My inspiration for writing this book came at a time when I least expected it. It was while I was on my book tour for The Autism Sourcebook: Everything That You Need to Know About Diagnosis, Treatment, Coping and Healing—From a Mother Whose Child Recovered (HarperCollins 2005). At that time, in addition to being on an international media tour and lecture circuit, I was consulting with parents of newly diagnosed children. One day, one of the autism moms said to me, “Karen, as much as I love your book, if I read one more book on autism, I’m going to go crazy! What I’d really like to read is something fun—and funny.” I started to hear similar messages from other moms as well, but at that time, I was heavily invested in doing serious autism work, so the thought of writing something humorous was not on my radar at all.
Cut to: Seven years later in Palm Beach. I’m sitting around the pool at my parents’ condo, and I notice that almost every woman, young and not-so-young, is reading the same book—Fifty Shades of Grey. They’re all shouting to each other from their lounge chairs: “Can you believe Christian did that to her?” and “I’m so happy she left Christian!” and all I kept hearing was “Christian” this and “Christian” that and that’s when it struck me. All of these Jewish women are kvetching about Christian! So why not write a Jewish spoof? Instead of having Christian as the main character, why not have Jew?
And that’s how it all started. I put pen to paper and created Fifty Two Shades of Blue-ish, a story about a nice Jewish virgin, Rachel, who falls in love with her handsome hunk of Jew, a man with a sensual swagger and a hunger for more than just matzah balls.
I’m always looking for inspiration in my life, so it came as a surprise to see that the character I’d created, Rachel, actually became an inspiration to me. A woman who trusts the universe to take care of her, Rachel finds herself constantly looking for signs in the universe to help guide her in her own life. Like Rachel, I, too believe in signs. And I am grateful to have received signs from those autism moms to write this book. They enabled me to celebrate my not-so-serious side, and in doing that, I was able to access a sense of light-hearted joy that I am able to bring into the world of autism. Most recently, I choreographed and taught a dance to a group of young adults with autism, who performed their dance at a local community school. The joy that emanated from those dancers was truly magical and inspirational. I would love to see more programs that celebrate the creativity of this special needs population, and more treatment and educational opportunities for all who are affected by autism. That’s why a portion of the proceeds from the sale of Fifty Two Shades of Blue-ish is being donated to autism organizations worldwide.