Regular followers of my humble blog know that I am a huge K. Webster fan. I’m well on my way to owning everything I possibly can. She has written one of the most beautiful love stories I’ve ever read in Whispers and the Roars and one of the most moving stories I’ve ever read in The Day She Cried. Well, she has now managed to rival herself in both categories with just one book, My Torin.
Before we get started, I just want to say that the feelz are complex with this one. When I finished reading it, I was happy, sad, triumphant, exultant, devastated, and everything in between. It gave me a book hangover. When you read this, start early because you aren’t going to want to put it down once you do start. I can’t be blamed if you stay up too late reading the book.
On Christmas, 1999, in a church, a man heard a child screaming. He got up to go to where he thought the screaming was coming from, but it turned out to be something other than what he expected. It was a tiny infant, wrapped in a ratty blanket, laid outside in a nativity scene, and covered in snow. He rescued the baby and brought her into the church where she was then taken into the system. Her name was Casey.
Almost 18 years later, little Cocaine Casey has grown up. She hates her life and can’t wait until she turns 18 and is able to get out of the system and is able to start her real life. She has to go to see a mental health professional who she delights in torturing. She picks up every penny she sees. One day, outside of her doctor’s office, she sees a beautiful penny, and goes to pick it up, but then a man beat her to it. He tried handing it to her, but she had to get into her foster father’s car. His name is Guy, but she calls him Dude just to annoy him. I love that. Funny as hell.
Torin and Tyler are brothers, their mother died years ago when they were both children, and their father died a few years ago. They have been Torin and Tyler vs. the World for a while now. Tyler, the older brother, has spent his life watching out for his Torin. Torin is 7 years younger than Tyler and is autistic. Now, before you jump to the Rainman place, let’s just get it clear right now that the movie and reality are two vastly different things. That is not a good, realistic, or healthy depiction of people who are autistic. However, K has spent the time to make sure that Torin is an accurate depiction of a person who is on the spectrum. K really does handle sensitive issues like this really well.
Anyhow, back to Torin and Tyler (OK, one more side note, I’m related to a couple named Tori and Tyler, so I’ve had to double check all the Torins to make sure I got that N in there. Enough side notes now, really.) Torin and Tyler live in a house with no windows and secret passages all over the place. Cool house. Tyler goes to Casey’s foster father and asks her to come live with them. Turns out that Torin was the one that picked up the penny and both brothers felt a connection to Casey. Torin actually paid attention to her, which was a change. Tyler thinks that having Casey with them is a good thing.
OK, here’s where we go our separate ways. True to any of K’s books, there are layers and layers and layers in there. More layers than you can shake a stick at. And possibly even more layers than the last 5 books I’ve read, combined, and those books had some layers in there too. It is a beautiful story, filled with some beautiful threads and some ugly threads, but you have to have the ugly to get the beautiful. The story is lush and amazing and I really can’t just describe how beautiful and sad and triumphant and happy and romantic and… You have to read it for yourself to get it. There is so much in this and I can’t even tell you about it because there are things that would get spoiled. There isn’t a whole lot of sex, because it’s not that kind of story. It is the kind of story where the focus is so much on the people and their relationship and connections. I mean, yeah, all stories should be like that, but they aren’t necessarily or not to the level that this one is. It’s a laser focus on all the main relationships and on how they are built. I love Corey, Torin, and Tyler so much. I want to stand next to their relationships and let them shine on me.
On a very much more personal note, my son is autistic. He is on the milder end of the spectrum, diagnosed as Aspergers. There are a lot of misconceptions about autism and about autistic people. It is obvious that K has done the work and spent the time on the research to make sure that she showed this population so well. And from one mom to a truly loved and sometimes very difficult son, thank you from the bottom of my heart for all that work and for the loving way in which Torin was written.
Ok, this is the spoiler section, as we all know, but I’m unsure as to what to say. Usually, I can come up with some things to talk about that aren’t spoilers, but all the important things for this are spoilers, really, in one way or another, so that really limits me.
But, I can say I love the connections that we eventually find out about. They are convoluted but in the best way. I didn’t guess them, which is even better. They make sense though, once you find them out and everything comes together.
I love the relationship between Casey and Tyler, but I have to say, I never was hoping that it went the way that Casey thought it might. I always wanted it to work out the way it did, well, minus one big thing, but you’ll see what I mean when you read it.
I think K did well showing some of the adaptations that some autistic people have to use so that they can communicate with the world better. For example, Casey finds an app that helps Torin communicate with her, and Torin is able to talk to Tyler through email because it’s easier for him. I know that these are both things that make the world easier for people who are autistic to communicate and interact with the world and other people.
OK, if you get the idea that I loved this book and will be recommending it all over the place, you are right. I do and I will. But we’ve reached the point where I have nothing more to say. We have interesting books coming up in the next few weeks, so stay tuned. Meanwhile, happy reading!