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Not Even Wrong: A Father's Journey into the Lost History of Autism Paperback – March 24, 2005

19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Paul Collins is the author of Sixpence House and Banvard's Folly: Thirteen Tales of People Who Didn't Change the World. He edits the Collins Library for McSweeney's Books and lives in Portland with his wife and son.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA; Reprint edition (April 11, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1582344787
  • ISBN-13: 978-1582344782
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.8 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,015,070 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Paul Collins is a writer specializing in history, memoir, and unusual antiquarian literature. His 9 books have been translated into 11 languages, and include Sixpence House: Lost in a Town of Books (2003) and The Murder of the Century: The Gilded Age Crime That Scandalized a City & Sparked the Tabloid Wars (2011). His freelance work includes pieces for the New Yorker, Slate, and New Scientist, and he appears on NPR Weekend Edition as its "literary detective" on odd old books.

Collins lives in Oregon, where he is an Associate Professor of English at Portland State University.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Wafzal2 Productions on April 27, 2006
Format: Paperback
Paul Collins has crafted a brilliant novel that is inspiring without being unrealistic. He cleverly interweaves his experiences with being a father of a child who is autistic, the history of the study of autism, and added in some biographies of people who are "suspected" autists.

I wasn't sure about this book when I bought it. I have read many books on ASD, some have too much scientific data for me to actually get into the spirit of the message. This is not one of those books! It is extremely user friendly and does not contain so much information in such a short format that you can't relate.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who is dealing with ASD, interested in the study of ASD, or is looking for answers. A fantastic read! Thank you Mr. Collins!
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By napria on September 30, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I loved this book. It was uplifting, informative and interesting. I especially appreciated the love that permeated throughout this book. You can feel it between Paul, his wife and (autistic) son.

So many books about autism focus on "fixing" what's wrong with the autist. On page 225 of the paperback version of "Not Even Wrong", Paul writes, "Autists are the ultimate square pegs, and the problem with pounding a square peg in a round hole is not that the hammering is hard work. It's that you are destroying the peg." I couldn't agree more. As the mother of an 11 year old autistic boy, I love who he is.

Paul Collins weaves his experiences with his son and his findings from his research trips into a beautiful, informative memoir with an extensive resource section in the back.

Purchase two copies of this book. You'll want one to pass along and one to keep.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By M. Harris on June 8, 2006
Format: Paperback
My son has ASD and I've got all the books they tell you to buy to find out more about Autism-- this one should be added to the list! Initially I bought this book as a gift for my husband for Father's Day, I read the first page and was hooked. When he saw what I was reading I said, Happy Father's Day and went back to the page. Not Even Wrong has securely found itself added to my list of all time favorite books. Thank you, Mr Collins, for such a great book that everyone should read and all ASD families will treasure.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Dooley on April 17, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is my favorite book on autism, period. I adore it.

I am a 30-year-old mom with Asperger Syndrome, my 11-year-old daughter has Autism. As such, I have sought books to keep on hand to give to friends who may be interested in reading about autism. I wish I could afford a whole shelf full of this one!

Paul Collins writing is insightful and deep and it flows well - leading from one chapter into the next, it's a difficult book to put down. This book talks about the author's expolration of the history of autism, and individuals who have lived or are living their own unique lives. At the same time as he's following these leads to find out more about his autism, his own son is diagnosed. It's a beautiful story because of the twists and turns, and because of the lives of people it illuminates so graciously.

I was given an assignment in my graduate Humanities class to recommend one chapter of a book for the whole class to read. I knew immediately it would be this book, but had to think about which chapter. After much deliberation (there are many beautifully written stories that flow together in this volume), I selected Chapter 16. The passage where he sits on the steps of a church to cry after meeting the man with the painted lightbulbs illustrates how this book speaks on what it means to be human, it isn't just a book on autism.

Always eloquent, never condescending - if this is the first book you read on autism you'll start with a deeper understanding. Don't bother reading books that bog you down with those who "suffer from autism" - this book, instead, is about human beings.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Loli on April 2, 2008
Format: Paperback
This is the latest book I have read on Autism. I wish it was the first. It tracks parents as they first learn of their son's diagnosis at around 2 years old. Then over the next year and half we follow this small family as they come to terms with ASD. Interspersed is the author's (a history professor) research into prominent stories of oddball characters from the last four centuries, who in the light of modern assessments, may have been autistic. The last two pages felt as if the author had tapped into my own life since my son's diagnosis 2 years ago. If you are a parent coming to terms with some recent devastating news, my advice is that before you read any other book on the subject, even Temple Grandin, start here. I have read 20 autism books in the last few years and this will help you more than any other.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By tabitha omelay on December 20, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A friend suggested this to me as the first book about autism we should read. Our 2-year old is in the process of being evaluated for autism. This was a perfect book for us. It isn't a guide or reference book, but a gentle opening into the world of autism that I really felt cradled me as I opened my eyes to everything within.

This is a lovely, easy read for anyone curious about autism or just looking for a good read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Carol E. Anderson on October 6, 2007
Format: Paperback
I have just finished Not Even Wrong and am in that stunned place of being so moved and so enlightened that I will need time to process it all. This is an amazing book. This author should be on the best sellers list as he consistantly writes with such savvy, humor and dedicated research, unearthing fascinating lessons from history that expand my understanding of this world and the mysteries of life. .
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