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Rounding Home: A Memoir of Love, Betrayal, Heartbreak, and Hope with an Intimate Look into Raising a Child with Severe Autism

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In 1991, twenty-one-year-old Sarah, recently divorced mother to two-year-old Hayley, moved from the small dusty town of Farmington, New Mexico to the bustling city of Houston, Texas with dreams of a better life. A year later she was swept off her feet by Greg Swindell, a millionaire Major League Baseball player who just had signed a lucrative contract with the Houston Astr In 1991, twenty-one-year-old Sarah, recently divorced mother to two-year-old Hayley, moved from the small dusty town of Farmington, New Mexico to the bustling city of Houston, Texas with dreams of a better life. A year later she was swept off her feet by Greg Swindell, a millionaire Major League Baseball player who just had signed a lucrative contract with the Houston Astros and was becoming the talk of the city. Sarah was a young mother who never dreamed a guy like Greg would ever want a girl like her, but she could never have been more wrong. Greg loved Sarah the moment he saw her, and she felt the very same way. Six weeks after their first date, Greg asked Sarah to quit her job as a hairdresser and marry him during Spring Training in Florida, taking in Hayley as his very own. Throughout the next several years, Sarah's Cinderella story continued with the addition of three more children, a lifestyle only a few ever dreamed of living, and a love story even fewer ever experienced. The major league lifestyle afforded the Swindell's multimillion-dollar homes, fancy cars, and all the material things Sarah could ever want. The couple shared an unbreakable love, even in the fast-paced, flashy world of professional sports. That is until 2002 when this picture-perfect story came to a gut-wrenching halt, and Sarah was forced to deal with more pain than she ever thought possible. Dawson, their only son, was diagnosed with severe autism when he was just eighteen-months-old. As Sarah's world slowly crumbled beneath her, she was faced with choices that often resulted in devastating consequences. Sarah never dreamed how much her world would change so suddenly and without warning, leaving her feeling broken and ashamed almost to the point of no return.


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In 1991, twenty-one-year-old Sarah, recently divorced mother to two-year-old Hayley, moved from the small dusty town of Farmington, New Mexico to the bustling city of Houston, Texas with dreams of a better life. A year later she was swept off her feet by Greg Swindell, a millionaire Major League Baseball player who just had signed a lucrative contract with the Houston Astr In 1991, twenty-one-year-old Sarah, recently divorced mother to two-year-old Hayley, moved from the small dusty town of Farmington, New Mexico to the bustling city of Houston, Texas with dreams of a better life. A year later she was swept off her feet by Greg Swindell, a millionaire Major League Baseball player who just had signed a lucrative contract with the Houston Astros and was becoming the talk of the city. Sarah was a young mother who never dreamed a guy like Greg would ever want a girl like her, but she could never have been more wrong. Greg loved Sarah the moment he saw her, and she felt the very same way. Six weeks after their first date, Greg asked Sarah to quit her job as a hairdresser and marry him during Spring Training in Florida, taking in Hayley as his very own. Throughout the next several years, Sarah's Cinderella story continued with the addition of three more children, a lifestyle only a few ever dreamed of living, and a love story even fewer ever experienced. The major league lifestyle afforded the Swindell's multimillion-dollar homes, fancy cars, and all the material things Sarah could ever want. The couple shared an unbreakable love, even in the fast-paced, flashy world of professional sports. That is until 2002 when this picture-perfect story came to a gut-wrenching halt, and Sarah was forced to deal with more pain than she ever thought possible. Dawson, their only son, was diagnosed with severe autism when he was just eighteen-months-old. As Sarah's world slowly crumbled beneath her, she was faced with choices that often resulted in devastating consequences. Sarah never dreamed how much her world would change so suddenly and without warning, leaving her feeling broken and ashamed almost to the point of no return.

30 review for Rounding Home: A Memoir of Love, Betrayal, Heartbreak, and Hope with an Intimate Look into Raising a Child with Severe Autism

  1. 5 out of 5

    Val

    What a life Sarah Swindell has led! Reading of Sarah's self-destructive behavior, followed by her Cinderella story, followed by her life crashing down around her, made for such a rollercoaster ride of a book! Reading about Sarah and Greg's son, Dawson, was heartwrenching. It was inspiring, however, to read of their utter devotion to Dawson, and of Sarah's unrelenting search for anything that might make Dawson's life better. Rounding Home: A Memoir of Love, Betrayal, Heartbreak, and Hope with an I What a life Sarah Swindell has led! Reading of Sarah's self-destructive behavior, followed by her Cinderella story, followed by her life crashing down around her, made for such a rollercoaster ride of a book! Reading about Sarah and Greg's son, Dawson, was heartwrenching. It was inspiring, however, to read of their utter devotion to Dawson, and of Sarah's unrelenting search for anything that might make Dawson's life better. Rounding Home: A Memoir of Love, Betrayal, Heartbreak, and Hope with an Intimate Look into Raising a Child with Severe Autism is not just about Sarah and Greg's love story, or even just about Dawson, but about the rest of the family as well. Sarah's apologies and expressions of gratitude are sincere and heartfelt. I believe Sarah coped the best way she could, which is all any of us can do. I read where another reviewer wrote "At one point she called Greg by the name Zeke. I think we find out 80 or so pages later that this was her nickname for him but it was really confusing at that moment in time. At another point, she mentions hosting an open house and having a listing, but there was no mention of obtaining a real estate license or working as a Realtor until near the end of the book." I was confused by those same things. Also, Sarah used the adjective "tiny" a bit too often for my liking. I won this book in a giveaway and I'm grateful!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Leslie aka StoreyBook Reviews

    This book delves into the life of one family that has been tested, beaten down, endured, and triumphed. I wanted to read this book partially because of the title.  My sorority's national philanthropy deals with Autism and I have a stepson that is on the spectrum, and I'm always wondering how those that have children with severe Autism (or stage 4 as the author puts it) handle the constant emotional battle they face and when the child cannot do anything for themselves and are not able to communica This book delves into the life of one family that has been tested, beaten down, endured, and triumphed. I wanted to read this book partially because of the title.  My sorority's national philanthropy deals with Autism and I have a stepson that is on the spectrum, and I'm always wondering how those that have children with severe Autism (or stage 4 as the author puts it) handle the constant emotional battle they face and when the child cannot do anything for themselves and are not able to communicate their needs to others.  This book shares Sarah's struggles and triumphs dealing with her son, her multiple marriages, her daughters, and her one true love. The title is clever and Sarah reveals that she had this title chosen before she ever wrote the book.  Her story opens when she is at one of the lowest points in her life and then it flashes back to her childhood and moves forward from there.  Sarah had her own issues growing up and it is a pattern that repeated throughout the book - low self-esteem, wild abandonment, and sometimes destructive behavior.  When she meets Greg, her soulmate, life turns around for Sarah and we see another side that is we might frequently see in the press - the image of a spoiled athlete's wife with the high dollar clothing, bad attitudes from player's wives, and self-absorbed personalities.  But there is also love between Sarah and Greg and that bond is hard to break.  I think where it all turns around and the marriage starts to decline is after Dawson's Autism diagnosis.  It isn't surprising because caring for someone that is ill and trying to figure out what is wrong can take a toll on anyone or any relationship. I found the chapters that dealt with Dawson's disability the most intriguing.  I admired her dedication to finding out what was wrong with Dawson, what might have caused him to be autistic, and her pursuit of anything that would help him leave a semi-normal life.  My heart also hurt for several of her daughters and I admired how she included their struggles in the book and even asked them to write a few paragraphs for her to include.  I can't imagine having to cope with their struggles on top of everything else and it is understandable how she arrived at the point she did at the beginning of the book. This book is a raw look into Sarah's life.  No one can say if everything she did was right or wrong because we don't know what we would do if we were in her shoes.  Sarah coped the best way she knew how and looking back she realized what she did wrong which was mostly trying to find someone else to love instead of loving herself and making sure she was the best person she could be for herself and anyone else in her life. This is the first book from this author and there were a few things that would have eliminated some questions I had while reading.  At one point she called Greg by the name Zeke.  I think we find out 80 or so pages later that this was her nickname for him but it was really confusing at that moment in time.  At another point, she mentions hosting an open house and having a listing, but there was no mention of obtaining a real estate license or working as a Realtor until near the end of the book. Overall we give this book 4 paws up and commend the author for sharing her story with no filters.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Margaret

    This book seemed very cathartic for the author. I don't think I was the target audience. This book seemed very cathartic for the author. I don't think I was the target audience.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Csimplot Simplot

    Excellent book!!!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Holly Maxwell

    Beautifully written! It was such a vivid story I felt I was right there with her the entire time! I couldn’t put this book down! I am someone that usually reads fictional romance novels. And yet this was a true love story with lots of unexpected twists and turns! I picked up this book at a women’s conference after watching Sarah share part of her story up on stage! Thank you for the courage it took to write this book! It is a very powerful story of resilience and love! ❤️

  6. 5 out of 5

    Reader Views

    Reviewed by Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views (11/19) “Rounding Home: A Memoir of Love, Betrayal, Heartbreak, and Hope with an Intimate Look into Raising a Child with Severe Autism” is the touching story of Sarah Swindell and her family. Sarah is a commercial actress/model, mother of four (one with Severe Autism) and wife of former Major League Baseball player, Greg Swindell. Tender, authentic, no-holds-barred, “Rounding Home” takes readers through the whirlwind that is life with the Swindell’s. It is Reviewed by Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views (11/19) “Rounding Home: A Memoir of Love, Betrayal, Heartbreak, and Hope with an Intimate Look into Raising a Child with Severe Autism” is the touching story of Sarah Swindell and her family. Sarah is a commercial actress/model, mother of four (one with Severe Autism) and wife of former Major League Baseball player, Greg Swindell. Tender, authentic, no-holds-barred, “Rounding Home” takes readers through the whirlwind that is life with the Swindell’s. It is a story you will remember for a long while, an unflinching account that will leave an imprint on your heart and in your mind. When Sarah, a newly divorced mother of a toddler moves from a small town in New Mexico to the big city life in Houston, Texas, she has no way of knowing she will meet her great true love, but that’s exactly what happens. Suddenly, Sarah’s life takes on a fairy-tale-like quality. She marries MLB pitcher Greg Swindell, and the two of them build a family while balancing the demands of the baseball world. But the fairytale does not last long as their youngest child, Dawson, is diagnosed with Severe Autism at the age of eighteen months. The Swindell’s experience trials in all areas of their lives, any one of which has the capacity to destroy them for good. With betrayal, loss, heartbreak, grief, trauma, and helplessness, there is barely time to breathe, and certainly no time to process anything, because regardless of whatever else is going on, there is an innocent young boy whose needs cannot take a time-out. “Rounding Home” reveals the intimate journey of an entire family told through Sarah’s perspective and it is nothing short of remarkable. Just WOW. Sarah boldly reveals her entire life with complete openness, laying everything out on the table with vulnerability and courage. It is a well-constructed narrative that reads like a novel and I found myself tearing through page after page just to see what happens next. Merely glimpsing into the life of her family, an outsider will never really know what Sarah and her family have been through unless they’ve filled similar shoes, but Sarah does a brilliant job of relaying the right amount of description and feelings, enlightening the reader and giving them space to hold compassion and empathy for everything the Swindell’s experience. I come away from the reading feeling like I know the entire family. What I love most about Sarah is her willingness to show the reader ALL of her. Her ups and downs, her insecurities and her strengths, her decisions, whether good, bad, or questionable. I will say that Sarah is extremely hard on herself, often apologetic during the telling. For instance, she apologizes for being able to afford help around the house. Don’t apologize, girl – it’s part of your story! Dawson’s story is heartbreaking, and readers may wonder how Sarah survived it all. But parents know – it’s just what you do. And, while I’ve never gone through anything close to what Sarah has been through with Dawson, I am a mother and have those same “mama-bear vibes.” The vibes that give you superhuman will and determination to protect your babies, no matter the cost. There are many experiences throughout the book that a wide audience will relate to, it’s not just about Dawson and his Autism, but the rest of the family as well. The unintended outcomes of how a child with special needs affects the entire family is well demonstrated and thoughtfully articulated. Throughout the story a sense of hope, love, and commitment radiate and hold strong, and these are the ingredients that provide inspiration to others. I highly recommend “Rounding Home: A Memoir of Love, Betrayal, Heartbreak, and Hope with an Intimate Look into Raising a Child with Severe Autism” by Sarah Swindell to all parents, lovers, friends and family. It’s a truly noteworthy story.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Rosalyn Rosen

    As a former therapist, I know the courage it takes, even in a room alone with a therapist, for a person to reveal their most terrifying secrets, the ones that they are certain will bring harsh judgement. Sarah Swindell not only does that with candor, but does it with regret and humility. She has this ability to take total responsibly for her mistakes, yet has compassion for herself, which is essential. It is critical that a person can reflect on their younger self with that kind of objectivity f As a former therapist, I know the courage it takes, even in a room alone with a therapist, for a person to reveal their most terrifying secrets, the ones that they are certain will bring harsh judgement. Sarah Swindell not only does that with candor, but does it with regret and humility. She has this ability to take total responsibly for her mistakes, yet has compassion for herself, which is essential. It is critical that a person can reflect on their younger self with that kind of objectivity for growth. My PhD was also in Exceptional Children and I worked at Nisonger Center in Columbus, Ohio, with what Sarah calls Stage 4 autistic toddlers. In her book she presents an unvarnished look into what it is like to raise a severely autistic child, who is now a 6’3” adult! Kudos, Sarah Swindell. Brava!!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Valerie Cantella

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I read this whole book in one evening. I started out really liking it, but then felt there wasn’t enough depth in her writing about her feelings and experience of parenting a special needs child. And maybe with the help she had along the way with her parents and nanny and daughters, she wasn’t living in hell, but I found it somewhat hard to relate to as the parent of a special needs child myself. But I’m thrilled she got the happy ending in her love life that she’d hoped for and wish for the bes I read this whole book in one evening. I started out really liking it, but then felt there wasn’t enough depth in her writing about her feelings and experience of parenting a special needs child. And maybe with the help she had along the way with her parents and nanny and daughters, she wasn’t living in hell, but I found it somewhat hard to relate to as the parent of a special needs child myself. But I’m thrilled she got the happy ending in her love life that she’d hoped for and wish for the best for her family.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Cat Sansbury

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I could not put this book down. It is a heartfelt memoir about Sarah Swindell and her family’s rollercoaster life that is beautiful, authentic, raw, brave, gut wrenchingly sad and incredibly cathartic. It is a love story that involves raising her four children - 3 daughters and a son who is also severely autistic. It made me cry, laugh and find joy in the triumph of love while overcoming and coping with extraordinary family challenges. Five stars indeed.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Patty

    Beautiful and honest. And I love a happy ending!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kenzee

    *I won this book in a GoodReads Giveaway* 2.5 stars I'm not really sure how I feel about this book. At certain points, I did feel engrossed in the story and at other points, I honestly couldn't stand it. The vaccines cause autism statements were really frustrating as that has been disproven multiple times by multiple researchers. I just can't with that. Then there was the constant, "I realize other people had it worse" lines that were in almost every chapter (that's an exaggeration, but not much of *I won this book in a GoodReads Giveaway* 2.5 stars I'm not really sure how I feel about this book. At certain points, I did feel engrossed in the story and at other points, I honestly couldn't stand it. The vaccines cause autism statements were really frustrating as that has been disproven multiple times by multiple researchers. I just can't with that. Then there was the constant, "I realize other people had it worse" lines that were in almost every chapter (that's an exaggeration, but not much of one) and the parts about how much she loved her housekeeper and that she was family. All that felt more like placating "Karen" moments than genuine feelings she had. If you can get past that, she certainly had a wild life. Book worthy? Debatable. Still there were some moving moments. Her treatment in high school was heartbreaking and the intro certainly attention grabbing. And I'm still wondering if she ever went to therapy. Mostly I feel like I'm the not target audience for this despite being a white woman in her 30s. I can think of a handful of people who'd enjoy this though.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Donna

    I won this book in one of the Goodreads giveaways. I found that my opinion of the book kept changing. At one point I felt really caught up with the author's story. Then I found myself turning around thinking she felt awfully sorry for herself considering she had the wealth to hire so much help for her disabled son and to distract herself from life's miseries by buying new houses seemingly dozens of times. Poor little rich girl. Then I decided to stop judging. Pain and anguish over her autistic s I won this book in one of the Goodreads giveaways. I found that my opinion of the book kept changing. At one point I felt really caught up with the author's story. Then I found myself turning around thinking she felt awfully sorry for herself considering she had the wealth to hire so much help for her disabled son and to distract herself from life's miseries by buying new houses seemingly dozens of times. Poor little rich girl. Then I decided to stop judging. Pain and anguish over her autistic son and cheating husband transcends the money issue. Being well off doesn't solve your problems or take away heartache. It's not a bad read, fairly quick to go through. Overall, I am glad that she is in a happier place now.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Sandi Rae

    Read it twice. It hit me in so many ways. I so related to suffereing form depression and going through a divorce. Because i work with children and young adults with autism, the book spoke to me in that arena as well. Touching life story with vulnerability and authenticity. Thank you Sarah for sharing your story with us!!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Stacy

    No very well written. I won this book thru a Goodreads giveaway.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kathy Webb

    I won this Kindle edition book in a Goodreads Giveaway. Thank you to everyone involved. A very heartfelt memoir

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sharon

    I found this book so very interesting and compelling. I could’ve read pages and pages more about this author and her life. Her story was just fascinating and held my interest the entire time. If she ever writes another book, I’m in!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Ruthie Jones

    "If you ever see someone who you think may be in a bad place or going through difficult personal times, reach out to them often." Rounding Home is Sarah Swindell's emotive memoir about her life as the wife of a baseball star (Greg Swindell), mother of three daughters, and mother of a son diagnosed with autism at the tender age of eighteen months. Sarah's story is exhausting to read but also encouraging and uplifting. No one is without flaws or has the perfect life, marriage, home, and career, and "If you ever see someone who you think may be in a bad place or going through difficult personal times, reach out to them often." Rounding Home is Sarah Swindell's emotive memoir about her life as the wife of a baseball star (Greg Swindell), mother of three daughters, and mother of a son diagnosed with autism at the tender age of eighteen months. Sarah's story is exhausting to read but also encouraging and uplifting. No one is without flaws or has the perfect life, marriage, home, and career, and Sarah Swindell will no doubt be the first to agree with that statement. This memoir is a frank and extremely organic conversation between the author and the reader. The reader can empathize and maybe even sympathize with Sarah's trials, mistakes, and heartbreaks as well as her joy and laughter when the clouds occasionally part and show her that the sun still shines. Rounding Home is a cathartic narration of a woman baring her soul and heart so that others who are struggling, either with similar issues of caring for a disabled child and weathering a broken marriage or something else entirely, can grasp the fingers of love and hope that Sarah Swindell holds out and know that they are not alone. A huge takeaway of Rounding Home (for me, at least) is the importance of finding and reaching out to those friends and family who freely support you through everything, even the wrong choices and the stubborn refusal to heed their good advice. Sarah acknowledges so many people throughout her story that have shown her and her family unconditional love, guidance, a soft shoulder to cry on, and a safe place to land when the world simply becomes too much. Rounding Home is also a story about choices and handling crushing blows that life often deals indiscriminately. No one can avoid bad news, but how we live through those storms is what ultimately shapes us. Sarah shows us that no fairy tale life filled money, fame, and the perfect family is complete without the big bad wolf eventually crashing the party. In this case, that wolf bares its teeth when Sarah and Greg Swindell's son, Dawson, is diagnosed with severe autism, complete with the prognosis of their son remaining nonverbal and dependent on others for the rest of his life. This news sent the entire family into a tailspin that took years for everyone to find some measure of control again, and no one escaped those years unscathed. Those dark years were full of tears, betrayal, bad decisions, and long-lasting effects. But through it all, Dawson has been lovingly cared for and the grounding force in both Sarah's and Greg's lives and the lives of their three daughters. Their sweet love for Dawson remains clear and unwavering throughout the story, into the epilogue, and no doubt each day after. An interesting aspect of this extraordinary memoir is that while Sarah often owns up to her mistakes and poor choices throughout those rough years (including several marriages and divorces), she doesn't necessarily try to sugarcoat her part in cracking the fairy tale or try to dodge the blame and dole out possible excuses for her behavior and broken promises to each subsequent husband and stepchildren. She readily admits others, including her first husband, Greg, share in the responsibility of injured relationships and misguided decisions, but she also readily shoulders her own blame in hurting the people she holds most dear. Both the apologies and the expressions of gratitude to so many come across as sincere and heartfelt. While Rounding Home can be emotionally difficult to read, Sarah Swindell's sense of humor does shine through occasionally, offering a bit of comic relief and honest laughter amidst the heartbreak. Many memoirs are often full of dramatic confessions and revelations, and Rounding Home is definitely that and more. Sarah is a natural storyteller and is funny, honest, and refreshingly unfiltered in her narration. Her story will touch your heart, remind you that love always finds its way home, and cause you to count your blessings, one by one.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    More than anything else, I think Rounding Home is a story about the power of love. I did not say this is a “love story” - that would bring with it a whole bunch of preconceptions. Nor did I say the power of love is always a good thing. This story brings home the determination that can result from a mother’s love for her children. This story also shows that a destined love never fully goes away. It shows that a destined love can be rekindled by the silliest of things - like maybe a leaf blower, fo More than anything else, I think Rounding Home is a story about the power of love. I did not say this is a “love story” - that would bring with it a whole bunch of preconceptions. Nor did I say the power of love is always a good thing. This story brings home the determination that can result from a mother’s love for her children. This story also shows that a destined love never fully goes away. It shows that a destined love can be rekindled by the silliest of things - like maybe a leaf blower, for example. I take my hat off to Sarah Swindell for sharing this story - her story - with the world. I know she had to dig pretty deep and get pretty personal for the story to have the impact that it does. The Storytelling of Rounding Home This book is a memoir, which means it’s pretty much a true story - it really happened. I’m sure some of the names were changed to protect the innocent (or the guilty), but the characters represent actual people. I don’t know if the author just happens to have cool family and friends or if it’s just the way she wrote about them, but they all seem interesting and unique. They all have quirks, just like the characters we find in fiction. What really drew me into this story was the way she told it. I felt like I was just sitting somewhere with the author - like a coffee shop - and she was just telling me her life’s story. It was very personal to me. The author included an epilogue, and I’m very glad she did. The story ends shortly after the climax, but the epilogue contains the highlights of what happened to the characters after the story ended. To me, it brought about a better sense of closure. Another thing I’d like to mention is that the author included included several paragraphs that were written by each of her daughters. This gave a great POV change, and it also provided insight to how these young women felt about some of the events in the story. I much enjoyed that. Autism A large portion of the story is about the author’s autistic son. Actually, I believe this was the driving force behind writing the story and putting it out there for the world to read. I’ve seen some fictional autistic characters, and I’m sure I’ve seen some real autistic people during my life, such as in the grocery store, walking in the park, etc. However, this story was a real eye-opener to me. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s really like to live with an autistic person, you should read this story. The author makes it very interesting, and she goes into pretty good detail. This is not to say that all autistic people are like her son, but there probably are some that are similar. Reading about this person’s struggle with autism also gave me more blessings to be thankful for in my own life. Technically Speaking I read an advance copy of this book, so I will not comment on any SPAG issues, as they would likely be corrected prior to publication. The story has a good pace to it. It’s not fast, but it never goes away. I liked that. There is definitely a climax to the story (if you want to know what it is, you’ll have to read it yourself), and as I said before, I much appreciated the epilogue. This book is the result of a lot of hard work by someone who wanted her story to be heard. If you read the book, you’ll come away knowing that her reason for publishing was to reach out to people in similar circumstances, as well as people who suffer with depression, and show them that empathy, hope and joy can still exist in their lives. I wish Sarah Swindell and her lovely family many blessings. Thank you, Sarah, for letting us read your story!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Lorilei Gonzales

    Some of my all-time favorite movies are baseball movies, so I was immediately drawn to the cover art of Rounding Home. I was intrigued by the ghostly image paired with a baseball phrase that normally stirs up feelings of excitement since the base runner is about to score by crossing home plate. The muted colors of the baseball field and the washed out colors of the author, Sarah, standing barefooted with a bottle of wine at her feet is somber and beautiful at the same time. The only thing I didn’ Some of my all-time favorite movies are baseball movies, so I was immediately drawn to the cover art of Rounding Home. I was intrigued by the ghostly image paired with a baseball phrase that normally stirs up feelings of excitement since the base runner is about to score by crossing home plate. The muted colors of the baseball field and the washed out colors of the author, Sarah, standing barefooted with a bottle of wine at her feet is somber and beautiful at the same time. The only thing I didn’t read in this book is the testimonials page at the very front. I didn’t want my review influenced by anyone else. I have quasi-photographic memory, so that’s a very real hurdle for me when reviewing books. I’m a big fan of the disclaimer about this book being a memoir; the imperfections of human memory and perception that might cause a slight distortion of actual events. I also love the hotline numbers listed below. Upon reading the Foreword, I already knew that I would experience a lot of different feelings from reading this memoir. Motherhood is a very different journey for every woman but we experience many of the same destinations or perhaps choose a slightly different route by our interpretations of life’s map. The Acknowledgements page confused me because it sounded like she was married to one man but was madly in love with another. Once you finish the book, you might come to the conclusion that she sort of was. Sarah’s voice is very clear and her thoughts are organized, even though her life’s events seemed anything but. She mentions in the Foreword that she asked her editors to tread lightly in order to preserve her natural voice, which I think they did very well, but the proofreading could have been a little tighter. But to be fair, I think only a page or two slipped past the editorial team. The typesetting and formatting of the pages are executed nicely but the design of the jacket feels distinctly self-published. To say that Sarah Swindell has lived a very interesting life would be a humongous understatement. She lays herself bare; apologetic to those around her who were hurt by her decisions, but unflinching when critiquing her own bad decisions or flaws in retrospect. I found her to be a delightful cocktail of stereotypes validated and realized mixed with beating the odds. Let me explain. She perpetuates that tragic cycle of a woman that can’t be without a man when she gets married and divorced over and over again. But her own daughters are able to break the cycle of girls who are the product of teen pregnancy or divorce: they often get pregnant early or divorced themselves. Her own children struggled with many issues due to the instability of moving around and Sarah’s marriage/divorce cycle, but it looks like they learned from her mistakes and applied the lessons to their own lives. The story of her son’s challenges with autism could be a book on its own, but I can see how integral it has been to her life’s story and the journey of her family as a whole. I must confess that I had to adjust my judgy pants when she points the blame to vaccinations. But to her credit, she came to this conclusion eons before Jenny McCarthy’s anti-vaccine propaganda. Either way, this memoir is a great read for mothers, especially those who have children with autism. I found this book to be uplifting and inspirational.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Tricia Richards

    An honest look at raising an autistic child. How the diagnosis changed everything for this family, that fell apart and then found their way back together again. It’s a dramatic story that will pierce your heart and make you cry. Compelling and relatable in every way. The author shows great determination and grit in owning up to her failures, what she did wrong, what she did right, what she learned, and how she pressed forward for the love of her family. The author shares the intimate details of An honest look at raising an autistic child. How the diagnosis changed everything for this family, that fell apart and then found their way back together again. It’s a dramatic story that will pierce your heart and make you cry. Compelling and relatable in every way. The author shows great determination and grit in owning up to her failures, what she did wrong, what she did right, what she learned, and how she pressed forward for the love of her family. The author shares the intimate details of a fairy tale love story that shatters with the autism diagnosis of their fifth child. How all members of the family were affected and how it lead to betrayal, depression, eating disorder, suicidal thoughts, despair and divorce. She holds nothing back in her story; and you soon find yourself cheering for her as you feel the real pain and despair of her struggles. Throughout the pain and despair she never stops advocating for her son and fighting for her family. She ultimately succeeds in re-gaining the love of her life and bringing healing and happiness to her family. She is a modern day heroine with a modern day story; however this story is true. Highly recommend the Audible version of the book that is read by the Author herself, where you hear and feel the story in a more intimate way.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kayo

    Wow what a story. Intrigued about author and the autism aspect of the story. It was so much more. I enjoyed the book immensely. I also married young, divorced after many many years, and then remarried my husband. It's better the 2nd time! Lovely book. Author has been thru the mill and back. This book is a must-read. Thanks to Goodreads for the giveaway. While I got the book for free,it had no bearing on the rating I gave it. Wow what a story. Intrigued about author and the autism aspect of the story. It was so much more. I enjoyed the book immensely. I also married young, divorced after many many years, and then remarried my husband. It's better the 2nd time! Lovely book. Author has been thru the mill and back. This book is a must-read. Thanks to Goodreads for the giveaway. While I got the book for free,it had no bearing on the rating I gave it.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sherry Olson

    I love this book. Sarah is a great storyteller. She was brutally honest and funny at the same time. Her story is filled with hope and joy and sadness. But more than anything it is a story of "love". Love for her family and friends. This is a story I will want to read again when I need to be reminded about of the resilience of the human spirit. Well done Sarah. Sherry Olson Naples Florida I love this book. Sarah is a great storyteller. She was brutally honest and funny at the same time. Her story is filled with hope and joy and sadness. But more than anything it is a story of "love". Love for her family and friends. This is a story I will want to read again when I need to be reminded about of the resilience of the human spirit. Well done Sarah. Sherry Olson Naples Florida

  23. 5 out of 5

    Anya Herron

    This story was well written. I knew some of the story about the swindell family. I am happy that Greg and Sarah are back together and they have a beautiful family. I know some of the feeling about suicide. I am glad her daughter came through ok. My brother not so much. About over 20 years ago my brother committed suicide and he never showed signs.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    Rounding Home is full of self-reflection and raw honesty. Author Sarah Swindell took life's tough, very painful times and emerged from the darkness as a better person. Bitterness was not in the equation. She can be an inspiration to many. Thank you to Goodreads First Reads. Rounding Home is full of self-reflection and raw honesty. Author Sarah Swindell took life's tough, very painful times and emerged from the darkness as a better person. Bitterness was not in the equation. She can be an inspiration to many. Thank you to Goodreads First Reads.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Lone Star Literary Life

    Featured on Lone Star Book Blog Tours. Lone Star Blogger Team average rating: 4.8 Stars.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Vizcaino

  28. 5 out of 5

    Mary Kate

  29. 4 out of 5

    Courtney Perkins

  30. 5 out of 5

    Pamela Reichardt

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