By Katherine Ellison (Hyperion Voices)
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Katherine Ellison dedicated a full year of her life, personally and professionally, to learning about attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD). The idea came to Ellison about three years ago, after she and her son were both diagnosed with the condition. Dissatisfied with their relationship, and wanting to know more about ADD/ADHD treatments, Ellison made a bold move to help “Buzz” (her son) deal with the disorder. The result is Buzz: A Year of Paying Attention, a memoir chronicling her experience.
Ellison masterfully weaves the facts she gathered with the story of her own family’s struggles. Like that of many parents, her search for treatment is all-consuming, full of hope, and laced with pain. She faces the nearly universal question of whether or not her son should take medication. What about fish oil supplements? A meeting with the Dalai Lama? She explores mainstream, alternative, and experimental ADD/ADHD treatments, with an emphasis on neurofeedback.
Ellison sets the lively, no-holds-barred tone of her memoir early on, when she explains why she refers to her son as “Buzz” -- it’s because her interactions with him are like being jolted by an electrical shock. The author maintains that tone throughout, conveying even historical and scientific information with personality and humor.
As the mother of a child with ADD/ADHD, I found the book a pleasure to read and, in fact, difficult to put down. Reading Buzz is like having a heart-to-heart talk with the funny mom of the ADD/ADHD kid next door. It feels good to learn, and even better to feel connected.
Reviewed by Kay Marner, the mother of two children. Follow Kay’s ADDitudeMag.com parenting blog.