Loving Lindsey by Linda Atwell

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A Book Review of Loving Lindsey: Raising a Daughter with Special Needs by Linda Atwell

Loving Lindsey by Linda Atwell - a book reviewStars: *****

She Writes Press (2017)

Summary: Linda Atwell and her strong-willed daughter, Lindsey―a high-functioning young adult with intellectual disabilities―have always had a complicated relationship. But when Lindsey graduates from Silverton High School at nineteen and gets a job at Goodwill, she also moves into a newly remodeled cottage in her parents’ backyard―and Linda believes that all their difficult times may finally be behind them.
Life, however, proves not to be so simple. As Lindsey plunges into adulthood, she experiments with sex, considers a tubal ligation, and at twenty quits Goodwill and runs away with Emmett, a man more than twice her age. As Lindsey grows closer to Emmett, she slips further away from her family―but Linda, determined to save her daughter, refuses to give up. A touching memoir with unexpected moments of joy and humor, Loving Lindsey is a story about independence, rescue, resilience, and, most of all, love. – from Amazon.com

I received an Advanced Reading Copy of this book for review. This post contains affiliate links.

Loving Lindsey: Raising a Daughter with Special Needs

This story is different from many other memoirs about raising special needs children in that the story takes place mostly when the child is an adult. The author talks about times when her daughter was younger throughout the book to make comparisons or explain something further but it’s not a sequential story of childbirth to adult like some memoirs might be.

In many ways this made it more interesting as many books share the struggles of raising a special needs baby or child but you don’t hear too much about special needs adults. Special needs adults raise all kinds of different struggles.

Lindsey is high functioning with her needs and at times during the book lives on her own and holds down a job. However in other ways she needs supervision and guidance and she goes through areas in her life where she makes poor decisions. She is diagnosed with a mild learning disability and has constant tremors.

A Scary Relationship

A large part of the book focuses on her relationship with a much older man named Emmett. Throughout that part of the story especially my heart hurt for Linda (the author) just thinking about what she was going through. The summary on the book just mentions growing closer to Emmett and slipping away from her family but I was not prepared for how in depth the relationship went and how long it spanned.

I kept thinking what if this were my daughter, I don’t know how I’d cope. Linda and her husband John were very strong to go through this time in Lindsey’s life.

Couldn’t Put it Down

It’s rare for a memoir to be a book I just can’t put down but this was one of them. It did take me a few days to read it but only because I have 4 kids at home and lots of housework. If I lived alone I’d have finished it in one day.

It was refreshing to read about what living with a special needs adult is like. I have a friend with a special needs adult although he will likely never live alone or hold down a job.


You can tell this book was written honestly. Linda is not afraid to show where she made a decision that didn’t turn out well or felt a negative feeling. This is the mark of a good memoir. No one wants to read about someone’s perfect life and how they perfectly dealt with things. It’s not real. This memoir IS real.

She is also a good writer in general because I found myself feeling what she was feeling right along side her as I read. I was pained when she was pained, happy when she was happy, proud when she was proud and weepy when she was weepy.

I highly recommend this book especially if you have a special needs child or are interested in what it’s like to have an adult special needs child.

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About Kathleen

I've been a nonfiction lover for as long as I can remember. I love children's nonfiction as well and love to share my knowledge and the books I gained them from, with the world. I wish more people would give nonfiction a chance.