Too Close to Home
Publisher: Andersen Press
14 year old Minny has a complicated life. Her father left a couple of years ago and since then the family has been living with her grandmother in a house which can barely hold them all. Minny often feels she has to take responsibility for her younger sister, baby brother and sometimes even her older sister Aisling, who is autistic. Her relationship with her best friend Penny is proving problematic too. Then things are complicated still further by the unexpected return of Minny’s father, complete with new girlfriend. Even then, just when it couldn’t seem to get any worse, there any more secrets to be revealed and a possible catastrophe on the horizon.
Aoife Walsh paints a very persuasive picture of a family which, like many, is complex in both its structure and its relationships. She describes the intricacies of the challenges faced by the characters in beautiful detail, drawing the reader in to share the family’s highs and the lows.
The book successfully depicts Aisling’s experience of autism. We see the impact of people’s attitudes and their ignorance about the true nature of the spectrum. We see Aisling starting to grow into a young woman and develop independence. Importantly, alongside the challenges, the author also ensures that Aisling is a fully-rounded personality in her own right, an equal, integral and complex member of this thoroughly convincing and likeable family unit.