For autism awareness, I read On the Edge of Gone by Corinne Duyvis. A comet is coming straight for earth and Denise and her mother are on their way to their temporary shelter when they discover there might be another way to survive. Both Duyvis and her main character are autistic so we get to see the end of the world stress from a relatively new perspective.
I think Duyvis did a good job of explaining the sensory overload autistic people can sometimes experience. I wanted to better understand why some of the physical stuff (rocking, tapping, etc.) became so critical when she became stuck. I assume it’s some sort of sensory control or comforting technique. There was also the element of people making assumptions like how ‘that’s not how autistic kids act’ or talking down to her. Duyvis gave reasons for some of Denise’s more ‘neurotic’ moments. It doesn’t come from a place of being a ‘precious snowflake’ but a way to mitigate some of the sensory overload of the world.
The science of the disasters made sense. The problems within the world after were fascinating and realistic. I only have one major complaint about the novel.
RANT ON (SPOILER ALERT) I see Denise bending over backward to help her mother and I cannot understand why. The woman is a useless liability who only cares about herself and her high. Most of you will say “But she’s their mother!” to which I say, “So fucking what?” The mother of the year:
- Regularly abandoned her kids to get high
- Regularly got high out of her mind at home
- Made minimal effort to parent her kids
- Lost her marriage and job but still didn’t seek help
- Delayed getting Denise to safety during impact for no explicable reason. Had they not lucked onto the ship, they would not have made it to the shelter in time.
- Used Denise’s autism to gain sympathy from strangers. She did this so quickly with Anke I have no doubt it was a regular occurrence.
- Got high it a half-destroyed building where she could have gotten herself killed
- Manipulated her autistic teenager to risk her own safety to get her onboard
- At least half of her appearances in the story she was high AF
- When Denise (rightly) demands she stay clean, MotY gets indignant and defensive
Biology does not require you to put up with someone toxic (Thanks r/JustNoMIL). Rather than recognize that she has a problem and ask for help (to be a better mother), this woman just dug herself in deeper. My mother has multiple mental health issues she’s not managing. If I say she needs professional help, she’ll probably agree with me and then do absolutely nothing. When you have the resources and ability to seek help you know you need and don’t, it’s a fucking choice.
The mother would be a liability until the day she died which is why a big part of me hoped she would. Heartless? Maybe. Realistic? Definitely.
Denise wasn’t wrong to think the end of the world isn’t a time for weakness. You shouldn’t lose your humanity but you also shouldn’t risk your life for someone who doesn’t care about theirs.
I hated that MotY got on the ship but when she told her mom ‘stay clean or I’m done,’ I wanted to cheer. (SPOILERS OFF) RANT OFF
The pacing of the novel is perfect. At one point I was so engrossed I missed my train stop and was late for work. There are complex moral issues and difficult consequences that come with this disaster. I think it’s great there’s representation of how someone neuro-diverse deals with it. This was a 4 star read for me. I’m deducting a star because of ‘bad mother BS.’ Highly recommend.