It is the rare debut novel that reveals a writer of such immense talent as to achieve a dazzling literary home run the first time up to bat. Such is the case with Benjamin Ludwig’s Ginny Moon, an extraordinary coming-of-age story told from the perspective of a 14-year-old protagonist with autism.
Ginny’s disability isn’t even the most formidable challenge facing this plucky young heroine, who has survived the horrors of living with her violent, drug-addicted mother, Gloria, as well as a sad trail of failed foster care placements.
Ludwig’s novel begins as Ginny has finally found solace in the “Blue House” with her “Forever Parents,” a courageous young couple who, despite their determination to be the teen’s salvation, soon realize that they have signed up for more struggles than they anticipated. When Ginny becomes obsessed with reuniting with her birth mother and her beloved “baby doll,” her adoptive parents and school officials alike must struggle to keep the teen safe from her impulsive and methodical, albeit well-intentioned, behavior.
Despite the novel’s sobering subject matter, including child abuse, kidnapping and the realities of living with an autistic child, Ludwig has interjected his often-heartbreaking narrative with laugh-out-loud observations from Ginny, who loves Michael Jackson and displays a wicked sense of humor.
In a letter to his readers, Ludwig explains that he and his wife experienced similar, although less dramatic, challenges after adopting an autistic teenager, who helped inspire this tremendous debut novel.