Description

From a Grammy-nominated musician comes a lyrical testament to love and resilience through the lens of parenting her young son, who has nonverbal autism.

Shortly before his second birthday, Allison Moorer's son, John Henry, stopped using the twenty-seven words he had learned. John Henry’s diagnosis of nonverbal autism was devastating, even though Allison knew in her bones that something was shifting. In the  years since then, Allison and John Henry have embarked on a powerful journey—filled with the heartbreak, adventure, confusion, and unending love that are the hallmarks of a quest for understanding.
 
In I Dream He Talks to Me, Allison details the temper tantrums, the toilet accidents, the moments of unexpected grace, and the pain of never truly knowing her son's hopes, fears, or what he loves with the same gorgeous prose that is a hallmark of  her first memoir, Blood. I Dream He Talks to Me is an exploration of resilience, compassion, and how to find things to celebrate every day. A moving meditation on communication—what words mean, what they don't, and how we strive to do the best for those care for—it is also a surprising look at what unconditional love truly means. 
 
The saying goes, "If you know one person with autism, you know one person with autism." No two stories are alike, and yet there are universal truths. As with Blood, Allison shares her unique story while also creating a riveting narrative that will appeal to anyone who has struggled to parent.

What's Inside

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Praise

“Lyrical, wise, heartbreaking, charming, and beautifully written…a journey into the truth of who we all are.”—Anne Lamott, New York Times bestselling author
"Beautiful, heart-wrenching . . . Moorer's masterful, comforting storytelling may serve as solace for those who've faced abuse, a signal for those in it to get out, and an eye-opener for others."
Publishers Weekly starred review
"Moorer's memoir is full of backstory-memories, current notes and thoughts, and well-described metaphors that come together fluidly, all told with grit and lyrical prose. ...Her writing is beautiful and gripping and will stop readers in their tracks...a must-read."
Booklist starred review
"There is much wisdom in her experience as well as in her reflections on what she has read and heard....Much different from most musicians' memoirs and of much interest to all who wrestle to understand tragedies of their own."
Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"Allison Moorer is known for songs of ragged, poetic honesty -- and for the emotional clarity of her country western ballads. Her debut memoir exhibits these qualities and more."
LitHub, one of the most anticipated books of 2019
"There are few writers -- few people, in fact -- who could examine with such profound bravery the immense suffering and trauma in her story, infuse it with a lyrical sense of timelessness, and make us feel grateful for the telling. Blood is both unflinching and redemptive: a song of loss and courage."
Rosanne Cash
"Like her songwriting, Moorer's prose is steeped in a rich sense of place, vivid characterization, and a story you will never forget. Not since Joan Didion's Blue Nights has grief been explored with so much beauty and complexity."
Silas House, author of Southernmost
"Grit and grace, beauty and pain, on every wise page. Allison Moorer has given us a memoir as bloody, rich, and complex as red Alabama clay."
Alice Randall, author of The Wind Done Gone
"Blood reveals the complicated mess of love and hurt that all too many readers will recognize. Moorer herself survived the unimaginable, and her poetic testimony should summon vigorous new attention to the public-health crisis that is male anger."
Sarah Smarsh, author of Heartland
"Blood is the most vulnerable work you're likely to read for quite some time."
Rick Bass, author of For a Little While
"[A] harrowing debut."—Elle
"Her voice rings with equal parts defiance and vulnerability."
Blender
"[Moorer's] written this book like a symphony. It is expansive, and its three parts feel like movements. Moorer fills them with prose that has the sharp honesty of the greatest songwriters."
The Bitter Southerner
"Written with brave, clear-eyed compassion for all involved, Blood is an astonishing and moving meditation on family inheritance and acceptance. Despite her family's singularly tragic circumstances, Blood tells a universal story about the things our parents pass down to us -- what we learn to be grateful for, what we release ourselves from, and what we simply leave alone."
Jennifer Palmieri, author of Dear Madame President
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