Leah Greenblatt
September 09, 2005 at 04:00 AM EDT

A Wild Ride Up the Cupboards

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Anne Bauer
publisher
Scribner
genre
Fiction
We gave it an A-

In resonant, clear-eyed prose, Anne Bauer’s A Wild Ride Up the Cupboards expertly maps the ferocity and anguish of a parent’s love for a child. Young couple Rachel and Jack find their gregarious toddler Edward turning slowly, inexorably inward — it’s not autism but something more ambiguous, and perhaps even more frustrating for the child’s moments of lucidity. Over time, they fight desperately to bring him back, to a place his doctors, schools, and the world at large deem ”normal,” while still raising two other, healthy kids. Bauer also intercuts the story of a great-uncle whose own illness may hold the key to the boy’s withdrawal. By no means a fairy tale, Cupboards is a sharply drawn wonder; only the too swift, jackknifed conclusion breaks the spell of her exceptional storytelling.

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