Carry the Ocean (The Roosevelt #1) by Heidi Cullinan #mm #review @heidicullinan 1

Disclaimer MaleTAG Normal is just a setting on the dryer.

High school graduate Jeremey Samson is looking forward to burying his head under the covers and sleeping until it’s time to leave for college. Then a tornado named Emmet Washington enters his life. The double major in math and computer science is handsome, forward, wicked smart, interested in dating Jeremey—and he’s autistic.

But Jeremey doesn’t judge him for that. He’s too busy judging himself, as are his parents, who don’t believe in things like clinical depression. When his untreated illness reaches a critical breaking point, Emmet is the white knight who rescues him and brings him along as a roommate to The Roosevelt, a quirky new assisted living facility nearby.

As Jeremey finds his feet at The Roosevelt, Emmet slowly begins to believe he can be loved for the man he is behind the autism. But before he can trust enough to fall head over heels, he must trust his own conviction that friendship is a healing force, and love can overcome any obstacle.

Warning: Contains characters obsessed with trains and counting, positive representations of autism and mental illness, a very dark moment, and Elwood Blues.addtogoodreads_zps55cd15da14

I have enjoyed most of the Heidi Cullinan books I’ve read. I didn’t pick this book up the first time I saw it online but a couple weeks ago, I did. I started reading and, except for taking time off to sleep – don’t you hate it when that happens – I read it from start to end.

Cullinan has a wonderful way with writing characters. Both Emmet and Jeremey are perfectly themselves. The chapters are told from alternating points of view. First Emmet, then Jeremey, and so forth. I absolutely loved how she showed us two men who the ‘mean’ would think were wrong, but were perfectly right as they are.

Emmet Washington is autistic, and while that has its drawbacks, he has modifications to help him get by. He’s brilliant, but unfortunately society looks at him and calls him names — ‘freak’ or the ‘R-word’– because they can’t look past their own prejudices. And when I say Emmet’s brilliant, I’m not just talking in the IQ form of the word – though he is there, as well. I’m talking in the way he looks at the world. How he sees things, how he’s so wonderfully honestly him without prejudice. He also opened up my eyes to a few things about myself – and for that, I am forever grateful to the author and to Emmet.

Jeremey suffers from depression and anxiety at an extreme level. Unfortunately his parents just want him to be ‘normal’ and figure if they force him enough, that he will be.

I loved the way Emmet’s parents were supportive of him, while at the same time showing their own worries and fears. While we might not like Jeremey’s parents and the way they act, they are perfect personifications of what some parents – I might even suggest most parents – do. It’s from a base of fear that they or their child will get judged if they aren’t ‘normal’.

Another hit out of the park for Heidi Cullinan. I can hardly wait until this book hits audio format. I’ll snatch it up then too.

5 stars!

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