Friday, December 4, 2009

December 4: Book #best09

What book - fiction or non - touched you? Where were you when you read it? Have you bought and given away multiple copies?
I have come to the recent realisation that my life still revolves around my oldest son and the impact of his Asperger Syndrome. The Gwen Bell challenge has brought this fact bubbling to the surface. I guess as we do not have the three trips a week to various specialists or therapists, our lives have felt relatively normal. Then you start blogging about questions for your 2009 favourite preferences and whack! Up from the depths pop all these submerged bits and pieces of emotional debris. Not all bad, just a little lightbulb moment to remind you.

Thus, my choice of book should come as no surprise to you all. Again, my subconscious has directed me to a compatible selection. Meandering through QBD booksellers I stumbled onto this one...

Description of book
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—an inclination to blurt out non sequiturs, avoid eye contact, dismantle radios, and dig five-foot holes (and stick his younger brother in them)—had earned him the label “social deviant.” No guidance came from his mother, who conversed with light fixtures, or his father, who spent evenings pickling himself in sherry. 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, for whom he created their legendary fire-breathing guitars. 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 wasn’t worth the paycheck.

It was not until he was forty 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.
Look Me in the Eye is the moving, darkly funny story of growing up with Asperger’s at a time when the diagnosis simply didn’t exist. A born storyteller, Robison takes you inside the head of a boy whom teachers and other adults regarded as “defective,” who could not avail himself of KISS’s endless supply of groupies, and who still has a peculiar aversion to using people’s given names (he calls his wife “Unit Two”). 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 and write the bestselling memoir Running with Scissors.
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—repairing his beloved high-end automobiles. It’s a strange, sly, indelible account—sometimes alien, yet always deeply human.

Product Details
ISBN: 9780307395986
Format: Hardback
Imprint: Crown
Subject: Autobiography/Biography

I must admit after John Elder Robison's younger brother wrote "Running with Scissors" I wondered how I would find this book. For me it was uplifting, humorous, and gave me hope. Am going to let Boy 1 read it over the holidays (he reads and comprehends at a 17 year old level). See what he gets from it.

Have I bought multiple copies and shared it? Let's see. Gave one to Boy 1's teacher, aide, principal, and my last copy... Go check Sharalyn's bookshelf. It left with her after our catch up a few weeks back.

Oh, and conversing with electrical fixtures? Well, I may have had a light bulb moment but that's as close as it gets...


Sharalyn said...

And a good book it is. I've already lent it to a friend. Now everyone should know about the book, well, everyone who matters.

Psych Babbler said...

Oh I read this one and it was awesome! Even though I have worked with kids with Asperger's this was an amazing insight into their lives...

PinkPatentMaryJanes said...

This has been on my must-read list for a while. You've now convinced me to take it off that list and actually buy the damned thing. Borders, here I come...

Kakka said...

Thank you for posting about this book, my daughter's best friends son who is 5 has just been diagnosed with ASD and not only will I read the book myself, but I will pass it on to her when I have finished.