49. Eye Contact: A Novel by Cammie McGovern (2006)
During one particular recess, a little girl and boy – two students – seem to vanish without a trace. Upon further investigation, it soon comes to light that both children were last seen heading across the soccer field toward the woods behind the school. They were last seen together, but witnesses claim not to know what could have happened to them.
Hours pass before only one of them, a nine-year-old autistic boy named Adam, is found alive. Discovered several yards away from the little girl’s body, hiding in the sheltering undergrowth, Adam is apparently the sole witness to an incomprehensible killing. Barely verbal on the best of days, Adam has since retreated into his own silent world, unable to tell anyone else what he witnessed.
Adam’s mother Cara has an intimate knowledge of her son’s mannerisms and attitude, and she knows of Adam’s secret, silent, insulated world only too well. With her community still reeling from the shock and her son unable to help the police in their investigation, it falls to Cara to become Adam’s voice as she tries to decode the puzzling events. Yet in her desperate desire to protect her son from the various cruelties of life – both inadvertent and deliberate – has Cara somehow made his world a much more dangerous place?
When another child suddenly goes missing, Adam’s mother redoubles her efforts to interpret the potential clues. Cara realizes that only she can unlock her son’s silence to provide the police with the clues that they need to catch a killer. She knows that when she is finally able to interpret the changes in Adam’s behavior, she will not only understand how to better help him deal with the trauma of having witnessed his best friend’s murder, she will also have helped the police to solve an horrendous crime. Yet as Cara moves closer to exposing the truth of what happened, her own unsettling past begins to emerge from the shadows.
I thought this was really an excellent book. In my opinion, this was an intriguing and well-written story with a well-developed and fast-paced plot. I found that there was a vibrant poignancy to Ms. McGovern’s writing, and I found myself learning and understanding more about the hardships and struggles faced by the parents of autistic children. I could really empathize with Cara and the various difficulties that she had raising her son. I would certainly give this book an A! and definitely will be on the lookout for more books by Cammie McGovern.
A! – (90-95%)
Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight