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It's hard to write a review for "Parallel Play" because there's nothing I could say that Tim Page doesn't already say much more lyrically himself in this wonderful book. This author's writing is simply beautiful - he makes every detail of life come alive, from the faces of old childhood friends to the music he listens to, from the cloud patterns he sees in the sky to his first time going barefoot in the ocean. This book contains such heart and depth and soul that I wanted to read on and on after it ended. I would read anything he writes on any subject.
Page has Asperger's Syndrome, but let that not be the defining point of his courageous memoir. He leaves the traditional "Asperger's Operating Instructions" manuals to other authors, but for those yearning to have a deeper understanding of the condition, perhaps the single most important thing they can learn from "Parallel Play" is that those with Asperger's Syndrome are deeply human - with the capacity to laugh with joy, feel music, cry at death and heartbreak, be annoyed, persevere, triumph, grow.... just like the rest of us. All evidenced by Page's gorgeous prose as he looks back on his life.
The book has a rare integrity, unpolluted by posturing and unflinchingly honest. It must have required great bravery for the author to reveal so much of his inner life in such vivid detail. From his first sexual experience to his darkest nightmare, Page tells it like it is, but without a trace of self-indulgence and with many moments of humor. I was mesmerized by his ability to weave something so poignant and beautiful out of all his personal struggles - it seemed that every story he told of himself had the higher purpose of being universal to all of us. Though there is clearly (and sadly) much heartbreak in his early life, he seems to triumph by facing it dead-on; and this had a way of bringing beauty and hope to even the most heart-wrenching of the stories. And the genuine, hard-won gratitude he exudes - for his friends and family, for the books and music he loves, for the lessons he's learned in life by way of growing older, for all the small successes in the face of larger fears - is utterly inspiring. It made me grateful for Tim Page and "Parallel Play". Don't pass up this beautiful book.