Book Review: THE OTHER SIDE OF SPECIAL by Brown, Clime, and Holt

THE OTHER SIDE OF SPECIAL: Navigating the Messy, Emotional, Joy-Filled Life of a Special Needs Mom

By: Amy J. Brown, Sara Clime, and Carrie M. Holt

This may not be a typical book that I would review here because it is NOT about TCKs. (But don’t stop reading. Read the next few sentences before you decide this book isn’t for you or someone you know.)

But it is on another topic that you know is near and dear to my heart. Plus, you may know someone in your life or community that needs this book. So, here’s my review. 

The title is a little misleading as it says it for the “Special Needs Mom”. It’s not really just for them, I would include the dads, the grandparents, the older siblings and then anyone that works or cares for families that fit this description.  

The chapter titles are simply the best. Here’s a little snippet:  

  • Loneliness to Connection 
  • Grief to Hope 
  • Guilt to Acceptance 
  • Weariness to Rest 
  • Fear to Trust 
  • Disappointment to Gratitude 

Aren’t they just great titles? The other ones are just as great, too. The authors tell you in the intro that you do not have to read the book in a specific order. In fact, if you are feeling guilty, then just read that chapter. Each chapter is fairly short, so it really doesn’t take up that much time either. 

It is a Christian book, but it is not preachy. In fact, it feels like you are sitting with the three authors having a cup of coffee while they tell you that they understand what you are feeling. They share their own stories of how they felt guilty and came to a place of acceptance (or whatever the chapter is on).  

Living overseas with families like mine is hard. For one, there are not that many, so the road can be lonely. Though people care, few understand how hard it really can be. I’m not saying that all days are hard – unless it’s just a season of hard and then it can be days of hard. What I am saying is that this book feels like a friend. The authors have put words to the aches and joys I have felt over the past several years. 

And while that is all good, I think the most helpful part of the book is that at the end of every chapter they have given space to process. There are 3-5 questions that make you slow down. To stop and mentally take in what you read and apply it to your own life.