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The Reinvention of Edison Thomas Hardcover – March 1, 2010
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From School Library Journal
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Top Customer Reviews
While I don't think it's said outright, the descriptions of Eddy's behavior suggest that he likely has Asperger's Syndrome. He admits that reading facial expressions is incredibly difficult for him and sarcasm is usually lost on him. He instinctively wants to take everything at face value, so he can't understand why Mitch could wish ill-will towards him when they've known each other so long. What else can they be except friends? But over the course of the story, Eddy develops new friendships with people who show him what true, healthy friendships should consist of.
This story is geared toward the middle-grade reading age and while it might not be the cup of tea of any reader of that age, I think it will highly appeal to those who love science, trivia, fun facts, that kind of thing. The scenes in this novel are broken up by facts from Eddy's memory, which he cutely refers to as his RAM or Random Access Memory (computer joke /reference).Read more ›
Although I don't think Eddy was ever "diagnosed" in the book, he seems to have an autism spectrum disorder along with sensory processing disorder. I was very impressed with the author's portrayal, in kid-friendly terms, of a child with his issues, and at the way she made me identify with Eddy. I was excited with him, upset with him, nervous with him, and holding my breath for him; I felt like I
understood the way he thinks and why some everyday things are so difficult for him. This is not only an impressive feat, but a really important one in a world where it is estimated that 1 in 110 children are diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.
After reading this book, children will better understand the "odd" child on the block who covers his ears when the fire drill sounds, becomes upset when the schedule is changed, and takes jokes literally. They will also hopefully understand that being friends with the "odd" kid can have its own unique advantages. And adults will understand how the simple gestures and acceptance of an adult can make a huge difference in helping someone like Eddy make it through a day in middle school.
This book is a must read for children and adults alike in order to foster an understanding and acceptance of classmates and neighbors who are "different" but still the same.
--Tova Suslovich, OTR/L
I am actually on the spectrum, so I have a special interest in these books now and again, and read them with an eye to see if they do anything *wrong*.
The good: The bullying, and the misunderstanding about it, strikes me (sadly) as very realistic. The friendships somewhat less so, but I had a very unhappy school experience, I might be too cynical.
The sensory issues, I've been there, I can see that, no problems here.
I was a little concerned that while Eddy clearly *does* have a diagnosis (although it's not mentioned in the book) and at least one teacher (the gym teacher) is clearly understanding of him, the other teachers tend to act in a way that puts him at a loss, and then effectively blame him for it. However, this is a world in which kindergarten teachers can lead their class in "voting out" another student and not lose their jobs, so that's probably accurate too.
The story itself was interesting and compelling, and gracefully shows the lie that autistics lack empathy. Not understanding what other people are feeling (or why they feel that way) is not at all the same as not CARING what they feel or what happens to them.
The not so good: Eddy's voice is a little... well, stereotyped. I spend a lot of time reading autistic blogs, and I've never once seen one or met somebody online who couldn't use contractions. We're not Data on the Enterprise here :)
And while autistics do tend to have trouble with non-literal speech, that doesn't make us all Amelia Bedelia either, not just misunderstanding basic idioms but also consistently choosing the wrong literal meaning when two are presented.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Without ever directly identifying/labeling the differences that make Eddy's social interactions and perceptions challenging, that account for his meltdowns and misinterpretations,... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Sandy Brehl
This was a great book! I work with autistic and Asperger's children, and it really helped me see how they think. I feel I understand them more now, after reading this book. Read morePublished 24 months ago by Janey
I enjoyed this book more than I had expected to. I loved Eddy's quirky nerdiness, what seem to be clearly autistic characteristics, especially his lack of social skills and his... Read morePublished on March 27, 2014 by destiny
Eddy is a kid with autism who is super-smart, but has trouble understanding other people. It makes it hard for him to make friends. Read morePublished on August 12, 2013 by This Kid Reviews Books
This book was given to me by my mom, she heard a review of it and thought this boy sounded so much like my 7 year old daughter, that it was going to be an important read. Read morePublished on March 19, 2012 by Bookworm
When I found I was to be on a WISCON panel with the book's author, I elected to read it, expecting little more than mild entertainment. WHAT A SUPRISE! Read morePublished on April 29, 2011 by Amazon Customer
Edison Thomas is a boy genius with a problem. Here is the opening:
'"Eddy sat on the steps outside Drayton Middle School, where the noise from the science fair in the... Read more
This book does not hit the reader over the head with tolerance or empathy or awareness. In fact, though it's clear to those familiar with the autism spectrum that Eddy is... Read morePublished on January 19, 2011 by Jennifer Donovan
There seems to be a trend of books written from the point of view of autistic boys. This one is about an autistic middle-school boy, Edison, who is really into inventing gadgets. Read morePublished on July 23, 2010 by Cathe