I goobled this book up in two and half days. It was wonderful. Funny and real, I found myself laughing out loud. Thinking back to encounters I had with strangers and wondering what their lives where like.
This is a book I want to keep, so when I feel blue I can read it again and again. It doesn't solve the world's problems, but has so many sweet simple lessons. It makes you think, how many times a day do I have an opportunity to learn or share? Do I take those opportunities? Beth has blessed us ALL, simply by being Beth as she was created.
I wasn't sure what to expect when I started reading this book for a book group. I ended up missing the discussion but was so involved in the book that I finished it anyway and loved it. It has so many good messages and really makes you think about the people around you and the way you view life. Definitely a worthwhile read, and clean, too.
This is the true story of an older sister who decided to connect with her mentally disabled younger sister by doing what she loves to do...ride the city buses. The adventures they have and the people they meet are heartwarming and always interesting. Intertwined in the story are flashbacks of their childhood, not always so pretty. I heartily recommend this book...a great read and a chance to stop and smell the roses.
This perceptive, uplifting chronicle shows how much Simon, a creative writing professor at Bryn Mawr College, had to learn from her mentally retarded sister, Beth, about life, love and happiness. Beth lives independently and is in a long-term romantic relationship, but perhaps the most surprising thing about her, certainly to her (mostly) supportive family, is how she spends her days riding buses. Six days a week (the buses don't run on Sundays in her unnamed Pennsylvania city), all day, she cruises around, chatting up her favorite drivers, dispensing advice and holding her ground against those who find her a nuisance. Rachel joined Beth on her rides for a year, a few days every two weeks, in an attempt to mend their distanced relationship and gain some insight into Beth's daily life. She wound up learning a great deal about herself and how narrowly she'd been seeing the world. Beth's community within the transit system is a much stronger network than the one Rachel has in her hectic world, and some of the portraits of drivers and the other people in Beth's life are unforgettable. Rachel juxtaposes this with the story of their childhood, including the dissolution of their parents' marriage and the devastating abandonment by their mother, the effect of which is tied poignantly to the sisters' present relationship. Although she is honest about the frustrations of relating to her stubborn sister, Rachel comes to a new appreciation of her, and it is a pleasure for readers to share in that discovery.
Very moving story of how two sisters approach and embrace life. Beth, with mild mental retardation, enjoys every moment of her day, while her single sister Rachel lives in an emotional void, keeping busy with her life as a writer and professor. Beth teaches us all how to seize the moment! A good read, not too sappy, but will pull your heartstrings.
Kind of a slow read for me, but overall a very sweet book. The relationship that Rachel has with her mentally challengd sister, Beth, definitely keeps her on her toes. Rachel learns some life lessons and she has Beth to thank for that.
Excellent insight into mental retardation from a family members point of view. Allows us to understand that it is important to not "push" any individual into the shape we want them. We cannot try to put a square into a round peg - and the world is not full od only squares!
This is a sweet, though not wonderfully written, book about a woman's quest to get to know her mentally disabled sister better. Her sister lives alone, with the assistance of state workers, and rides public transportation all over the area. She knows all the bus drivers, some of whom have befriended her.
I am a bus driver myself, so this was especially relevent to me.
I enjoyed this book. At times I felt Rachel's anger with her sister, and at other times I felt her love and joy. I can only imagine how difficult Beth can be. I applaud her for sharing her family's story.
I really enjoyed reading this book. I would highly recommend it to others. Rachel Simon was able to put into words how everyone feels and views individuals with disabilities and helps to reconcile those feelings. This was made into a Hallmark movie. I will have to watch it now that I have read the book.
We who grow up with family members with mental retardation have a blindspot like Rachel Simon. We think we "know" what MR is -- we live with it every day! But as Rachel discovers at the end of her journey, MR is a catchall term for the many things that can go wrong in a person's brain and development. And each person who is diagnosed with MR is still an individual with different abilities -- some skills stronger than others -- despite the label that lumps them altogether.
I regret not reading this book before my uncle died because it would've spurred me to learn more about who he really was, which I thought I knew because I lived in the same house with him for 20 years. I regret that my family treated him like he stopped aging at the "mental age" he was -- which I'm not really even sure what that was. They treated him like a child when many times he behaved like an adult and, I believe, wanted to be treated like an adult but they kept him labeled as and treated like a child because that's how they identified with administering his care. He could've worked at a sheltered workshop if my grandparents had allowed him and he could've had friends outside our family. He was my first playmate and first friend.
I am more upset writing this review, thinking about my own situation, than reading the book. "Riding the Bus With My Sister" is more than a look at how society treats people with MR and physical disabilities -- people who are "other". That's in there and that's what makes this book important but it's not just a case study and certainly not a sermon. The author confronts her broken family and how her parents' failed relationship affects her romantic relationships. She says what every family member of someone with MR thinks sometimes but dares not say: the frustration and embarrassment and spite and meanness and occasional wish that our relatives were "normal" that wars with our intense love for them.
I read this book quickly, and thoroughly enjoyed it! I used to work as a supports coordinator for persons with mental retardation, in southwestern PA, so I could really relate to Beth (the sister with mental retardation) and her older sister Rachel's frustrations with her sister's often child-like behavior. Rachel Simon put a lot of good inforation about "the system" into the book- educating the reader about Self Determination, plan of care meetings, independent living, group homes, sheltered workshops, etc. Even if you aren't personally familiar with mental retardation, I think this is still a great book- very uplifting! I also enjoyed how the author switched between the past and the present in telling the story.
Rachel Simon's account of coming of age with her retarded sister Beth who is an endearing and fiesty young woman. Rachel learns some valuable life lessons from Beth as she rides the buses in a Pennsylvania City.
A sister rides the buses for a year with her mentally redarded sister. Though it gave me a better understanding of what it would be like to deal with a mentally retarded family member. I got tired of the almost hopelessness of it, though I certainly sympathized with the heroines. I had higher hopes for it than it delivered.
I thought I would hate this book because Rosie O'Donnell recommended it--that was very snobbish of me. This is a wonderful memoir. The author describes how she embarked on a yearlong project to help her sister. The author ends up facing many of her own flaws and fears and gains a new appreciation of her sister. I think the flashback chapters about their childhood are even more interesting than the present-day stuff.
Beth is a spirited woman with mental retardationwho spends nearly every day riding the buses in her Pennsylvania city. The drivers, a lively group, are her mentors; her fellow passengers are her community. Beth, who lives independently and has a boyfriend, is a joyful endearing, and feisty individual. Her single sister, Rachel, a writer and professor, masks her emotional isolation and loneliness behind her hyperbusy schedule. When Beth asks Rachel to accompany her on the buses for one year, they take a transcendent journey taht chnages Rachel's life in incredible ways, leads her to accept her sister at long last-and teaches her to slow down and enjoy the ride.
Beth is a spirited women with mental retardation who spends nearly everyday riding the bus in her Pennsylvania city. The drivers, a lively group, are her mentors; her fellow passengers are her community. Beth, who lives independently and has a boyfried, is a joyful, endearing, and feisty individual. Her single sister, Rachel a writer and professor, masks her emotional isolation and loneliness behing her schedule. When Beth asks Rachel to ride the bus with her..............
I absolutely loved this true story! Rachel shared her honest feelings, the ups and downs of dealing with her mildly retarded sister. I came away from the book with a clearer understanding and more compassion for the mentally disabled. A story that was way past due to be told and one that will keep you turning the pages!
This book was ok- didn't like it as well as
That Went Well: Adventures in Caring for My Sister.
Author seemed to be focused on her self more than her sister... can't say I blame her, but... I wanted more.
I received this book as a gift, which was good because it kept me going. It was a little bit slow at first, but such a wonderful story. I didn't know there was a movie, but I'd like to see it now that I've read the book. So touching, so real. There was alot of great real-life advice. Words to live by. I'm glad I read it, and would recommend it to anyone. Get the kleenex ready.