Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig: Book Review

Ginny Moon is a premiere novel by author and adoptive parent Benjamin Ludwig.  It is the fictional story of an adolescent girl who happens to be both adopted and autistic. I was drawn to this book immediately because I teach autistic students, and I am an adoptee. I enjoyed and appreciated the diary-like styling of this complex family story, as told from the point of view of Ginny, the young, endearing, learning-challenged adoptee who wants desperately to find her baby sister and know that the younger sister is alive and cared for.

Ginny is also an adoptee-lite in the sense that she knows who her biological mother, father, sister, and aunt are, but lacks the capacity to comprehend the precarious and destructive life her first mother has historically lead. Ginny’s prospective adoptive parents are portrayed as very caring regarding Ginny’s needs but also controlling and protective of their other biological infant daughter, (with good reason to a point). At one point in the story, I found myself disliking the adoptive mother mostly because she does not present as a happy person. She lacks trust and seems unwilling to try with Ginny once the new baby comes into their lives.

Ginny struggles with her need to feel worthy and needed by someone as well as her need to understand fully what truly lead to her relinquishment or separation from her mother of birth in spite of the mental challenges which her disability presents. Her “fog” is unique in that due to her mental challenges, she is not cognizant of the lapse in time (5 plus years) between when she was removed from her first home of squalor, neglect, and danger and placed in what she describes as “the Blue House with her Forever Mom and Dad”.

Autistic people seek to understand their environment in ways beyond what typical people strive for. They need to work through sensory/ information overload, multiple messages at one time, and the uniqueness and quirkiness of spoken language in addition to all the whys and why nots every adopted/relinquished person experiences regardless.

The novel, Ginny Moon, in no way promotes or supports one side of the adoption constellation or community over another. Author, Benjamin Ludwig writes from personal experience about parenting a special needs adoptee and all the joys and struggles that brings. Ludwig also conveys well the importance of having effective social workers/therapists who seek communication breakthroughs and understanding with their young clients.

Readers who enjoyed the book/movie WONDER might like this story because it conveys family unity and resilience amidst the challenges of raising a child with social and mental challenges. The characters are real, imperfect yet well-intentioned individuals. Ludwig captures the time of tween to early teen years when all kids, regardless of intellectual ability go through a phase when they increase their understanding and awareness of the greater world and begin to question how “the systems of society” work.

Another well-regarded novel I would liken Ginny Moon to is Mark Hadden’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, in which another young autistic teen feels compelled to unravel a mystery this time about a murdered neighborhood canine. The main character is accused of something he did not do and he must somehow break through an intense communication barrier in order to find out the truth about his life.

Ginny Moon is attention-grabbing because Ginny’s “voice” (as the narrator) is fascinating, sincere and down to earth. The chapters are short yet this book is rich in detail in all the right places. Educators at many levels will also find this book appealing and insightful. Author, Benjamin Ludwig effectively shows the fine balance between the needs and interests of adoptees, their biological mothers and fathers, adoptive parents and even social workers.

This book is traditionally published and available in most standard retail bookstores and online.

 

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Comments

  • Lynne Miller  On October 16, 2018 at 11:50 pm

    Sounds like an insightful book worth reading.

    • Paige Adams Strickland  On November 3, 2018 at 10:25 pm

      I had a double motive to read this. I love the “voice” in this. I’d also rank this with “Wonder” and “Out of my Mind”, although those stories are not adoption-related.

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