This year I’ve challenged myself to read fifty books. This is no easy task for a slow reader, especially since so many other things distract me. Through this blog, I’ll share the books I’m reading and keep myself on track. Please feel free to offer suggestions of books you’ve enjoyed!

Product DetailsBook No: 19

My Name is Cynthia: I’m More Than Special Needs


Sally Birch


This “memoir” of a woman with developmental disabilities is written by her mother, Sally Birch, but as if Cynthia herself is the narrator. We follow Cynthia from birth, to discovery of her difficulty, through childhood, adulthood, various living arrangements, and hospitalizations over a span of fifty-five years.

The language is simple and direct and at first, I was a bit distracted by the childlike voice employing words and describing situations which a child would not know or understand. But overall, I liked the narrative technique because it focused on Cynthia’s feelings and provides a perspective we don’t often hear.

Cynthia is delightful as a child and basks in the love of her family. She’s friendly and plucky but often frustrated with difficulty expressing her needs. Her mother is a strong advocate and really listens to what Cynthia is trying to convey.

The book gives a good overview of the problems a person with developmental disabilities and psychotic disorders must face. It also reveals the many happy moments Cynthia experiences in her life. Her affection for and from family is evident.

Sally Birch does a good job of describing Cynthia’s challenges, the effects of medication, her periodic descents into psychosis, and her quest to be treated as “normal.”

My Name is Cynthia is an enlightening and touching story.


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