Reaching One Thousand: A Story of Love, Motherhood and Autism

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Deeply touching but never sentimental, this remarkable book is more than a story of one boy and his mother. It’s a thoughtful meditation on the intricate workings of the human mind and heart.’ TONI JORDAN
When Ben is a baby, Rachel puts his quirks down to eccentricity. He likes to count letterboxes; he hates to get his hands dirty; loud noises make him anxious. But as Ben grows and his behaviour becomes more pronounced, it becomes clear there is something else going on. When he is diagnosed with autism, Rachel must reconsider everything she thought she knew about parenting, about Ben, and about how best to mother him.
Reaching One Thousand charts her quest to understand autism and to build a new kind of relationship with her son. Along the way she explores her own childhood, discovering unexpected links between Ben’s experiences and her own. Before she can presume to tell Ben’s story, she realises, she must face difficult questions – questions about intimacy, trust, and what it means for a mother to write about her child.
Exquisitely written, this is a thought-provoking story about family and understanding, and a tender love letter from a mother to her son.
RACHEL ROBERTSON is senior lecturer in writing at Curtin University. Her creative work can be found in publications such as Best Australian Essays, Griffith Review, Meanjin, Island and Westerly. She is co-editor of the essay collections Purple Prose and Dangerous Ideas about Mothers.