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Nothing is Right Paperback – November 19, 2012
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Brilliant beginning to the Shaping Clay series. Wonderful on its own, this book becomes richer when read in conjunction with the rest of this ongoing series.Published 2 months ago by Bridget M. Harris
I was totally captivated by this moving account of what it feels like to be a kid on the spectrum. Michael's book mines deep, and delivers a motherlode of understanding and... Read morePublished 19 months ago by John Elder Robison
I found this book extremely interesting. To see the world through the eyes of an autistic child was fascinating. In was an easy read and held my interest beginning to end.Published on August 17, 2013 by Kathleen Jarrell
Author Michael Scott Monje Jr. has written a fictional account of his childhood. At its center, this novel tackles the perspective of seven-year-old Clay during his first year of... Read morePublished on April 4, 2013 by Borglum Monroe
Sometimes the book was uncomfortable to read but definitely allowed a view into Clay's world. Look forward to the next books.Published on January 29, 2013 by Sandy McTavish
Shame is such an integral part of this story, much like the Scream. The "why" is hidden from parents; they are unable to explain it to their son. Read morePublished on January 28, 2013 by Elizabeth Bergeron
This book is an interesting read that had me wishing i had more time to read it but grrr chores get in the way my only complaint is how the mother inflicts punishment. Read morePublished on January 27, 2013 by nicole
Finished the thing last night and I gotta say, he hits some pretty sharp nails on the head if you've ever felt out of place in school. Read morePublished on December 13, 2012 by Mr Stonebender