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I Dream He Talks to Me: A Memoir of Learning How to Listen (Hardcover)
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When Allison’s son, John Henry, stopped using his growing vocabulary just before his second birthday, she knew in her bones that something was shifting. In the years since his autism diagnosis, Allison and John Henry have embarked on an intense journey filled with the adventure, joy, heartbreak, confusion, and powerful love lessons that are the hallmarks of a quest for understanding.
In I Dream He Talks to Me, Allison details the meltdowns and the moments of grace, and how the mundane expectations of a parent turn into extraordinary achievements. The saying goes, “If you know one person with autism, you know one person with autism”; no two stories are alike, and yet there are universal truths that apply to all parent-child relationships. With gorgeous prose, Allison shares her and John Henry’s experience while also creating a riveting narrative that will speak to anyone who parents—and who has questioned their own ability to do so. An exploration of resilience and compassion—both for ourselves and for others—I Dream He Talks to Me is also a moving meditation on our place in the world and how we get there; what words mean, what they don’t; and, ultimately, how we truly express ourselves and truly know those whom we love.
About the Author
Allison Moorer has been nominated for Academy, Grammy, Americana Music Association, and Academy of Country Music Awards. Her writing has been published in American Songwriter, Guernica, LitHub, and The Bitter Southerner. She lives in Nashville.
"Moorer’s candor and self-doubt are achingly honest and oftentimes funny, making this not a story of heartbreak but a celebration of life’s struggles and rewards. This is a parenting book worth reading twice."—Publishers Weekly
“I love every inch of Allison Moorer—her brilliant mind, her poetic melodic voice, her huge heart and humanity, her guts and courage, and those feet planted so solidly and soulfully on the earth. Blood was a tremendous achievement, so lyrical, wise, heartbreaking, charming, and beautifully written; and so is I Dream He Talks to Me, both a memoir of her non-verbal autistic son, and a journey into the truth of who we all are.”—Anne Lamott
"Life can wear us down and make us bitter, or it can soften our hearts and make us wise. I can think of no one who personifies this wisdom better than Allison Moorer. Her luminous, beautifully written book is a paean to maternal love and devotion, and also something more: befitting a songwriter of her great gifts, I would call it a hymn."—Dani Shapiro, New York Times bestselling author of Inheritance and Family History
"Poignant and profoundly humane, this book plumbs the depths of a mother-child connection and celebrates the human capacity to grow into graceful acceptance... A lyrically candid and heartfelt memoir."—Kirkus Reviews
Praise for Blood
"Beautiful, heart-wrenching . . . Moorer's masterful, comforting storytelling may serve as solace for those who've faced abuse, a signal for those in it to get out, and an eye-opener for others."—Publishers Weekly starred review
"Moorer's memoir is full of backstory-memories, current notes and thoughts, and well-described metaphors that come together fluidly, all told with grit and lyrical prose. ...Her writing is beautiful and gripping and will stop readers in their tracks...a must-read."
—Booklist starred review
"There is much wisdom in her experience as well as in her reflections on what she has read and heard....Much different from most musicians' memoirs and of much interest to all who wrestle to understand tragedies of their own."
—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"Allison Moorer is known for songs of ragged, poetic honesty -- and for the emotional clarity of her country western ballads. Her debut memoir exhibits these qualities and more."
—LitHub, one of the most anticipated books of 2019
"There are few writers -- few people, in fact -- who could examine with such profound bravery the immense suffering and trauma in her story, infuse it with a lyrical sense of timelessness, and make us feel grateful for the telling. Blood is both unflinching and redemptive: a song of loss and courage."
"Like her songwriting, Moorer's prose is steeped in a rich sense of place, vivid characterization, and a story you will never forget. Not since Joan Didion's Blue Nights has grief been explored with so much beauty and complexity."
—Silas House, author of Southernmost
"Grit and grace, beauty and pain, on every wise page. Allison Moorer has given us a memoir as bloody, rich, and complex as red Alabama clay."
—Alice Randall, author of The Wind Done Gone
"Blood reveals the complicated mess of love and hurt that all too many readers will recognize. Moorer herself survived the unimaginable, and her poetic testimony should summon vigorous new attention to the public-health crisis that is male anger."
—Sarah Smarsh, author of Heartland
"Blood is the most vulnerable work you're likely to read for quite some time."
—Rick Bass, author of For a Little While
"[A] harrowing debut."—Elle
"Her voice rings with equal parts defiance and vulnerability."
"[Moorer's] written this book like a symphony. It is expansive, and its three parts feel like movements. Moorer fills them with prose that has the sharp honesty of the greatest songwriters."
—The Bitter Southerner
"Written with brave, clear-eyed compassion for all involved, Blood is an astonishing and moving meditation on family inheritance and acceptance. Despite her family's singularly tragic circumstances, Blood tells a universal story about the things our parents pass down to us -- what we learn to be grateful for, what we release ourselves from, and what we simply leave alone."
—Jennifer Palmieri, author of Dear Madame President