dreamingbear (dreamingbear) wrote in 50bookchallenge,

Book 31: Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger's

Title:Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger's*
Written by:John Elder Robinson
Genre:Autobiography, MIARC

Ever since he was small, John Robison had longed to connect with other people. But by the time he was a teenager, his odd habits, including an inclination to blurt out non sequiturs, avoid eye contact, dismantle radios, and dig five-foot holes, had earned him the label "social deviant". No guidance came from his mother or his father. It was no wonder he gravitated to machines, which could, at least, be counted on.

After fleeing his parents and dropping out of high school, his savant-like ability to visualize electronic circuits landed him a gig with KISS. Later, he drifted into a "real" job, as an engineer for a major toy company. But the higher Robison rose in the company, the more he had to pretend to be "normal" and do what he simply couldn't: communicate. It was not until he was 40 that an insightful therapist told him he had the form of autism called Asperger's syndrome. That understanding transformed the way Robison saw himself - and the world.

A born storyteller, Robison takes you inside the head of a boy teachers and other adults regarded as "defective". He also provides a fascinating reverse angle on the younger brother he left at the mercy of their nutty parents: the boy who would later change his name to Augusten Burroughs.

Ultimately, this is the story of Robison's journey from his world into ours, and his new life as a husband, father, and successful small business owner. It's a strange, sly, indelible account, sometimes alien, yet always deeply human.

I'm feeling brain-dead today, so I will rely on quotes from reviews of the book on Audible's website to convey my opinion:
  • The humor is exceptional, but also gives insight on real life childhood differences.

  • Having heard about Asperger's over the years and having some idea of what it meant this book made it all more real for me. The insight that the author gives as to why people with Asperger's are viewed as difficult and arrogant is refreshing.
    Yes, some of the book is repetitive but the candid reflection of how 'normal' behaviour is incomprehensible and confusing to someone with Asperger's is great.

  • Incredibly well written, fast moving, almost novel-like, this autobiography is well worth the read/listen. Especially helpful for anyone who is friend of family of an "Aspergian"

  • I listened to this book before I heard Mr. Robison speak at a conference. He speaks as he writes--very authentic, sometimes with humor, and committed to explaining the disorder from his own viewpoint. I enjoyed the stories he recounted in the book, even though some of them were filled with troubling experiences. He does not feel sorry for himself, but we can use some of his experiences to understand people who may view the world in a similar way.

31 / 75 books. 41% done!

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