3 out of 4 stars
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A Chicken in the Wind and How He Grew: Stories from an ADHD Dad is a funny, heartwarming and poignant memoir by Frank South.
After a serious mental breakdown, forty-nine-year-old television writer Frank South was diagnosed with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) with 'a number of pronounced comorbid disorders' including depression, hypomania and anxiety. At the time, he was living in Los Angeles with his wife Margaret and two ADHD children, Harry and Coco. Convinced that the best thing to do was to live away from everything and everybody they knew, Frank moved his family to Hawaii where there is different culture, less people and far less distractions. However, a series of unrelated events involving extended family members made Frank, an ADHD with aversion to change, consider moving back to the East Coast after ten years of living in the middle of the Pacific.
This is a wonderful, touching, moving, funny, amusing and entertaining book about love and family. By sharing the story of his life, the author gives the readers not just a glimpse but a detailed, blow-by-blow, account of what he and his children, as ADHD, go through every day. The author describes the frustrations of constantly living with self-doubt, fear, anxiety, confusion, self-loathing, depression, manic episodes and panic attacks.
Moreover, the book emphasizes the importance of finding ‘the’ therapist as well as the rapport between patient and therapist. Furthermore, the author, through this book, expresses his profound appreciation not only to his wife and his mother but also to all family members of ADHD for their infinite patience and unconditional love.
There are three things I like about the book. First, I appreciate the conversational tone the author uses. Unlike other non-fiction that sounds a lot like text books, this sounds more like live narration and personal conversation, therefore, easy to read. Second and in connection with the tone of narration, the book feels like actual encounter with ADHD that the readers could feel the confusion and self-doubt. This way, the author is able to share with the readers how it feels like, especially the explosion and the frustration. Finally, I like the courage and determination the entire South Family exhibited in the book. It is inspiring and encouraging.
The most important part of the book, for me, is the emphasis on responsibility to family. Regardless of what we are and what we do, and despite our impairments and disabilities, we are responsible for our loved ones not simply because we are obligated to but because that is what our hearts tell us to do, as Berna Deane South said ‘It’s my job.’
I like everything about the book except for noticeable errors mostly missing words and typos (like can’t to get my breath and difficult for me believe).
I, therefore, rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. It is, for the most part funny, amusing, entertaining, inspiring, encouraging and informative. I recommend it not just to ADHD or family and friends of ADHD but to everyone who enjoys books and stories about rising above adversity.
A Chicken in the Wind and How He Grew
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