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A Mind Apart: Travels in a Neurodiverse World Hardcover – November 17, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

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*Starred Review* Antonetta's galvanizing first book, Body Toxic (2001), marked the emergence of a poetic and frank chronicler of life lived in a polluted world. She now offers a kinetic, impressionistic, and philosophical inquiry into neurodiversity, a term for "people hardwired to think differently from the norm." This is a vital subject for Antonetta, who wryly describes the "circus" she carries in her head because of bipolar disorder. As inventive and full of mischief and deep feeling as Diane Ackerman, as adept at translating experience into life lessons as Anne Lamott, and an excellent adjunct to Oliver Sacks, Antonetta fashions an intriguingly meandering narrative as she describes her atypical neurological experiences, portrays a "many-headed" friend--a man who harbors multiple female personalities--reports on the murder trial of a disturbed teen, wonders about the fate of atypical neurology in a future in which genetic engineering is commonplace, and offers startling theories about the phenomenal increase in autism. Once again, Antonetta alters our perception of ourselves and our place in the biosphere as she makes unexpected connections, articulates provocative observations, and leaves readers pondering a startling question: Is neurodiversity as essential to life as biodiversity? Donna Seaman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

About the Author

Susanne Antonetta is the author of the award-winning memoir Body Toxic, as well as five collections of poetry.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Tarcher; First Edition edition (November 17, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1585423823
  • ISBN-13: 978-1585423828
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,743,272 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Susanne Paola Antonetta's most recent book, Make Me a Mother, a memoir and study of adoption, was published by W.W. Norton. Awards for her poetry and prose include a New York Times Notable Book, an American Book Award, a Library Journal Best Science book of the year, a Lenore Marshall Award finalist, a Pushcart prize, and others. She is also coauthor of Tell It Slant: Creating, Refining and Publishing Creative Nonfiction. Her essays and poems have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Orion, Seneca Review and many anthologies, including Short Takes and Lyric Postmodernisms. She lives in Bellingham, Washington, with her husband and son. Her website is www.suzannepaola.com.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Barrie Jean Borich on November 11, 2007
Format: Paperback
WHAT I APPRECIATE MOST about Susanne Antonetta's prose is the multiplicity of her voice. Here's a prose writer who appreciates more than one kind of music. Antonetta's work is aptly described as a mosaic hybrid, because of the ways she mingles the confessional, the mental, the lyric and also the scholarly and journalistic report. The music of this writer's literary intelligence is in the impact of montage, the shock of hybrid collision.

In Antonetta's A Mind Apart, bodies, minds and reports from the world collide. A Pacific Northwest community gathers to view a dead whale on the beach. A teenager kills a neighbor boy as a kind of science experiment. The husband of the narrator's cousin has a seeming-sorority of female characters living the mosaic of his multiple personalities, all of whom send her email. The intellectual pleasures of this work occur in the questions it asks about how a culture defines "normal" and what we might lose if genetic engineering succeeds in clarifying the borderline of acceptable human brain process.

The literary pleasures of this work alight out of the layering of many aspects and approaches, the content coming to the page through the voice of a poet, diarist, essayist and reporter who has told us from the start that her skin is too thin to enable her to stave off much of what she finds urgently stacked up in the world.

Antonetta is a writer to whose work I am particularly attuned, because of the ways her narrator is relatively unmasked, her structures metaphorical and lyrically innovative, her interests multiple and surprisingly connected, her aims to layer her own life with that of the larger questions of the world palpable and original. I can't think of many writers who hit all those notes.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Linardskinard on September 12, 2007
Format: Hardcover
As a fellow bi-polar, it was easy to identify with Ms. Antonetta. As a book lover in general I was pleasantly propelled into the varied world of the "neurodiverse". I found myself drawn to the characters and the different ways they live life. I will definately check out the rest of her work.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By RJ McGill VINE VOICE on November 4, 2007
Format: Paperback
Susanne Antonetta explores the lives and abilities of those who are considered by society to be different. The thought processes of those with multiple personality and bipolar disorders, schizophrenia, autism, and various other neurological conditions can be mystifying to those on the outside, including family and friends. Suffering from manic depression for many years, Antonetta utilizes her own experiences to paint a detailed and often personal portrait of the beautiful contributions made by these individuals, and the potential consequences of eradicating such conditions.Advancements in technology are presenting man with many options that were at one time unthinkable. Today, with genetic manipulation and engineering the eradication of many of these disorders must be considered carefully. Diversity is necessary for society to thrive and continue to grow. Many creative, inventive and forward thinking individuals suffered from mental illness... Georgia O'Keefe, Van Gogh, Churchill, and their contributions to society are immeasurable. Had such genetic manipulation been available our society would never have known the beauty of some of the world's most sought after art.Antonetta makes a strong and impressive argument that although technological advancements may make it possible to rid ourselves of undesirable traits today, doing so could prove disastrous in the future. While an important and complex issue, the book often appears unorganized and confusing, making it a very difficult read, even for the most interested reader.

The concepts and thought provoking, controversial issues brought forth in this book may one day (soon) present themselves and force the public and society to face that which would have been considered purely science fiction a mere decade ago.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Lawrence M. David on October 22, 2007
Format: Paperback
I am 54 years old, and have thought about evolution and those of us with different ways of thinking for several years; I was amazed that others think about these things, much more deeply than I ever did. A joy to read.
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