- Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig (Park Row Books) 2017
- In 40 words or less: Day by day, Ginny reveals the challenges of an autistic teen trying to become a part of a Forever Family after years in foster care. It’s far from easy and her loyalties and her past stand in the way.
- Genre: Fiction
- Locale: United States
- Time: Contemporary
- Benjamin Ludwig brings first-hand experience to telling Ginny’s story as the adoptive parent of an autistic young woman. Seeing the story through Ginny’s eyes gives the reader a rare view into the daily life of a teen on the autistic spectrum and the demands placed on parents, teachers, and all involved in helping her navigate the world.
“I am standing in front of the refrigerator listening. I hear nothing. In the refrigerator there are grapes and milk. There are a lot of other things too but grapes and milk are what I need. I need to have nine grapes to start my breakfast and a glass of human milk but it’s a rule that We do not open the refrigerator. And We ask for food when we’re hungry.“
Until she was nine, Ginny lived with her Birth Mother Gloria and Donald in an apartment. When Donald would get angry, Ginny would hide and take Baby Doll with her to be safe. And then the police came and took Ginny away, leaving Baby Doll in a suitcase under the bed. Ginny has been desperate to reunite with Baby Doll ever since.
Ginny is literal, methodical, persistent, and sometimes sneaky. Despite being forbidden to use the internet, she plots ways to search for Gloria so she can find Baby Doll. Being a teenager and someone who processes information differently, Ginny doesn’t always understand the repercussions of her actions. Dealing with the consequences of Ginny’s choices puts serious strains on her Forever Parents while they are also preparing for the birth of a baby.
A wonderful look into Ginny’s world is her involvement in Special Olympics basketball. Seeing the experience through Ginny’s eyes reveals the community involvement, the commitment of her Forever Dad, peer volunteer mentorship and the pride that comes from participating on a team.
I knew little about Ginny Moon before I dug into it. I had heard it was very different, and it is that. I found myself rooting for the Moon family, hoping that Ginny can find her place before her actions inflict damage beyond repair.
Ginny Moon is far more than an engaging novel. Ludwig is so careful and loving in “speaking” Ginny’s thoughts that a reader with little exposure to people on the autism spectrum can get a peek into that world. By including Ginny’s classmates and Special Olympics teammates he also points out that each person with disabilities or special needs is different, just like everyone else. In the same way people shouldn’t be pigeonholed, this book should be read for the unique creation it is.