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Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger's Paperback – September 9, 2008
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Ever since childhood, John Elder Robison longed to connect with other people, but his odd habits, like blurting out random thoughts, avoiding eye contact, and smiling when one would usually frown, had earned him the label “social deviant.” It wasn't until he was forty that he was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, and that new understanding transformed the way he saw himself, as well as the world. From dealing with his parents' abusive habits and struggles with alchohol and mental illness, to pranking everyone in the neighborhood, to developing exploding guitars for KISS and building a family of his own, his life story is both sad, bitter sweet, as well as triumphant, as he learns to connect with the rest of society and be accepted for who and what he is.
I haven't read too many memoirs up to this point, but none the less, John's life story is one that anyone, whether you have autism or not, can easily relate to and connect with, as he struggles to understand what makes him "different" from everyone else, and find his place in the world. The way he can make up stories on the spot are always hilarious (in particular, the story he spins about garbage men to confuse and horrify the stuck up, snooty guests at a party he was forced to attend), and the chapters focusing on his time working with KISS was really interesting. I had no clue that virtually one guy was largely responsible for all their most famous stage show stunts and effects. And the final couple chapters, in which he discusses making peace with his parents, and urges the readers to show a bit more compassion and understanding to those we'd class as "weird" or "different" is nothing short of tear jerking.
Whether you have some kind of diability or handicap or not, this is one story that I feel everyone should take the time to read, as it sheds a light on the importance of tollerance and acceptance for social outcasts and misfits; told through the eyes of someone who's lived a long and rough, but very interesting life.
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It's also a good read in general even if your focus isn't learning about...Read more