A Painful Gift: The Journey of a Soul With Autism
Christopher Goodchild, Darton, Longman and Todd
A Painful Gift is an autobiography written by a man with Asperger’s Syndrome and Dyslexia. Asperger’s syndrome is a high-functioning form of autism which makes it difficult for a person to express themselves and understand and relate to other people. Dyslexia is a learning disorder which makes it difficult for a person to learn to read, write and spell. The fact that the book was written at all is remarkable considering the way Goodchild’s disabilities affected his skills to express himself through writing.
Goodchild writes beautifully about his life, most of which was horrific. He was misdiagnosed, wrongly medicated, misunderstood, abused and taken advantage of throughout his life. He also did not understand himself or why he found life so difficult. when he was finally correctly diagnosed, Goodchild was actually thrilled.
A Painful Gift is a very spiritual book. A practising Catholic, Goodchild writes that he felt a great affinity with Christ and used the Stations of the Cross to help structure his book. Stations of the Cross represent the “points along the way of Jesus’ last moments of life, covering his trial, sentencing, crucifixion and resurrection and the people who came into contact with him at that time”. Each chapter of A Painful Gift begins with a black and white sketch of Jesus’ sufferings, sometimes against a modern background.
Goodchild also includes thoughtful and interesting comments on topics such as forgiveness, silence, solitude, sensory overload, prayer, grief and despair.
I recommend A Painful Gift. It’s an amazing book.
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