Sometimes a challenge can be an inspiration.
Abeel's charged autobiography about growing up both learning-disabled and gifted. Offering an intimate documentary, the author analyzes each stage of her life from an adult perspective, periodically recreating significant moments in her development—and using adult language to do so: "There was no truer feeling of joy or of all-consuming passion than when I had an opportunity to use my imagination in creative play." She examines her painful childhood, when she felt isolated from her peers and was fraught with anxieties about her inability to measure time and distance ("I feel so far away from everyone, removed, alone in my ignorance. I am terrified there is something really wrong with me," Abeel writes of sitting through a fourth grade math class). The author evokes the rush of relief she felt when, at age 13, she was finally diagnosed with dyscalculia. She recounts the encouragement she received to develop her talent as a writer, and traces her growing fame after her first book, Reach for the Moon , was published at age 15. Despite her triumphs, however, Abeel frankly admits that some obstacles in her path will never go away. Her memoir, expressing both her talents and her intense frustration at not being able to perform everyday tasks like telling time and making change, conjures a haunting, intriguing portrait of a lonely outsider using creative outlets to earn acceptance from herself and others. Ages 12-up.