Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Book Review - "Slip" Won't Easily Slip Out of Your Mind

"Slip" Won't Easily Slip Out of Your Mind After Reading It

Why did Tanya Savko write her new book, "Slip," published by Kova Publishing?

Savko was frustrated with a lot of the misconceptions that surround autism, especially the statistic that 85% of all marriages where there is a child with autism involved end in divorce. She wanted to show that it really is a far more complicated picture than that - that marriages that involve autism are subject to the same frailties and potential problems that any relationship would be. Autism is only one factor, she says. At the same time, she wanted to write a portrayal of what family life with autism was really like.

And Savko has succeeded. I found "Slip" to be an engaging portrayal of life with autism, as well as a compelling portrait of a failing marriage and subsequent new start in life. Andrew Pavel, already feeling unsatisfied with his life, is shocked when his wife Erica announces that she doesn't love him anymore. Around this same time, their son, Nathan, is diagnosed with autism. Everything is changing around Andrew, and he doesn't know what to do. Eventually, though, Andrew learns that he can not only exist on his own, but thrive, and manages to stumble into a life he is actually happy about. This book will not only teach you a lot about autism, but inspire you as you watch Andrew try to recreate his life into something worth living.

I had the opportunity to interview Tanya about her book, and how closely it matched her life. Here are some of her answers.

1. How much of this is based on your own life?

This book is based largely on my life, but some parts have been fictionalized. I do have a son, Nigel, who has autism and went through the same struggles as Nathan. Nigel's younger brother, Aidan, also has sensory integration issues, like Eileen in the book.

2. Why did you decide to do a fictional account of life with autism instead of a memoir?

Writing a novel presented more of a creative challenge, and I love to create characters. There are a lot of really good memoirs out there about autism, but not as many novels, so I wanted to contribute something to that genre.

3. Nathan has a lot of sensory issues in the book. Can you remember the first time when you were able to figure out why something that seemed to bother your child for no reason was actually a sensory issue?

When he was little, I couldn't figure out why he had so much trouble in crowds. I later figured out that it was the noise that bothered him.

4. How long did it take you to write this book?

It took about 2 years to write, then another two to self-publish.

5. What has your most difficult struggle in your journey with autism been?

Keeping Nigel safe. When he was younger, he would wander off a lot, or bolt when something scared him. I was constantly afraid he'd wander into a parking lot and get hit by a car. Also, being a single parent has been difficult.

6. What are your happiest memories in your memories of raising your kids?

When the 3 of us are home together watching a funny movie we all enjoy, and laughing. This is somewhat of an achievement when autism is involved, due to the difficulty of having joint attention and sharing experiences often found in autism.

7. What do you think are the biggest misconceptions about autism?

That people with autism can't talk, or that they have no desire to communicate. Also, the myth that autistic people don't have empathy, which is not true.

8. If a new parent of an autistic child came to you, what is the first thing you would say to them?

I would tell them that it's going to be okay. That's what I would have wanted to hear. Also, it's important to set up a good support system.

9. If you could look back at your years of special needs parenting, what is the one thing you think you most did right or are most glad of having done?

I am glad we enrolled Nigel in the ABA program. We had him in there 3 years, and he really improved a lot.

Thanks, Tanya, for your time! If any of you readers would like to purchase a copy of Tanya's new book "Slip," which I highly reccommend you do, you can get one at Amazon by clicking this link .

Happy reading!


  1. Nice post Kate...I already bought the book. Now if I could just find some time to read it! I guess I need to stop playing Words with Friends on Facebook! Love Tanya and her writing!

  2. Lovely interview. I love Tanya's blog writing so I can only assume her novel is fantastic!

    xx Jazzy

  3. Savko was frustrated with the misconception that 85% of marriages involving autism ended in divorce? Well, her own marriage ended in divorce didn't it and that statistic is pretty solid from what I have researched. The same is true of marriages where they lose a child.

    Savko also has the nerve to tell new parents of autistic children that it's going to be "ok?" That's easy for her to say being her child is so high functioning. What about parents like Kim Oakley whose teenage son is so severe and self injurious he is still in an adult diaper and every day is hell for him and his family? There are many others who are dealing with severe autism like this. It's not going to be "ok" for those parents. She'd better think long and hard before telling parents it's all going to be "ok." She has no clue what parents of severe children go through on a daily basis.

    No time for fictional novels. Autism is too serious for that IMO. I'll stick with the factual books that will help the kids.

  4. Savko is a gifted writer and an amazing mother. I have learned so much from reading her blog and absorbing her gentle wisdom.

  5. I recently finished Slip too! I found the account of the divorce interesting since that is (happily) not something I have had to deal with. While autism puts a stress on our relationship, we have been able to survive this statistic. I'm sorry Anonymous is so angry. I understand it, believe me. I still go through times of anger like that. I don't think taking it out on Tanya is very constructive. She has worked very very hard to get to where she is. While things may seem easier for her in comparison, everyone's journey and difficulties are overwhelming. It is true that there are always people out there with more challenges than your own. I hope they can find some peace.

  6. @Michelle-anonymous 10/10/11 doesn't sound angry they sound honest. You interpret it anway you want but I agree, Savko is way out of line telling people it will be ok (does she have a crystal ball? How does she know how it will turn out for people?) That fantasy world sells a book though doesn't it? Many kids end up in severe residential units, parents become bankrupt trying to pay for services not covered by school districts or in due process lawsuits because districts are so horrible they would rather invest in destroying parents finanically than giving kids the appropriate education and so on. Live in your glossy little world Michelle and Tanya but for many parents it will not be "OK!"

  7. Anonymous, You are right. It won't be o.k. for everyone. Again, I'm sorry it is hard for you, and that you are angry. I have worked as an advocate as well as lived my own life. I know what it's like for others as well as myself. But you do not know my whole world. So saying I have a "glossy little world" is really not your place. You don't know anything about me, except that I do try to make the best out of the situations that I have.