Finding Neema

By Juliet Reynolds

Self Help,Memoir,Non fiction | English

Rs. 638

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Honest and unsentimental, yet funny and compassionate, Finding Neema is the story of an autistic boy from the eastern Himalayas, brought up by the author and her husband, a gifted Indian artist. Set against the backdrop of the art world in India, and interwoven with reminiscences of her own unusual life and marriage, Juliet relates a compelling story: the couple’s unplanned adoption of Neema, son of their maid, Poonam; their endeavours to have his autism diagnosed and treated; and Neema’s emergence into adulthood as a valuable – though still dependent – human being. The book also delves into Neema’s background and tormented early life with his dysfunctional family, thereby touching upon some of the more lurid aspects of developing world poverty and introducing into the narrative an assorted cast of characters, some appealing and some appalling, but all of them colourful. Poonam’s story of abuse, self-destruction and faltering redemption – at once poignant and astounding – forms an important strand of the book and is related with special insight and frequent exasperation. Not only does the author tell a story of autism quite unlike the many already told, she also places it in an Indian and South Asian context.

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