someone’s life and mirrored it so, so closely. Anyone who picks up this novel is going to enjoy it. I know I sure did and will be passing the message onto friends and family.
Date published: 2012-11-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Book I have read all of Lisa's books and i would say that this is my second favorite. Still Alice is my number 1 but this one is avery close 2nd. I love the way you get to think like a boy with autism. I think she had every thought and feeling that Anthony had. I love the way she had the 2 women in the story come together and how in a way the story of Anthony was the the story of Anthony but the story of the writer of the book. Its a really good read and a fast read
Date published: 2012-10-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing I loved Lisa Genova's both books, Still Alice and Love Anthony but I have to say Love Anthony just took my breath away.....Loved it right from the beginning and could not put it down! Recommend it 100%! Can't wait to read "Left Neglected"
Date published: 2012-10-18
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Half way and still unsure I loved Lisa's first two books and read them several times over (especially Still Alice), so I REALLY want to love this book too! But right now I'm half way finished, and only sort of enjoying the story. In comparison to her previous books that focused on one person and a particular affliction, this book is about two women's lives converging and somewhere in the mix, autism is discussed. But there's been barely any writing about autism so far, so when is it coming? The one thing I loved about Still Alice and Left Neglected was how informative on each subject those books were. Aside from the wonderfully crafted characters and skilled writing, I finished each book having learned about Alzheimer's and Left Neglect. At this time, I can't say I've learned much about Autism...I hope that changes in the second half of the book!
Date published: 2012-10-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from SPOILER ALERT!!!!! That title is what you should have put in your description of the book. Thanks for telling me the boy dies before I start reading. Sheesh. I hope you change that before you ruin the book for others.
Date published: 2012-10-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Absolutely Amazing! I fnished Left Neglectedby Lisa Genova about two weeks ago, I was looking forward to this book, but did not think anything could top what I had just finished at the time. Boy was I wrong. I absolutely love this book. I was drawn in from the first chapter, and almost read it in one sitting, I could not put it down and it has been a while since a book has drawn me in that much. I work with autistic children in my daily job, so this was of no surprise of me. I knew the therapies being discussed, in detail, and I loved the way they where discussed in the book. With the focus given to them, I was wondering if I was the only one who viewed these as ‘training a dog’. They can have tremendous value, but at what cost. I also completely agreed with Lisa’s questioning of the therapy’s that remove ‘unwanted’ behaviour, and questioning whether they are truely beneficial to the child (or adult) who is autistic. For a while many professionals felt my own son was autistic, and I fought the label, and the therapy to ‘remove’ how he was communicating, as I felt it was wrong for my son. And in my situation I am fortunate, and my son is not autistic, I applaud Lisa Genova for raising questions with these techniques we currently use with children. Why take a way their way of communication just because they are inconvient or not-normal. Why take away something they enjoy? Is it really healthy some of these techniques? Lisa Genova brought up so many valid points, and did it in a way that wasn’t confrontational or negative. Once again this is a book that will stay with the reader long after they turn the last page. It is a wonderful book. I recommend it to anyone who has been touched by autism in any way. People as a whole need to be more understanding and knowledgeable on the topic. And I praise her for pointing this out. In detail, and without sugar coating it. This book is about more than autism. It is about family. A family going through seperation, and a cheating spouse, and refinding themselves and where it takes them. It is about another family dealing with the death of a son they loved dearly, and unconditionally; and trying to cope as best they can in the aftermath. This is a book about finding the joy in what we have. Not just want we want, or wish we had. It’s about finding the true pleasures in life, and the simple things. Going with the flow when a shirt gets stained, or breakfast is one French Toast stick short. About loving eachother, and loving yourself. About doing what is right, despite needs, wants or desires. About listening to your heart, and not just what your head thinks is your heart. Its about falling apart and becoming whole again. About growing into who we are meant to be today – even if we are going to grow again tomorrow. And to paraphrase Oliva, to be Complete, not Perfect. Thank you Lisa Genova for another great read. I will be in line the day another of your books hits shelves. You are an amazing writer, and an inspiring woman. May this book be a bestseller for weeks to come!
Date published: 2012-09-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Another best seller I've been regularly putting out Lisa Genova's last book, Left Neglected, as one of my staff picks. It's usually signed out by someone the very same day. And when I check it in, I put it right back out. I've been waiting for another book from Genova. (and so have lots of my patrons!) Well the wait is over. Love Anthony releases today - and boy oh boy, was the wait worth it! Another absolutely fantastic read from this New York Times best selling author. Genova sets her latest book in Nantucket. It's the story of two women, whose lives connect in a way they couldn't imagine. Olivia has retreated to the island - she and her husband have separated after the death of their son autistic son Anthony. Olivia is struggling with her grief and is still trying to understand and give meaning to her son's short life. "She scoured every self-help book, then every medical journal, every memoir, every blog, every online parent support network. She read Jenny McCarthy and the Bible. She read and hoped and prayed and believed in anything claiming help, rescue, reversal, salvation. Somebody somewhere must know something. Somebody must have the key that would unlock her son." Another island resident, Beth, is also struggling. Her husband of fifteen years and father to her three daughters has been having an affair for the last year. They too have separated. With her life turned upside down, Beth is also looking for answers. "But who is she? She's Jimmy's wife, and she's a mother. And if she gets divorced, if she's no longer Mrs. James Ellis, and she's only a mother, then is there less of her? She fears this and feels it already, physically, as if a surgeon has taken a scalpel to her abdomen and removed a whole and necessary part of her. Without Jimmy, she doesn't recognize herself. How can that be? Whom has she become?" And what connects the two? Anthony. In a very unusual way. Genova has an amazing way with words. Her portrayal of Beth and Olivia was so realistic, I could imagine myself curled on their couches, listening to them try to work through things. Olivia's journals were especially poignant. Genova's exploration of marriage, motherhood, love and loss is so authentic. The island setting sprang to life with her details. The description of Anthony's stones was palpable and I will never look at a smooth white stone at the beach quite the same. Anthony's 'voice' was truly wonderful. Genova's exploration and imagining of a non verbal autistic child's thoughts was by turns heartbreaking and heartwarming. As Genova holds a PhD in neuroscience, I like to think that she's not too far from the truth. I think readers will view autism with new eyes and understanding after reading this book. Some of the coincidences might seem a bit too serendipitous for some readers, but didn't detract from the story for me. For, it is a story - but on the other hand, who says such things couldn't happen? Genova caught me from the opening chapters and held me rapt until I turned the last page. The final chapters had me reaching for the tissue box. And really, past that, as I thought about Love Anthony long after I finished. This is one that will be on my staff picks for a quite a while. (until I replace it with the fourth book Genova is working on.)
Date published: 2012-09-25

Read from the Book

Love Anthony CHAPTER 1 Beth is alone in her house, listening to the storm, wondering what to do next. To be fair, she’s not really alone. Jimmy is upstairs sleeping. But she feels alone. It’s ten in the morning, and the girls are at school, and Jimmy will sleep until at least noon. She’s curled up on the couch, sipping hot cocoa from her favorite blue mug, watching the fire in the fireplace, and listening. Rain and sand spray against the windows like an enemy attacking. Wind chimes gong repetitive, raving-mad music, riding gusts from some distant neighbor’s yard. The wind howls like a desperately mournful animal. A desperately mournful wild animal. Winter storms on Nantucket are wild. Wild and violent. They used to scare her, but that was years ago when she was new to this place. The radiator hisses. Jimmy snores. She has already done the laundry, the girls won’t be home for several hours, and it’s too early yet to start dinner. She’s grateful she did the grocery shopping yesterday. The whole house needs to be vacuumed, but she’ll wait until after Jimmy is up. He didn’t get home from work until after 2:00 a.m. She wishes she had the book for next month’s book club. She keeps forgetting to stop by the library to check it out. This month’s book was The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon. It was a quick read, a murder mystery narrated by an autistic teenage boy. She liked it and was especially fascinated by the main character’s strange inner world, but she hopes the next one will be a bit lighter. They typically choose more serious literature for book club, but she could use a pleasant escape into a hot summer romance right about now. They all could. A loud bang against the back of the house startles her. Grover, their black Lab, lifts his head from where he’s been sleeping on the braided rug. “It’s okay, Grove. It’s just Daddy’s chair.” Knowing a big storm was on its way, she told Jimmy to take his chair in last night before he left for work. It’s his “cigar-smoking” chair. One of the summer residents left it on the side of the road in September with a sign taped to it that read FREE, and Jimmy couldn’t resist it. The thing is trash. It’s a cedar Adirondack chair. In most places on Earth, that chair could weather a lifetime, but on Nantucket, the salty, humid air eventually degrades everything but the densest man-made composite materials. Everything needs to be extraordinarily tough to survive here. And probably more than a little dense. Jimmy’s moldy, corroded chair belongs at the dump or at least in the garage, as Beth wisely suggested last night. But instead, the wind has just lifted it off the ground and heaved it against the house. She thinks about getting up and hauling the chair into the garage herself, but then she thinks better of it. Maybe the storm will smash it to pieces. Of course, even if this happens, Jimmy will just find some other chair to sit in while he smokes his smelly cigars. She sits and tries to enjoy her cocoa, the storm, and the fire, but the impulse to get up and do something nags at her. She can’t think of anything useful to do. She walks over to the fireplace mantel and picks up the wedding picture of Jimmy and her. Mr. and Mrs. James Ellis. Fourteen years ago. Her hair was longer and blonder then. And her skin was flawless. No pores, no spots, no wrinkles. She touches her thirty-eight-year-old cheek and sighs. Jimmy looks gorgeous. He still does, mostly. She studies his smile in the photo. He has a slight overbite, and his eyeteeth jut forward a touch. When she met him, she thought his imperfect teeth added to his charm, lending just enough to his rugged good looks without making him look like a hillbilly. He has a self-assured, mischievous, full-out grin for a smile, the kind that makes people—women—put forth considerable effort to be the reason for it. But his teeth have started to bug her. The way he picks at them with his tongue after he eats. The way he chews his food with his mouth open. The way his eyeteeth stick out. She sometimes finds herself staring at them while he talks, wishing he’d shut his mouth. They’re pearly white in this wedding photograph, but now they’re more caramel- than cream-colored, abused by years of daily coffee and those smelly cigars. His once beautiful teeth. Her once beautiful skin. His annoying habits. She has them, too. She knows her nagging drives him crazy. This is what happens when people get older, when they’re married for fourteen years. She smiles at Jimmy’s smile in the picture, then replaces it on the mantel a little to the left of where it was before. She takes a step back. She purses her lips and eyes the length of the mantel. Their fireplace mantel is a six-foot-long, single piece of driftwood hung over the hearth. They found it washed up on the shore one night on Surfside Beach during that first summer. Jimmy picked it up and said, We’re hanging this over the fireplace in our house someday. Then he kissed her, and she believed him. They’d only known each other for a few weeks. Three pictures are on the mantel, all in matching weathered, white frames—one of Grover when he was six weeks old on the left, Beth and Jimmy in the middle, and a beach portrait of Sophie, Jessica, and Gracie in white shirts and floral, pink peasant skirts on the right. It was taken just after Gracie’s second birthday, eight years ago. “Where does the time go?” she says aloud to Grover. A huge, peach starfish that Sophie found out by Sankaty Lighthouse flanks the Beth-and-Jimmy picture on the left, and a perfect nautilus shell, also huge and without a single chip or crack, flanks the Beth-and-Jimmy picture on the right. Beth found the nautilus shell out on Great Point the year she married Jimmy, and she protected it vigilantly through three moves. She’s picked up hundreds of nautilus shells since and has yet to find another one without a flaw. This is always the arrangement on the mantel. Nothing else is allowed there. She adjusts her wedding picture again, slightly to the right, and steps back. There. That’s better. Perfectly centered. Everything as it should be. Now what? She’s on her feet, feeling energized. “Come on, Grover. Let’s go get the mail.” Outside, she immediately regrets the idea. The wind whips through her heartiest “windproof” winter coat as if it were a sieve. Chills tumble down her spine, and the cold feels like it’s worming its way deep into her bones. The rain is coming at her sideways, slapping her in the face, making it difficult to keep her eyes open enough to see where they’re going. Poor Grover, who was warm and happy and asleep a few moments ago, whimpers. “Sorry, Grove. We’ll be home in a minute.” The mailboxes are about a half mile away. Beth’s neighborhood is inhabited by a smattering of year-rounders and summer residents, but mostly summer people live on her route to the mail. So this time of year, the houses are empty and dark. There are no lights on in the windows, no smoke billowing from the chimneys, no cars parked in the driveways. Everything is lifeless. And gray. The sky, the earth, the weathered cedar shingles on every empty, dark house, the ocean, which she can’t see now but can smell. It’s all gray. She never gets used to this. The tedious grayness of winter on Nantucket is enough to unravel the most unshakable sanity. Even the proudest natives, the people who love this island the most, question themselves in March. Why the hell do we live on this godforsaken spit of gray sand? Spring, summer, and fall are different. Spring brings the yellow daffodils, summer brings the Mykonos-blue sky, fall brings the rusty-red cranberry bogs. And they all bring the tourists. Sure, the tourists come with their downsides. But they come. Life! After Christmas Stroll in December, they all leave. They return to mainland America and beyond, to places that have such things as McDonald’s and Staples and BJ’s and businesses that are open past January. And color. They have color. COLD, WET, AND miserable, she arrives at the row of gray mailboxes lining the side of the road, opens the door to her box, pulls out three pieces of mail, and quickly shoves them inside her coat to protect them from the rain. “C’mon, Grover. Home!” They turn around and begin retracing their route. With the rain and wind pushing behind her now, she’s able to look up to see where she’s going instead of mostly down at her feet. Ahead of them in the distance, someone is walking toward them. She wonders who it could be. As they get closer, she figures out that the person is a woman. Most of Beth’s friends live mid-island. Jill lives in Cisco, which isn’t too far from here, but in the other direction, toward the ocean, and this woman is too short to be Jill. She’s wearing a hat, a scarf wrapped around her nose and mouth, a parka, and boots. It would be hard to recognize anyone in that getup in this weather, but surely, Beth must know who it is. There are only so many people who would be out walking in this neighborhood in this weather on a Thursday in March. There are no weekenders or day-trippers out for a stroll on Nantucket today. They’re a few yards apart now, but Beth still can’t identify her. She can only see that the woman’s hair is long and black. Beth prepares to say Hello, and she’s already smiling when the woman is directly in front of her, but the woman is fixated on the ground, refusing eye contact. So Beth doesn’t say Hello, and she feels sheepish for smiling. Grover wanders over for a sniff, but the woman skirts by too quickly and is then behind them before Beth or Grover can learn anything more about her. Still curious after a few steps, Beth looks back over her shoulder and sees the woman at the row of mailboxes, toward the far end. “Probably a New Yorker,” she mutters as she turns around and presses on toward home. Safe inside, Grover shakes himself, sending water everywhere. She’d normally scold him for doing this, but it doesn’t matter. Just opening the door splashed a bucket’s worth of water into the mudroom. She removes her hat and coat, and the mail falls to the ground. She kicks off her boots. She’s soaked through. She peels off her wet socks and jeans, tosses them into the laundry room, and slips into a pair of fleece pajama bottoms and a pair of slippers. Feeling warmer and drier and immediately happier, she returns to the front door to collect the mail from the floor, then walks back to the couch. Grover has returned to the braided rug. The first piece of mail is the heating bill, which will probably be more than their monthly mortgage payment. She decides to open it later. The next is a Victoria’s Secret catalog. She ordered one push-up bra three Christmases ago, and they still keep sending her catalogs. She’ll toss it into the fire. The last piece of mail is an envelope hand-addressed to her. She opens it. It’s a card with a birthday cake pictured on the front. May all your wishes come true. Huh, that’s strange, she thinks. Her birthday isn’t until October. Inside, the words Happy Birthday have been crossed out with a single, confident ballpoint blue line. Below it, someone has written: I’m sleeping with Jimmy. PS. He loves me. It takes her a few seconds to reread it, to make sure she’s comprehending the words. She’s aware of her heart pounding as she picks up the envelope again. Who sent this? There’s no return address, but the postmark is stamped from Nantucket. She doesn’t recognize the handwriting. The penmanship is neat and loopy, a woman’s. Another woman’s. Holding the envelope in one hand and the card in the other, she looks up at the fireplace mantel, at her perfectly centered wedding picture, and swallows. Her mouth has gone dry. She gets up and walks to the fireplace. She slides the iron screen aside. She tosses the Victoria’s Secret catalog onto the fire and watches the edges curl and blacken as it burns and turns to gray ash. Gone. Her hands are shaking. She clenches the envelope and card. If she burns them now, she can pretend she never saw them. This never existed. A swirl of unexpected emotion courses through her. She feels fear and fury, panic and humiliation. She feels nauseous, like she’s going to be sick. But what she doesn’t feel is surprised. She closes the gate. With the card and envelope squeezed in her fist, she marches up the stairs, emphasizing each loud step as she heads toward Jimmy’s snoring.

Editorial Reviews

“Genova's deep and empathic insight once again has blown me away -- particularly her intensely accurate portrayal of autism parenting. Her characters are complicated people, with unique, believable and, sometimes frustrating struggles. But perhaps Genova's true mastery is in the way she never fails to give us very real people to love.” --Susan Senator, author of Making Peace With Autism