Paul's Prayers by Susan Anderson
"Any parent who has been handed an unexpected trial will appreciate this honest, vivid, and inspiring tale of raising an autistic son. There is heartbreak and frustration but also triumph and hope, as Susan and Rob find the strength through their faith to offer their son unqualified love.”
—Philip Gerard, author of The Patron Saint of Dreams and Down the Wild Cape Fear
"Many of us are gifted with loved ones who think and see the world in different ways. Susan Anderson's book about her autistic son, Paul, is a highly readable, moving, human and sometimes humorous account of the joys, trials, and challenges of raising an atypical child. As all good parents do—for all of our children—Susan and her husband Rob struggled to help their son navigate this complex world and grow to be the man God wants him to be. A wonderful book, both for those whose lives are touched by atypical thinkers and those who want to understand them better."
—Arthur Powers, author of The Book of Jotham and co-founder and Vice President of the Catholic Writers Guild
"Paul’s Prayers could just as fittingly be entitled Paul’s Song. In lyrical prose, author Susan Anderson portrays her adult son Paul, who is challenged with autism. Her story is at once a heartbreaking ballad of his lifelong struggles and an anthem in praise of his heroic fortitude. Though the narrative is focused on Paul, in the telling of the tale his mother's remarkable strength and wisdom are revealed as well—an inspiration for us all."
—Paul Thigpen, author of The Burden (2013) and A Dictionary of Quotes from the Saints (2017) and editor for TAN Books in Charlotte
Paul's Prayers describes a moderately autistic young man with a deep spiritual intelligence. His mother Susan writes lyrically about raising Paul in a large Catholic family. Paul's parents refer to his condition as "The Marauder." He sweeps over the hospital nursery with blinding fluorescent lights. He throws his black cape over the Christmas holidays, stealing four-year-old Paul's speech for three days. In school, The Marauder shrouds Paul socially, leaving him isolated and alone.
Victories emerge as Paul reaches developmental milestones in creative ways. Piano lessons improve reading skills. Paul, with his brothers, joins the high school cross country running team, which goes on to win the state championship. After high school, Paul works for the family business and attends college.
As an adult, Paul finds comfort in faith and the support of his family. Having lived most of his life in western North Carolina, this story also lends to the reader, a strong sense of place. This memoir is a beacon of light for those who find themselves on a similar path.
Susan Anderson grew up in South Florida, a true child of the seventies, and was raised on radio. Having started writing late in life, she draws inspiration from faith, family, and the fodder of defeat, victory, and the blessed in between of the mundane. She enjoys the grit of a well written memoir. She belongs to Rob, her husband and six beautiful grown up children. Her day job consists of promoting and shipping Christian games through their family business, Cactus Game Design; advocacy for her adult son who has autism; stoking the home fires; and prayer. She lives in the far west corner of North Carolina where she stakes a little claim of mountain air and vista views. When she's not in the mountains, she'll be at the beach, toes in the ocean, writing in a spiral at the shore. Susan is a monthly contributor for www.CatholicMom.com.