“Buzz: A Year of Paying Attention”

As soon as I read my first of Katherine Ellison’s op-ed pieces on ADHD, Is It Genes? Is It Me? A Mother’s Maze Through ADHD, published in the LA Times, I knew I had to read her latest book, Buzz: A Year of Paying Attention. Then I read the next op-ed piece, Doing Battle with the ADHD-Industrial Complex, in the Wall Street Journal just three weeks later, and I could not wait to read the book. I bought it the very next day. 

To understand my initial attraction to this book, you first have to know the author’s background. Ellison is an investigative journalist — a Pulitzer-Prize winning investigative journalist to be accurate. She is a truth-seeker with a penchant for adventure and she doesn’t hold back. The book is a year of paying attention to the phenomenon of attention, or lack thereof. She was seeking answers to better the life of her ADHD son, and their family. 

Hey, I am on that same mission.

With her weightier clout, I hoped she’d have better reach than I, and she did. 

I chose the book because I wanted to hear the honest truth about brain scans, fish oil supplements, and neurofeedback from a skeptic journalist that also happened to live with a child with ADHD. I knew from Ellison’s op-ed pieces and her reputation, she wouldn’t stop until she weighed all the claims and all the facts and uncovered the truth.

Ellison’s memoir on ADHD is raw, honest, and unapologetic — comforting and inspiring. She rises from daily, heated confrontations with her barely-teen ADHD son, on a mission to not only find the best treatment for his (and her) ADHD, but also to reconnect with her child and instill some much-needed peace in the family, however fleeting it can sometimes be. 

I learned from her experiences:

… “anxious, sad, and lonely”… I simply don’t buy this analysis; Buzz, to me, seems so much more angry than sad. I murmur some protests as [the neuropsychologist] insists his rebel attitude is sheer facade, a tough-guy pretense of being in control, when… he so clearly isn’t.


I was validated by advice she received:

“But when you punish for things that aren’t in a child’s control, it creates a really bad spiral. These kids are at a tremendous disadvantage, because as smart as some of them seem, they’re going to fail at these simple things. They get told to try harder, and then fail again. Sometimes they stop trying altogether, because trying is all they have left: if they try as hard as they can and still fail, they’ve lost it all.” Todd Rose, Neuroscientist


I learned from her:

Whenever teachers accused [Buzz] of bad behavior, I’d hear them out calmly and ask questions to make sure I understood. I’d ask how they thought I could support them, and assure them that was my intent. But I’d end every session with the same question, which was, “So what is he doing in class that you like?”

And she gave me hope when I saw some of myself in her:

I’ve been told over and over again in recent months, to the point where I’ve had to believe it, that I’m overly anxious. And although Buzz has indisputably needed me to worry about him… it’s suddenly clear, even to me, that he is no longer the flailing boy I made my personal and professional project.


I gasped; I laughed; I cried. I found myself feverishly rooting for Buzz. And rooting for Buzz was rooting for my own child at the same time, for all children with ADHD. If Buzz can find calm, success, and some peace, so can my child. I was so invested in their story, I was actually disappointed when I reached the end of the book. I knew it wasn’t the end of Buzz’s story, nor his mom’s, and I so desperately want to know how things are going right now for this family. I am still rooting for them, and for all of us!

I’m sure you can tell by my rave review that I wholeheartedly recommend you read this book. I guarantee you’ll learn something new, gladly give up on some alternatives you wondered if you should try, and feel comforted in knowing you are not alone on your challenging journey. 

Ellison recently discovered {a mom’s view of ADHD} in looking for more ways to promote her book and sent me an email (this wanna-be-published author was star-struck by contact from an author of her caliber!). She offered to send me the book but I had already purchased it and was thoroughly engrossed in it by that time. Besides her validation generosity, I was struck by what else she said: the subject line read “like minds!” and she began by saying, “[I] definitely believe in the credo of making lemonade.” 

“Making Lemonade” is the way I try to approach parenting a child with ADHD and, once you read her book, you’ll know that she does too. Lemonade is not perfection, it is still a bit sour, but the sweet notes make it all worthwhile. 


Buy the book now! You can purchase it from the {a mom’s view of ADHD} Amazon store


Kay Marner also reviewed Buzz: A Year of Paying Attention for ADDitude Magazine. Check out her review as well here

— GIVEAWAY — GIVEAWAY — GIVEAWAY — GIVEAWAY — 



The author, Katherine Ellison, has generously donated a copy of Buzz: A Year of Paying Attention for me to give away to one lucky {a mom’s view of ADHD} reader.

Here’s how to enter:
1) Go over to our Facebook page and “like” it, if you haven’t already.  
2) Leave a comment here answering the question: “What alternative treatment have you wondered if you should try for your child with ADHD?” Be sure to leave your email address in the body of the comment or your entry will be thrown out. 

That’s it! You have until noon Eastern, Friday, April 29, 2011 to enter the contest. 


— GIVEAWAY — GIVEAWAY — GIVEAWAY — GIVEAWAY — 

COVER3D_400sq_bestsellAward-Winning Blogger. Freelance Writer. Author. Warrior Mom.
A self-described “veteran” parent of a son with ADHD, Penny Williams is the author of the Amazon best-seller about her parenthood in the trenches, Boy Without Instructions: Surviving the Learning Curve of Parenting a Child with ADHD. She is also the creator of the award-winning website, {a mom’s view of ADHD}, a frequent contributor on parenting a child with ADHD for ADDitude Magazine and other parenting and special needs publications, and co-founder of the annual Happy Mama Conference & Retreat, a weekend away for moms of kids with neurobehavioral disorders. Look for her second book, What to Expect When You’re Not Expecting ADHD, in late 2014. Follow Penny at http://BoyWithoutInstructions.com.

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About the author

COVER3D_400sq_bestsellAward-Winning Blogger. Freelance Writer. Author. Warrior Mom. A self-described “veteran” parent of a son with ADHD, Penny Williams is the author of the Amazon best-seller about her parenthood in the trenches, Boy Without Instructions: Surviving the Learning Curve of Parenting a Child with ADHD. She is also the creator of the award-winning website, {a mom's view of ADHD}, a frequent contributor on parenting a child with ADHD for ADDitude Magazine and other parenting and special needs publications, and co-founder of the annual Happy Mama Conference & Retreat, a weekend away for moms of kids with neurobehavioral disorders. Look for her second book, What to Expect When You’re Not Expecting ADHD, in late 2014. Follow Penny at http://BoyWithoutInstructions.com.

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The "ADHD Mommas" are not medical or mental health professionals, nor an ADHD coach. Any opinions shared here are just that, opinions. I, and the other "ADHD Mommas," are sharing our experiences with our own ADHD children. Please do not re-post or publish any content or photos without a link back to {a mom's view of ADHD}. Have the courtesy to give credit where credit is due. Copyright protected. All rights reserved.

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