As someone who has people with autism in her life, I’m drawn to stories like THE OSTRICH AND OTHER LOST THINGS. It’s written from the perspective of a sister whose older brother has autism. Olivia is the (incredibly) observant type — she notices everything and everyone and no detail seems to escape her watchful eye. She’s extraordinarily good at finding things — objects and belongings that people in her life misplace. There’s one lost thing that eludes her, though — her brother Jacob’s beloved ostrich that she has not been able to find for months. She feels like it has something to do with his worsening behavior which is odd, unpredictable and more often than not embarrassing.
Olivia craves normalcy and wants to carve out a space of her own, apart from being “Jacob’s sister.” We experience her frustration, ongoing grief and her feeling of being “closed in” as she deals with her brother’s profound differences and the restrictions that they impose on her life. We learn about how love is different when you have a person with autism in your family—it’s still there, just felt and expressed in ways you wouldn’t expect. I love author Beth Hautala’s words — “We are all a little bit lost and a little bit found.” In our case, we’re glad to have found this heartfelt and meaningful story.