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Life in the Fast Brain -review

Life in the Fast Brain-Keeping Up with Gifted Minds is the second Karen Isaacson book about life in a gifted family. Her first book, Raisin' Brains, introduced us to her highly intelligent brood. The author's dry, signature style continues to amuse and entertain readers in the sequel. She refers to all friends and family members with quirky monikers such as Rupert, Magnolia, Petunia, and Gabby. A handy family tree at the beginning of the book helps us to keep track of all the quirky characters.

Isaacson writes, “Intense people don't just enjoy things, they become enamored. They take their relationships with ideas, with objects, or with hobbies to the next level.” She illustrates this well with stories about things such as her teenage son's passion for duct tape clothing and jewelry. Worn shoes were sealed with duct tape and eventually metamorphosed into duct tape boots. Another child, at eight years old, had a scheme for making money. He got creative and made sock puppets and took the door to door to sell. Of course this doesn't sound so unusual, until you read that he swiped virtually every sock in the house, and left his entire family with cold toes!

Life in the Fast Brain also includes the story of young Eugene, who helped his preschool director out by catching up the office filing, and six year old Imogene, who was concerned about the dangers of hydrogenated oils in fast food. I particularly liked the tale of the boy who designed a Rube Goldberg type machine to wake himself in the morning- it was supposed to drop a marble on his head! There's something sure to make you smile, wince in sympathy, or nod in agreement on virtually every page.

Gifted kids can be very challenging to raise, and Karen Isaacson encourages us to stop taking everything too seriously. Laughter is great medicine, and her humor is a great way to ease the burden of coping with gifted kids who make nearly every experience extraordinary.

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