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Raising Cubby: A Father and Son's Adventures with Asperger's, Trains, Tractors, and High Explosives Hardcover – March 12, 2013

4.5 out of 5 stars 126 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

In his memoir Look Me in the Eye (2007), Robison wrote about his own Asperger’s syndrome—he was diagnosed with the form of autism when he was 40 years old. Here he asks the question: How does a man who lacks a sense of empathy and an ability to read nonverbal cues learn to be a father? And how does a man with Asperger’s learn to recognize the same symptoms in his own child? (A key element in the book is Robison’s son’s own diagnosis, and Robison’s reaction to his having missed seeing the signs for as long as he had.) In many ways, this is a traditional father-and-son memoir, but the added element of Asperger’s gives the story a stronger emotional core: when Robison and his wife separated, for example, he realized he had been misreading a lot of what had been going on between them. It’s a story of a man learning to be a parent, yes, but it’s also—and perhaps more importantly—the story of a man discovering, as an adult, who he really is. --David Pitt

Review

“Charming and wise…Part parenting guide, part courtroom drama, part catalog of the travails and surprising joys of life with the high-functioning form of autism called Asperger’s syndrome, this memoir will offer all parents — but particularly fathers — a lot to think about. That its author was almost 40 when he learned he had Asperger’s…and that he eventually learned his son had the condition as well, make their story more remarkable, but do nothing to diminish its relevance even for readers with no personal experience of autism...[Robison’s] deadpan humor [is] in evidence throughout… Touching, sympathetic, and often insightful.”
--New York Times

"Robison ... sheds some light on how having Asperger’s helped him cultivate an outlaw style of parenting...by turns hilarious, poignant, weird, shocking, and inspiring…This book will make you laugh, and make you think about how to parent a child who doesn’t fit into the neat categories we expect our children to occupy."
--Parents.com

“How does a man who lacks a sense of empathy and an ability to read nonverbal cues learn to be a father? And how does a man with Asperger’s learn to recognize the same symptoms in his own child? (A key element in the book is Robison’s son’s own diagnosis, and Robison’s reaction to his having missed seeing the signs for as long as he had.) In many ways, this is a traditional father-and-son memoir, but the added element of Asperger’s gives the story a stronger emotional core: when Robison and his wife separated, for example, he realized he had been misreading a lot of what had been going on between them. It’s a story of a man learning to be a parent, yes, but it’s also—and perhaps more importantly—the story of a man discovering, as an adult, who he really is.”
Booklist

"John Elder Robison is one of my autism super heroes because he bravely brings humor and humility to the heart and soul of the taboo and unexpected corners of life lived with autism.  His new book, Raising Cubby, is more than a memoir about a father and son bound by their Asperger syndrome. It’s a story that reminds us how precious and precarious the parent child relationship is and how beautiful our lives can be when we are share that ride together. Raising Cubby is Robison’s best work yet.”
Liane Holliday-Willey, coauthor of Pretending To Be Normal: Living with Asperger Syndrome

"Funny and moving...A warmhearted, appealing account by a masterful storyteller."
--Kirkus Reviews

"Robison's third book starts with a bang--his description of the 'malicious explosion' created by his teenage Cubby that has the boy, who has Asperger's syndrome, looking at 60 years in prison, is as disconcerting as it is captivating....With the ensuing investigation and trial, Cubby and the author are drawn into a crazy world that threatens to tear apart their already delicate lives."
--Publishers Weekly

“John Elder Robison has written two books on his experience with Asperger's syndrome: Look Me in the Eye and Be Different. In Raising Cubby, he brings his warmth, intelligence and humor to an equally personal subject: his own son.”
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Crown; 1 edition (March 12, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307884848
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307884848
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.3 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (126 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #683,099 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By K. Groh TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 7, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
On the surface, Raising Cubby is an entertaining, easy to read, and humor filled book. Great for any parent, young adult or avid reader.

However, if you have Asperger's, any relation to Asperger's, you are a parent with Asperger's, or a parent of a child with Asperger's, this book will mean so much more.

I deal with Aspergers on a daily basis, not me personally but in my family. It has not always been labeled as such but, like John Elder, finally knowing has its good and bad points. Knowing gives you power to see the great gifts that come with it as well as to better understand the reason behind the things that make you feel uncomfortable and different. But is also means that it is a part of who you are forever. I had a friend recently ask me, "Is there a medicine for Asperger's?" No there is not. But there is the ability, sometimes with help of therapy, to become more self-aware, to have the power to learn what is expected behavior and to work towards feeling more included in society, it is embracing the amazing qualities that the 'average' person doesn't have access to that make someone with Asperger's phenomenally smart, creative, ingenious, funny, and quirky. As Mr. Robison says, "The gifts and disabilities of Asperger's go hand in hand."

In Raising Cubby, John Elder Robison continues his journey from his own troubled but entertaining Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger's to his journey as an adult with Asperger's parenting a child with Asperger's. Since he was unaware of his own diagnosis during his initial parenting years, he, like many parents, stumbled his way through, questioning what the best things were for his child.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
SPEEDY REVIEW: Are you looking for a book with suggestions and advice on how to raise your child who has autism or Asperger's? If so, please scroll to the end of my review, I will link some of my favorites as alternatives to this one. Are you looking for a story, rather than a how-to, about one man's journey with his kid? Then this may prove to be a good choice for you.

LONGER REVIEW:
"Raising Cubby" begins with the journey of John Elder Robison reaching technical, legal adulthood, seeking his niche in the world, and struggling with his, at the time undiagnosed, Asperger's. The story then transitions slowly from his story to a story about his son.

As I am familiar with John's writing, I was looking forward to learning more about Cubby and the experience of parenting (as a parent with Asperger's) a child with Asperger's. The transition was lengthy, but was a smart reflection on how that transition of self to other happens naturally in positive parent-child relationships. John Elder Robison's storytelling is fluid and full of humorous insights and little jokes and tall tales he has spun for his son. It was a joy to read about tales of the "Kid Store" and the stone boy. My son's dad and I have often woven such tales into our son's world to help loosen some of the rigidity and to exercise his creativity (and our own as well). It was reassuring to read that we aren't the only parents who do that and that clearly it results in a superior specimen (I'm joking, as does Robison in "Raising Cubby").

Readers looking for a how-to manual on Asperger's or parenting an Autistic child will be left feeling short changed. To be clear, this is not a book about Asperger's.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book has some really strong points but also some really weak ones. For the first 2/3rds I was only partially interested. As another reviewer pointed out his perspective is very Aspergian. The way he views things is definitely not typical and some of his parenting is extremely odd. It makes for a somewhat interesting read, but the details are excessive and about the wrong topics. He goes into a lot of detail about inane minutia and not enough detail about things readers might find more interesting - such as why he got divorced (twice). Both are totally glossed over.

About 2/3rds into the book he starts discussing the ATF raid and his son's experience with the Federal Government and the trial. That was absolutely fascinating and very well written. At that point for the first time since picking it up, I couldn't put it down and stayed up really late finishing it. He had some excellent points about accountability, use of resources, and the emotional trauma associated with unchecked power.

I think if the book was literally half the length I would have given it 5 stars. Literally if you skip to page 200 or so and start reading from there, it's an awesome book. The beginning didn't help me feel more attached to the people involved, so really I don't think you'd be missing anything. For me the beginning lacked focus and wasn't really interesting, but the ending compensated for it some.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
My father, aged 88, is probably an undiagnosed case of Asperger's. In his life, he was an WWII bomber pilot and wicked-good mechanical engineer. But when it came to parenting, understanding marriage, having friends, he was...well, he left something to be desired. I wanted to read this book in hopes of understanding my father better. In fact, this book provided perfect clarity for me, as some of the things the author does with his son, my father did with me. For example, many times, the author, who is Asperger's, scares his child, Asperger's as well, into behaving. I came alive with those vignettes of Robison's life with Cubby, as those events were like looking into a mirror for me. I could see how bizarre the author's parenting skills were, but I could also see that I had been raised in those same bizarre ways. So, the book engaged me deeply into understanding my father's behavior.

The book also bored the smack out of me. I taught college composition at two decent-sized universities for 32 years, so I'm really sensitive to how a book is written because of a life dedicated to teaching writing. This man writes like an Asperger's, and that means he details every story he tells to the point where you want to say out loud, "Yes, I *know* the sky is blue. I *know* the grass is green. Get ON with it!" Another characteristic of an Asperger's writer is that, while they detail some thing or event with the greatest depth, they gloss over completely some things which really matter. For example, the author describes his marriage failing very quickly ("We decided to separate") and the subsequent redevelopment of living skills in protracted, almost-painful detail. Which is the more important look into your life, Mr.
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