Hazard is a poignant, unflinching memoir of the emotional intricacies of growing up with a severely disabled sibling. Margaret Combs shows how her Southern Baptist family coped with lived reality of autism in an era of ignorance and shame, the 1950s through the 1970s, and shares her own tragedy and anguish of being torn between helping her brother and yearning for her own life. Like many siblings of disabled children, young Margaret drives herself to excel in order to make up for her family’s sorrow and ultimately flees her family for what she hopes is a “normal” life.
Hazard is also a story of indelible bonds between siblings: the one between Combs and her sister, and the deep and rueful one she has with her disabled brother; how he and she were buddies; and how fervently she wanted to make him whole. Initially fueled by a wish that her brother had never been born, the author eventually arrives in a deeper place of gratitude for this same brother, whom she loves and who loves her in return.
Having 2 young daughters with Autism I really wanted to read this book because I also have a teenage son who had to learn very early on to grow up quickly because he had to become his sisters’ protector in a way most kids will never understand.
I found the book to be informative, easy to read, and well written. Combs has a way of pulling you in and taking you on the journey with her so you see with her eyes, feel what she did. It’s a highly emotional and expressive look at family dynamics and the ability to survive overwhelming challenges.
Reading how far things have come within the special needs community and society at large in the decades since made me happy that even with the current imperfections it’s obvious large strides in both care and understanding have occurred.
As a parent I found it very interesting to read an adult’s point of view about what it was like to be the sibling of a special needs child because it gave me some insight in how to be there for my son more since his sisters get more of our attention and time than he does simply due to the circumstances. He is not loved less than them but as a parent you don’t necessarily realize how things appear from their point of view. I feel like this book will make me a better mother to him and maybe be able to help him in his role in their lives. I was very grateful for the opportunity to read this and gain some profound insight.
Thank you to Netgalley and Skyhorse Publishing for allowing me to review this book.
Buy on Amazon: http://a.co/0AcRyRH
*synopsis and pic from amazon.com