Book Review: Grace Under Pressure

Grace Under Pressure: Going the distance as an Asperger's Mum

When Sophie Walker’s daughter Grace was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, her world unravelled. Her high-powered job was in disarray, she couldn’t sleep, often woke in tears and felt hopeless and useless in her role as a mother.

One day she realised she hadn’t done any exercise for months – neglecting her physical health as well as her mental wellbeing. Previously a keen runner, she set herself the challenge of running the London Marathon to raise awareness of Asperger Syndrome and make herself physically strong enough to support her daughter.

A blog now transformed into a book, Grace Under Pressure is a moving story that charts the highs and lows of raising a child with Asperger Syndrome and the physical challenge of training for a long-distance running event.

Grace Under Pressure‘ was ordered in advance by me from the library. I think I first read about Sophie and Grace in a magazine article (god knows where) and I knew then that I had to get hold of the book. Luckily, my library had a copy on order so I put my name down straight away.

And I don’t regret it! I read a lot of mummy memoirs (trying to sedate my broody side!) but the way Sophie talks about her relationship with Grace just pulls on my heart strings. She describes the frustration she sometimes experiences with Grace, and how she differs from her younger daughter. 

The thing that overpowers the book is the strength yet vulnerability exhibited by Sophie. As humans we tend to like to moan about the bad points of life, but Grace helps to put everything in perspective; every day she has a struggle to fit in, to understand homework instructions, to make friends. Things we do not consider, but are pivotal moments in Grace’s life. 

As a result of the struggles Sophie has to get the things Grace needs, such as educational funding, she starts to run. Through running we experience the struggles Sophie feels. When you feel like staying in bed all day and forgetting the world, but you should really be running. 

There are some truly magical moments in this book. When Sophie is in tears about a new spat of bullying or hardship Grace faces, and Grace turns to her and says that everything will be okay. I’m not usually one to cry and books, but the ending made me overwhelmed with emotion. 

This is the kind of book that makes you sit back and realise how easy our lives really are, and what we take for granted. Inspiring does not begin to cover it. Many thanks go to Sophie Walker for writing Grace’s story, and for the magazine article that made me discover this wonderful relationship they have. 

Letterbox Love #4

Letterbox Love is a meme hosted by Lynsey of Narratively Speaking whereby book lovers can exhibit the books they received this week.

This week I have received 2 library books; both ones that I ordered a while ago. It seems for every book I take back I have 2 to collect!

Exodus Code‘ by John and Carole Barrowman is my first Torchwood novel. This seems to be pretty standalone, and the blurb sounded good so I thought I would read it, and see if it inspires me to read other Torchwood books.

I am currently reading ‘Grace Under Pressure’ as its the only library copy in my authority and someone else is waiting for it, so I thought I’d better read it next! I think it is interesting insight into the life of a mum whose child has a disability. Look out for my review in the next couple of days!

So that’s my tiny mailbag this week! What did you receive this week? Have you read either book and do you think it should be at the top or the bottom of my to read pile?

Happy National Non-fiction day!

Happy Non-fiction day! This is an annual celebration, initiated by the Federation of Children’s Book Groups in partnership with Scholastic Children’s Books. I think although stories are fantastic, non-fiction is an important part of reading, especially for children.

Unfortunately I have only been reading fiction lately, but I thought I would show you some non-fiction that are waiting on my to be read pile!


Quite a range I know! I’m quite naughty in that Chris Hoy‘s autobiography actually has a bookmark sticking out; I started it last year in preparation for the Olympics but it got put on the backburner for books that looked more exciting!

I think my selection shows that non-fiction does not have to be simply about facts. It can tell the story of someone’s life, whether it be sportsman, celebrity, tv presenter or ordinary police officer. It can also be useful, as in my travel guidebook. Luckily I’m not going till next year so I have a while yet to read on the best places! Finally, I thought I had to take home the Amazon book, as I use it quite a lot and thought it would be interesting to know how it all started.

All the books above are library books; it just shows you what a selection is out there. Next time you visit a bookshop or a library, try and take home a non-fiction book. There is something out there for everyone!