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Nothing is Right Paperback – November 19, 2012

4.7 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Michael Scott Monje, Jr. is a Michigan writer whose work focuses on identity, specifically on the relationship between an individual and society. Mike currently teaches composition. He credits his experience with expository writing for developing his ability to focus his narrative and to structure longer projects. He would also like to urge beginning writers to study the essay, as well as technical and practical writing, as a way of building the skills necessary to deliver rich and complex narratives. As an autistic adult, Mike tries to connect with parents and other self-advocates, to spread the stories of adults who could not be diagnosed as children due to the restrictive definition of autism that existed until the middle 1990s. He also blogs about his own experiences as an adult who went undiagnosed for most of his twenties. He resides in Kalamazoo with his partner Liz and dog Boomer.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (November 19, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1480222852
  • ISBN-13: 978-1480222854
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,665,719 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Sparrow R. Jones on November 29, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As an Autistic woman, I'm always reading about my condition. Call it me-search, if you will. I read lots of academic treatises, lots of "auti-biographies," and lots of fiction about Autistics. Some of the fiction is written by people who are not Autistic themselves and some of that hits the mark while some of it misses wildly. So far, I have never read fiction about an Autistic character, written by someone who is, themselves, Autistic, that did not send the arrow flying true and clear to the heart of the target. Michael Scott Monje Jr.'s book is no exception.

Montje has written a spectacular novel. Not only does he manage to capture the world of the undiagnosed Autistic child, he captures the feelings and thoughts of such a child. Montje writes Autism from the inside out, skillfully, and with an eye for detail that could only be developed through living it himself. Moreover, Montje has mastered the subtleties of understatement, leaving the reader to understand the horror of Clay's life without hammering it over the readers' heads. I can't imagine that anyone could read Nothing is Right without feeling the weight and pain of Clay's confusing existence.

This is an emotionally difficult book to read but, at the same time, a book that is very difficult to put down or walk away from. If you are autistic, you must read this book. If you know someone who is autistic, you must read this book. And if you are neither of the former, you must read this book anyway. Roughly one percent of the human family is Autistic and you will not understand what it means to be human until you understand what it means to be an Autistic human. Montje has opened the door of that understanding for you. Please do choose to step through it. Thank you.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Clay, 7 has undiagnosed autism. He knows he is different. His 3-year-old brother A.J., who is barely mentioned in the story sounds as if he, too might be on the spectrum. Nonverbal and prone to destructive behavior, A.J. has damaged most of Clay's toys.

The story opens the fall of 1988 with Clay about to enter first grade. Clay has a tendency to "lose his words;" have meltdowns wherein he releases screams that are a physical force in his body and cause him physical pain. To control himself, he sometimes digs his nails into his thighs until the scream subsides. Sometimes he just can't keep it in. His maternal grandfather, Harry, has similar behavioral issues and as a result served 6 months in a hospital. Clay is terrified that will be his fate as well. Even so, his grandfather is the only member of his family who "gets" him and the two are good for each other.

So is a kind boy named Aaron in Clay's class. Clay's experience with peers has not been cheery. The boy's mother runs an unlicensed day care out of their home and Clay, drilled in being polite at all costs, even at his own happiness says nothing when these younger kids mess his things up. Clay's mother is a bit of a bigot; she does not want Clay to mix with kids who don't attend the local Catholic church. She is often cruel to Clay, washing his mouth out with Joy and making him take naps when he has long passed the need. She also drags Clay along on unpleasant errands and Clay sees everything as a rule - Clay's mother changes the rules only at her convenience.

Aaron is a breath of fresh air. He has an older brother named Jerry who is autistic and attends a special school. He sees a familiar personality in Clay and takes him under his wing.
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Format: Paperback
Clay is different. No one has ever explained to him exactly why he is different, at least not in a way that makes sense to him, but they certainly react to him like he is. The adults in the first-grader's life constantly take offense at the things he does. They blame him and punish him for what he sees as innocuous behaviors. They treat him like an unrepentant criminal, restricting his freedom and crossing his boundaries at will. Clay's differences are bad, it seems. His differences make him less of a person in the eyes of others. And even though he didn't choose to have these differences, somehow he is to blame for them.

Clay knows he isn't trying to be bad. In fact, he spends most of his time struggling against his own nature for the benefit of the people around him, constantly developing strategies for dealing with and abiding by their confusing, arbitrary, and contradictory rules. He contorts his personality, suppresses his vitality, and gives up on his humanity in numerous ways, all to fit in and make others happy, but it is never enough. The adults still give him no peace. They hound him, they watch his every move, and when he makes the smallest mistake they swoop in to interfere with his thoughts, plans, and projects.

The children his age are no better. They mock him, exclude him, and break his toys. He sees the way they interact with each other in such a happy, carefree, easy way. He sees how they seem to accept and understand each other so effortlessly. He too would like to be accepted and understood. But there is something in him that nearly all of the other children seem to sense, and reject, as though unacceptableness were written on his face.
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