Monday, March 28, 2016

Book Review: Dance of Joy By Melissa Campbell Rowe

Dance of Joy
By Melissa Campbell Rowe
Genre: Adult Fiction

Meltdowns. Rejection. Bullying. All of these words are associated with autism. As the story opens, Jeff Howard races to the emergency room to find his wife battered by their autistic son. Jeff’s plans for his success and family start falling apart and the reality is that life is hard. But It’s harder when you have a child with autism. And you can’t run from it. Jeff’s journey from denial to acceptance is poignant and honest. Jeff must let go of his ambitions and embrace a different way to live. To find peace the family must be able to pull together and work as a team to make a better life for them all. Through the process, the family learns some new words to associate with autism: courage, acceptance, and joy.

My Review

This is an emotional story about a family with an autistic son, Tucker. He faces bullying in school which causes him to react violently and be expelled. His mother, Meredith, is at her wit's end. Dance of Joy is not just about an autistic child and some of the challenges he faces, but it gives readers a close look at the siblings and parents lives, too. I wanted nothing more than to jump into the pages and relieve Meredith so she could rest. I adored her character because she never stopped fighting for her son. She was his biggest advocate.

This story was wonderful for many reasons, but I truly appreciate seeing these challenges through the different perspectives of the family. The author clearly depicted the emotional, physical, and mental struggles they each faced.

Author Bio

Melissa has seen the story of special needs from several angles. She has been a public school special education teacher, a private school educator, a cousin, and a parent. In her first book, Dance of Joy, readers get a glimpse into a family's life and concerns as they deal with autism through the characters of Jeff and Meredith. She hopes this book brings understanding to families with a child with autism and enlightenment to the grandparents, aunts and uncles, and friends.

Melissa has published articles in national magazines, was an editor and writer for a local magazine, and was an English teacher for 10 years.
She has two grown sons who were both home educated. She now divides her time between her sons and working at Grace Academy, an academy serving homeschooled students. She is a board member for a new nonprofit focused on bringing community and social opportunities to adults with disabilities. You can connect with this organization and their outreach at - or

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