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Reviewed by Christian Sia for Readers' Favorite
A Quiet Wisdom by Peggy Connolly is a short, compelling story of motherhood and the relationship between the author and her autistic daughter, a book that is packed with love and wisdom and what it takes to find beauty in the unusual and unexpected circumstances that life throws at us. In this memoir, Peggy Connolly shares her journey with her intellectually and developmentally disabled daughter, Jennifer, allowing readers to feel her frustration and pain when finding her daughter Jennifer is different from everything she expected her to be. The reader follows Peggy's story from the moment of pain and discovery that Jenny was unique, to acceptance, and finally to the healing that allowed her to appreciate her child's inner beauty.
The writing is beautiful and insightful and the author draws on Japanese traditional wisdom to illustrate her journey towards finding meaning. It is interesting how a child with a disability can deepen the worldview of the mother, allowing her to unlock her own unique beauty. There are wonderful passages in this memoir that forced me to stop and savor their beauty and rethink the lost opportunities I have experienced when I failed to look at the unique in people who were different. The metaphor of the crayons in a box is arresting and it opens this story: “Just because you don’t look like the other crayons in the box does not mean you still can’t make the most beautiful pictures!” The essence of this book is summarized in the author's words, capturing the sense that Jennifer brought to her life: “My journey and my daughter, Jennifer’s, journey very deliberately intersected. She has, in a big way, assisted me to evolve. And maybe that’s the contract our souls had made.” A Quiet Wisdom by Peggy Connolly is a powerful testament of love and a story with a strong message for everyone.