2016-07-14 / Editorial

Author of ‘Chasing the Rabbit’ to speak at library

Library Links
by Melanie Taylor Coombs

I must admit I am a bit emotional writing this week’s Library Links. Author and local businessman Derek Volk will visit the library in a few weeks so I thought I would read his book. This all started when the book buzz began – rumors of a fantastic new book about autism and reviews by librarians about a great speaker who had just visited their library. Right from the start with a beautiful introduction by his wife, Amy Volk, I teared up a bit. As I read about good teachers, bad teachers, misdiagnosis and a love of birds, my emotions were all over the place. This is a special story and one that needs to be shared.

According to the Autism Society website, “Autism is the fastest-growing developmental disability.” Prevalence of autism in the United States is now 1 in 68 children (CDC statistic). Volk’s memoir, “Chasing the Rabbit: A Dad’s Life Raising a Son on the Spectrum,” brilliantly captures the struggles of a family’s journey through autism.

Early on, Amy and Derek Volk recognized that their son, Dylan, was different from other children, but it took years for an official diagnosis. Through this initial retelling, author Volk is brutally honest. Some of the story is heart-wrenching but much of it is heart-warming. I found myself laughing out loud at the following passage:

“A few minutes later they pulled up in a large Ford pick-up truck. They got out of the car grabbed some belongings and jumped into my car. John sat in the front and Joel sat in the back with Dylan. Dylan turned to Joel and said, “Is that your truck?” Joel, beaming like a peacock, puffed out his chest and said, “Yeah it is! I just got it.” Dylan cocked his head and said, “Big mistake.” I immediately dropped my head in embarrassment. Joel said, “What do you mean ‘big mistake’?” Dylan then went on to inform Joel of all the reasons why the Toyota Tacoma was the superior vehicle to the Ford F-150….”

After basements, birds and furnaces, Dylan Volk had become fascinated with cars. His information was irrefutable; Toyota Tacomas were a better deal.

This is just one anecdote from the extremely honest and moving memoir. In “Chasing the Rabbit,” both Dylan and Derek write about the challenges, triumphs and coping strategies from the early days to the adolescent years to life in the “real world” as a young adult. This book showcases the unique relationship between a father and his son who has spent his entire life chasing the rabbit.

Please join us at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 4 when Derek Volk will be at McArthur Library to discuss his book. Books will be available for purchase and the event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

Melanie Taylor Coombs is adult services supervisor/librarian at McArthur Public Library in Biddeford.

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