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A cartoon woman clad in leather looks up at a castle high on a cliff. The castle has a red door, a heart-shaped window and smoke coming from the chimney.

Poor Jill. Her lover the queen has thrown her in the bottom floor of her tower. To get out, she’ll have to beware of spikes, cross flaming pillars and dodge floating yellow spiders using only her wits and flea-like jumping skills. And that’s just how she likes it.

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When I was seven years old, I was in love with, and terrified by, a movie called Dolls. Its director, Stuart Gordon, was famous for his film adaptations of H.P. Lovecraft’s stories–including the cult classic The Re-Animator, which would’ve made Lovecraft himself projectile-vomit–and would later switch gears entirely with Disney’s Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. In Dolls, these career paths converge: it’s as magical as Peter Pan and as violent as Friday the 13th.

What does some movie about angry dolls have to do with Nancy Russell Burger’s book about raising an NLD child? Dolls isn’t a terrible film, but it doesn’t fit its own format very well–it’s too childish for grownups, and too gory for kids. And A Special Kind of Brain isn’t a bad book by any means. But it’s neither the “how to parent an NLDer” book it claims to be, nor the memoir it probably should’ve been.

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