Eileen Garvin's sister Margaret was diagnosed with severe autism at age three. Growing up with Margaret wasn't easy; it could be awkward, hilarious, and heartbreaking - or all three at once. When she was young, losing a hairbrush could leave Margaret in a rage for hours. And in adulthood, formal occasions like weddings could provoke her to wild laughter or shouting. In her twenties, Eileen moved to New Mexico, 1,600 miles away from home. But years later, she returns to confront the question that has dogged her since birth: What is she going to do about Margaret? How to Be a Sister eloquently unfolds the story of Eileen's attempt to reconnect with Margaret: How can she have a relationship with someone who can't email, talk on the phone, or reciprocate in the ways we take for granted? What role will she play in Margaret's life as their parents age, and after they die? Will she find a place for Margaret in her life, or will she walk away? A deeply felt, impeccably written memoir, How to Be a Sister will speak to siblings, parents, friends, and teachers of people with autism - and to anyone struggling to connect with someone difficult or different.
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