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Publisher's Summary

Grounded is a moving personal essay about autism, race, and the sacrifices mothers make to give their children a chance at a good life, by writer and performance artist Doreen Oliver. 

In Grounded, we meet Doreen as she’s struggling with the realization that she’s pregnant, weighing her own dreams and professional ambitions against the life she imagines is necessary to nurture and raise children well. Doreen’s mother was a stay-at-home mom who did everything in her power to ensure her daughters had the same opportunities as the white kids in their New Jersey suburb - opportunities she and her 12 siblings could have never afforded when they were young. Years later, the influence of her mom still looming large as her own children grow up, Doreen begins to see her mother’s choices in a different light with new challenges faced in parenting - particularly with Xavier, who is on the autism spectrum. 

A remarkable new voice in nonfiction, Doreen Oliver tells this deeply personal story with compassion and unflinching honesty. 

©2021 Doreen Oliver (P)2021 Audible Originals, LLC.

Dear Listener,

What was my favorite part about writing this story?
"I love, love, love writing my mother into my work. She is a multidimensional force. The scene in the kitchen, though it becomes tense, demonstrates her humanity—funny (inadvertently), tough, caring, candid, and determined—but it also offers us a glimpse into her vulnerability. She is filled with genuine love that sometimes feels hard and sometimes feels soft but is always well intended. I think most people who have grown up with a mother can relate to that. And writing about her forces me to reflect on how I parent, whether my love has felt unintentionally rough-edged to my children. But that's a story for another time." –Doreen Oliver, author of Grounded

About the Creator and Performer

Doreen Oliver is a writer, actor, and speaker whose work illuminates the beauty, heartbreak, and unpredictability of life. Her critically acclaimed one-woman show, Everything Is Fine Until It’s Not, in 2016 broke the record for the fastest sellout of a run in the 20-year history of the New York International Fringe Festival and won the Backstage/United Solo Audience award the following year. Her essays on autism, racism, and the chaos and contradictions of parenting have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post Sunday Magazine, The Root, Kenyon Review, and elsewhere. A recipient of residencies and fellowships from Yaddo, Hedgebrook, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and the Sustainable Arts Foundation at Gallery Aferro, Oliver honed her storytelling skills during her years developing and producing independent films in New York and working at HBO Original Programming in Los Angeles. She is a graduate of Yale University and Stanford Graduate School of Business, where she was a Charles Bonini Fellow. Connect with her via www.doreenoliver.com, @doreenoliver on Twitter, and @doreeneverythingisfine on Instagram.

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Featured Article: The Best Audiobooks for Moms


Moms are some of the hardest working, most resourceful, and most amazing people on this planet. The audiobooks on this list show appreciation to all the moms of this world, from new moms to single moms, from moms with adult children to moms who have lost their children. Some of these books are fictional. Some are about self-improvement. Some are personal memoirs. If you're a mom or if you know a mom who needs a listen to boost her spirits, offer reassurance, or simply speak to her, you're sure to find the right one here.

What listeners say about Grounded

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My heart is full

As I write this, I am still smiling - the kind of smile that I believe is the outcome of a work of art that gives you “all the feels.” Doreen Oliver moves us through her life as a professional and as a parent with a level of intimacy and vibrancy that had me hanging on her every word. Her clarity as a writer and her clear intentions as a reader/performer make this audible experience akin to great theatre or film but with the camera lens in one’s minds eye. And did I mention her humor - which catches us by surprise and is delightful. The themes of daughterhood, motherhood and life’s unexpected challenges are relatable and real. Grounded grounded me in love — in short supply these days — but clearly not in the empathetic and energetic world of this bold painter of word/voice pictures. Highly recommend.

5 people found this helpful

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Beautiful

A stunning, captivating, vulnerable personal essay that is at once wholly original and universal. I was pulled in from the first word to the last.

5 people found this helpful

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Kinda boring

Thank God it was only 41 min or whatever. I like having a distraction other then music sometimes and this was it. I guess if you have a nosey mother & a child with autism you could relate to this book. Sounds like she led a pretty cushie life style, so its like hire a housekeeper and take some of the load off, I bet she spent hours writing this essay and then preforming it, time her mother probably would have said would have been better spent focusing on her family. I guess i just dont like books about complaints and other people's problems. Unless for sure fiction, lol. Kinda over preformed it a bit too. Otherwise a quick car ride distraction and thanks for that.

3 people found this helpful

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Love the honesty

I enjoyed the feel of raw emotion in this story.
Without going into painful details of doctors and child study team frustration, she made it clear how stressful the whole procedure can be. Being a mom of a child with special needs turns you into an expert without the clout of a degree. Knowing ( hopefully believing) every choice you make will make a difference. I solute moms who become these experts on how to help their children despite all the “real experts “

2 people found this helpful

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so honest and relatable

I listen to this whole essay on my way home from walking my daughter to school.

As a woman of color who grew up in poverty, this was extremely relatable. It made me think of what my mother would be like if she was still alive.

thank you 💞

2 people found this helpful

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Moving and Beautiful

Grounded is a relatable and moving essay that comes alive with Ms. Oliver's narration. Themes are both deeply personal and universal to all mothers and daughters.

1 person found this helpful

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WOW

A powerful, thought provoking voice, in writing and sound. I'm sending a copy to all my mothers. "Thank You!"

1 person found this helpful

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Totally enjoyable

This was totally enjoyable stuff. Indeed an essay that read like a tale. The mother's sacrifice is endless & needs a life time of it.

1 person found this helpful

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Pain and perspective

Miss Doreen’s essay is powerful, both in its word choices and its content. The pain in her perceived failures with a special needs son and feeling misunderstood by a beloved mom were a gut punch. It elegantly connected the difference in the way we respond to issues with the experiences that shape us.

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The struggles of juggling priorities

Quick Audible Original, an essay abt juggling priorities in life, the fear of the unknown… an easy listen for a quick car ride or a chance to relax.

As someone who has cared for a niece with autism, sometimes on an almost full time basis when she was very young, I deeply connected with this author’s fears and struggles … her compassion and her journey to find all the right resources for her child; that struggle to do the ‘right’ thing all the time… the urge to blame yourself when something goes wrong; that desire to celebrate every achievement and magic moment… these children are gifts, and should be treated and raised as such, as the author is trying to do with her own children.

I can also relate to the need for self care, and the essay outlines the author’s struggle to find this balance.

The main reason it’s only 3 stars for story is because I would really like to see this work expanded… this work is well written (though I would have liked to have learned more), very well narrated and I’ve added her to a list of authors I would like to see future (and possibly past) works from.

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  • Yvonne M
  • 05-04-21

Wonderful thought provoking story

This essay is wonderfully told and performed. Doreen shares a personal story of motherhood that many of us can relate to in different ways.