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Mozart and the Whale: An Asperger's Love Story Paperback – November 6, 2007
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"Readers will be touched and inspired by this book that proves that against all odds, love does occasionally triumph over all." -- Tucson Citizen
Top Customer Reviews
But even as Jerry lies miserable, waiting for the 60 pills he took to do their job, he's distracted. "For an instant, I started to obsess about the number sixty, mulling over what an interesting number it is and how I never imagined I'd die because of it. Sixty is the product of 2 times 2 times 3 times 5. Sixty is the number of degrees of arc covered by the side of a hexagon inscribed inside a circle. Each side equals the radius, and the hexagon is made of six equilateral triangles linked together. Fold them all outside and you get six more, forming a total of twelve which makes a Star of David with one equilateral triangle for each tribe of Israel...."
Jerry is a numbers savant who aced an actuarial exam without the prerequisite education, but couldn't get through the interview. He's worked mostly as a courier and a cab driver. Mary is an artistic savant. Painting and music are her passions and she, too, has had a series of jobs, including cook and hairdresser.
Taking off from the lowest point, they alternate chapters, tracing their lives from childhood and the frustrations and loneliness they felt trying to fit in. Much of it is painful; attempts to cope with confusion and alienation, bullying from other children, intense family dynamics. But there are joyous moments of epiphany and accomplishment - usually alone. And there is humor throughout.
Their early relationship is wildly joyous.Read more ›
Jerry met Mary at a party for adults with AS organized by Jerry's Los Angeles-based group, AGUA (Adults Gathering, United and Autistic). He had attempted to fashion a whale costume expressing his adoration of Free Willy, and she arrived in the guise of Nannerl Mozart, the brilliant musician whose life was overshadowed by her famous brother. It wasn't exactly love at first sight, but when the two realized they both kept pet cockatiels it was sealed. A scant 20 weeks later they were married, both of them experiencing an exciting sense of being fully understood and intimately acceptable that had eluded them previously.
The book is written in tandem --- first Jerry speaks, then Mary, in episodes. It can become a little confusing even for the avid reader, because of its many time jumps and some repetitions. But if you were fascinated by the movie Rainman (as Jerry was, finding in it his first real affirmation), then you will want to take in the whole saga of Mary and Jerry.
Both had miserable childhoods filled with basic misunderstandings about how the world works and major rejections by family and peers. Of the two, Mary had "lived" most. Shunted away by her parents to a strict religious cult in mid-adolescence, she had two children and many lovers, lived in caves and deserts and the streets of San Francisco. Her only successful employment was as a piano tuner.Read more ›
In doing so, they have made a book that's easier for me as an autistic person to identify with, than a lot of the books in which people fit themselves to a mold. I loved reading about Mary's increased trouble in school during adolescence, I had the same problem, and some of the same responses to it. While it was a confusing and horrible time in my life as far as my own experience of it goes, it might have been less confusing if I'd had a book like this at the time. If Mary Newport reads this, I want to thank her for writing about that.
I also like their unflinching looks at their flaws. The ability to look at oneself honestly without shying away from the bad parts is something I have admired, and wanted to emulate, for some time.
The most important thing that I got out of this book, more than the many complex details in the lives of the authors, was the honesty, the ability to tell it like it was to the best of the authors' ability. I am glad they wrote it, and glad to read it: It is a refreshing change from a lot of what's out there in the world of autism literature.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I loved reading this book! It was so uplifting to read about two people with Aspberger's who have such positive attitudes (well, Jerry is the more morose of the two, but he is... Read morePublished on September 18, 2013 by I'd rather be at the Beach
If you are looking for a quirky love story, look no further than this book. It is heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time. Read morePublished on July 15, 2013 by Marvin Lee Dupree
This is a great book. I'd recommend it to anyone interested in Asperger's Syndrome. It's sort of an unconventional romance, but it enables one to learn about Jerry and Mary... Read morePublished on June 12, 2013 by Shaina Clingempeel
this book was exceptionally good. I don't understand how they could put all of this into a movie. Glad I bought it.Published on May 22, 2013
This book allows you to see how people under the autism spectrum may think and feel. It makes you see that they can have the same feelings, intelligence and outlook on life that we... Read morePublished on April 17, 2013 by Kathy
This book was recommended to me from a professor. I have not had a chance to read it but I gave it as a gift to someone who I thought might like it and she opened it and was... Read morePublished on December 24, 2012 by Erin E. Carter
I love both the book and the movie. A must read! Specially for aspies like me, who needs insights about relationship.Published on September 6, 2012 by Hay14
Let me start by saying I read this book twice-- AND saw the movie. The subject was of such interest to me as someone with AS married to someone also on the Spectrum, I was starved... Read morePublished on May 1, 2012 by Ellen Stockdale Wolfe