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Joel Yanofsky tried for years to start this memoir. Its not just going to be about autism, he told his wife, Cynthia. Its going to be about parenthood and marriage, about hope and despair, and storytelling, too. Marriage? Cynthia said. What about marriage? A veteran book reviewer, Yanofsky has spent a lifetime immersed in literature (not to mention old movies and old jokes), which he calls shtick. This account of a year in the life of a family describes a fathers struggle to enter his sons world, the world of autism, using the materials he knows best: self-help books, feel-good memoirs, literary classics from the Bible to Dr. Seuss, old movies, and, yes, shtick. Funny, wrenching, and unfailingly candid, Bad Animals is both an exploration of a baffling condition and a quirky love story told by a gifted writer.

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