A Wild Ride Up the Cupboards

A Novel

A Wild Ride Up the Cupboards

Edward is nearly four years old when he begins his slow, painful withdrawal from the world. For those who love him -- his father, Jack; his pregnant mother, Rachel; his younger brother, Matt -- the transformation of this happy, intelligent firstborn into a sleepless, feral stranger is a devastating blow, one that will send shockwaves through every nook and cranny of family life.

A Wild Ride Up the Cupboards is the story of Edward's descent into autism, and Rachel and Jack's struggle to sustain their marriage under this unanticipated strain. Threaded through the novel, too, is the tale of Rachel's late uncle Mickey, who may have suffered from a similar disorder during a time when society's notions of parenting, pediatrics, and psychology were dramatically different from today's. As Rachel delves into her own family history in search of answers, flashbacks to Mickey's life afford moving insights into both the nature of childhood trauma and the coping mechanisms that families employ. Carefully crafted and deeply entertaining, A Wild Ride Up the Cupboards reveals the author's remarkable gift for language and offers a striking exploration of domestic life that will resonate with readers everywhere.
This Edition:
9780743269506 Trade Paperback $18.99 Scribner July 04, 2006
Other US Editions:
9780743274791 eBook $0.99 Scribner September 06, 2005
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Reading Group Guide

Wild Ride Up the Cupboards: Reading Group Guide
1) Bauer shows us two families, past and present, dealing with kids who don't fit the norm. Discuss how these two families cope, comparing their parenting styles and attitudes. How much is personality and how much is a reflection of the times? How are Mickey and Edward alike? different? What are the similarities and/or differences between Rachel and Jack's marriage and that of Mary and Ted? How were attitudes toward disabilities different in the 1940s, 50s, 60s?
2) What benefit does the reader get from reading the Mickey and Edward stories side by side? Does the reading of one influence your interpretation of or reaction to the other? Edward's story is told in the first person, through Rachel's perspective. Mickey's story is told in the third person, through Mickey's perspective. Why do you think the author decided to narrate the different stories in this way? Does it influence the way that you read them?
3) How much of a role do you think religion played in the strengths or weaknesses of the Donnelly family? In what ways?
4) What does Rachel learn about her son through her exploration of her family's history? Do you think it is helpful to her? Does she learn anything about herself?
5) What kind of mother is Rachel? Is she trying to "change" Edward, or "help" him? Is there a difference? Does intervening to the degree she does mean that she loves him less or more? How is Jack as a father?
6) R see more

About the Author

Ann Bauer
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Ann Bauer

Ann Bauer is an essayist, journalist, and fiction writer whose work has appeared in The Atlantic Monthly and Salon.com, among other publications. Currently a visiting professor at Macalester College, she lives with her three children in Minneapolis. Please visit her website, www.annbauer.com.

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