Reviews of Intelligent Love

“In this beautifully wrought, meticulously researched story of one mother’s challenge to the medical establishment’s misconceptions about autistic children through much of the 20th century, Marga Vicedo tells an intimate story wrapped inside a much larger one.” (Read the full review)
—Katie Hafner, Washington Post

“What singles out this book as a literary and intellectual tour de force is its deft weave between being a broad social-intellectual history of psychiatry and the personal story of Jessy, an autistic child growing into adulthood, and her mother, Clara Park, who worked, wrote, and advocated mightily for her daughter and others like her. Anyone interested in autism will find this superb book tremendously compelling—and for those outside it, a model of how we have thought and how we ought to think about disability, medicine, psychiatry, and the family.”
—Peter Galison, author of Einstein’s Clocks, Poincaré’s Maps

Intelligent Love is a vital book that illustrates the complex and unsettling history of persecution that autistic people and their families have suffered through the ages. Readers will journey from a time when an autistic diagnosis was perceived as a devastation to now, when the neurodiversity movement and the voices of autistic people themselves are finally beginning to drown out the negative medicalized model so long perceived as the norm. Read it, you won’t be disappointed.”
—Emma Dalmayne, CEO of Autistic Inclusive Meets and author of It’s an Autism Thing . . . I’ll Help You Understand It

“Through her engaging reconstruction of the fascinating relationship of Clara Park and her daughter Jessy, Marga Vicedo reveals not only how science affects life but how lives affect science. In the process, she invites us to break down the harmful dichotomies that set ability against disability, good mothers against bad mothers, and logic against love. A compelling and compassionate read.”
—Alexandra Rutherford, professor of psychology, York University, Toronto

Intelligent Love is a history of autism told through the eyes of the mother of a child diagnosed as ‘autistic’ in mid-twentieth-century middle-class America. Vicedo’s compelling subject is the tension, even incompatibility, between maternal love and scientific reason that plagues the history of autism. This book is a vehicle for exploring profound questions about the meaning of love, intelligence, and disability in our cultural history.”
—Evelyn Fox Keller, professor emerita, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and author of Making Sense of Life

“With sensitivity, Marga Vicedo captures the fierce determination Clara Park brought to her writings and activism that helped reorient diagnoses that targeted mothers as agents of their children’s so-called inadequate psychological development and that inspired parents of other autistic children.”
—Rima D. Apple, author of Perfect Motherhood: Science and Childrearing in America

“In Intelligent Love, Marga Vicedo describes the intriguing story behind Clara Park’s groundbreaking two-book series, which challenged the medical establishment and highlighted the flawed, yet popularly held, beliefs around autism. By exploring Park’s experience with her daughter’s autism diagnosis, Vicedo reminds us how far our understanding of autism has come. This book is a much welcome contribution to the worldwide autism literature.”
—Stephen M. Edelson, PhD, executive director, Autism Research Institute