Dolphins in the Mud by Jo Ramsey

MUD

Dolphins in the Mud by Jo Ramsey
Publisher: Featherweight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult
Length: Full Length (193 pages)
Age Recommendation: 16+
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Orchid

When Chris Talberman’s family moved to Wellfleet, Massachusetts, Chris left behind his boyfriend and friends. Six months later, Chris still feels alone.

When a pod of dolphins strand themselves on the cove outside Chris’s house, his autistic younger sister, Cece, runs out to see them. A boy named Noah Silver helps catch Cece before she gets hurt. Noah is even more alone than Chris, and he’s just as eager to find a friend.

Then everything goes downhill — Chris’s mother leaves, putting Chris’s workaholic father in charge. With no one else to talk to, Chris turns to Noah, and their relationship deepens. But Noah has problems he isn’t willing to share.

I found this book to be truly inspirational, not in the religious sense, but in the way it shows teenagers how to cope with the unusual in their lives and proves that they are not alone, even when it seems everything is against them.

Many dolphins beach in the mud on the nearby beach catching the attention of Cece, the autistic sister of teenager Chris. Cece escapes to look at the dolphins and Chris rushes after her, and his life changes from that time forward.

Chris, whose parents accept he is gay, is attracted to a boy he meets when he catches his sister and stops to look at the dolphins. His wishes are thwarted by his mother who suddenly disappears, leaving Chris and his father to cope with Cece who is naturally upset by the huge change in her routine.

I liked this story being told from the first person point of view of Chris. It enabled me to get inside his head and know what he was thinking. To some he may have seemed jealous of the attention his sister received, but although Chris admitted there was an imbalance, he didn’t blame Cece. Autism was not something a nine year old could help.

Chris and his family had moved to the coastal area recently and, wisely, the young man kept his sexual preferences discreetly to himself. In time he hoped to meet someone, but was content to wait for the right person.

The author approached both children’s differences in a truthful, but helpful manner. I don’t know much about autism, but this book helped me understand it more widely than before. The teenage angst of being different was also handled with tact and might, I believe, prove of assistance to young people in a similar situation.

I believe this book is well worth rating of 5. Not one but two difficult circumstances were dealt with in a natural way. Prejudices, whispered remarks and loss of temper were not kept out of sight, everything was out in the open which kept me involved with the story right to the end. A truly remarkable book.

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