As an autistic mother to an autistic child, a poet, and an environmental advocate, this book will be important to me for a long time. It moved me to tears. I laughed. And I was ravenously hooked in after a few chapters while whole-heartedly rooting for March and his family.
March is such a strong, determined, passionate young man. I really appreciated reading a story about an autistic protagonist who has depth, nuance, insight, intelligence, and dynamism. He was not dehumanized or belittled. I sensed authentic compassion between the lines of this book that never struck me as misplaced pity and instead struck me more as an attempt at genuine acceptance. The significant characters wanted to see March be his truest self while balancing the need to navigate with March the sometimes harsh realities of the neurotypical world to help March in achieving his own goals.
March and his family were easy to love and also imperfect people who had their own growing yet to do. I enjoyed learning more about the Pacific Northwest and our ecosystem, especially with March as my teacher and guide. I am grateful to have connected to an autistic protagonist whose impairments were significant, whose gifts were hard for him to share, and whose flapping and stimming were an ever present part of how he moved in time and space. Too many people do not yet know how very much autistic people have to offer the world. How excellent if this book chips away at that unfortunate ignorance. Diversity is key with forests and with human kind.
I hope one day to give this book to my son so that it might encourage him to follow his passions brazenly and so that it might serve as an emblem that growth is a constant and life is full of cycles.