The Toaster Oven Mocks Me: Living with Synesthesia Kindle Edition
An Amazon Book with Buzz: "Punch Me Up to the Gods" by Brian Broome
"One of the most electrifying, powerful, simply spectacular memoirs I—or you— have ever read." —Augusten Burroughs Learn more
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Early in this work, Margolis provides the following definition of his affliction: "Synesthesia is a condition where one sense is stimulated, but two senses respond." Specific manifestations may vary, but the author first addresses his perception that each letter or number has a specific color. He then prints an entire page of text in color, as he sees it, and the effect is definitely disorienting. In the prologue, when young Margolis was tasked with unscrambling letters on a chalkboard in front of the class, he encountered an additional difficulty because the letters began to argue with one another.Thus, the author adds another layer to the story, reflected in the title, as he sometimes perceives voices or sounds emanating from inanimate objects. Margolis later explains: "I don't hear their voices per se. They don't have faces or mouths. I hear them as thoughts or impressions."
During his college years, a chance encounter with a poster featuring the curious word "synesthetic" led him to discover that he was not entirely alone. As fascinating as this situation may seem, there is much more to the story that makes his case even more unusual, including an ironic twist whereby the coping mechanisms and compensation strategies he had developed on his own and came to rely upon no longer worked properly. Still, through all of this turmoil, Margolis only shared his secret with one other person; even his wife remained in the dark.
The act of publishing this book is his big reveal, although he admits that he considered using a pseudonym. (If it's a safe assumption that Margolis eventually opened up to his wife, one wonders why he omits that potentially dramatic moment from the text.) Overall, the author writes in an easily accessible style with a pleasant combination of self-deprecating humor and vivid descriptions of key incidents. The organization of the text into four main sections--Discovery, Concealment, Education, and Acceptance--reflects a journey that many will likely recognize and embrace.
Margolis' memoir should certainly resonate with readers who have ever felt somehow outside of the norm in any number of different contexts. This delightful book about coping with a disorder delivers important lessons for parents and educators as well as younger audiences.
-- Kirkus Reviews
He takes readers on a magical mystery tour of his five (well actually four) stages of dealing with synesthesia - Discovery, Concealment, Education and Acceptance. Here the reader is introduced to the author's world of growing up in Southern California where "John Wayne coming out of the post office, Dean Martin eating in a restaurant, or Bob Hope getting gas on Ventura Boulevard" are as common as shopping at Topanga Mall, the state's "first fully enclosed and air conditioned mall."
But it's hardly a nurturing setting for a child who sees the world in a seemingly wacky way - even his friends accuse him of sniffing glue when he describes a baseball as being covered with flying red tentacles.
This fascinating stuff is made even more compelling by the author's sense of humor and reaction when the condition temporarily goes away. Readers should come away entertained, amused and - surprise! - having learned something as well.
-- 3rd Annual Writer's Digest Self-Published eBook Awards
- ASIN : B011JQH2M2
- Publication date : July 13, 2015
- Language : English
- File size : 1823 KB
- Simultaneous device usage : Unlimited
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 157 pages
- Page numbers source ISBN : 1517613450
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #584,258 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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On a personal note, I wish the author had come to the realization that normal really isn't all it's cracked up to be. When you are fundamentally different, which is the case here, striving for normalcy is a lot of effort and energy wasted. Being different is enough of a challenge. Cramming yourself into the round peg's hole only makes things worse, and can really destroy you.
I just wanted to say to the late teen here "O.K. You're different. Get over yourself and get on with it. After the initial odd looks from people, most will really not care...and the good ones will think your differences are cool."
I did like the book and might read other things from this author. The funny parts really were great, and you are into neurotic, this is THE book for you.f
This book is also filled with humor. The part about the little girl who hears for the first time is beautiful.
The ironic thing was that this gifted class was exactly the type of
environment where I might have been able to ask questions and talk freely, but I was so concerned with fitting in and not calling attention to myself, that I never made the effort.
I had just turned sixteen and was on my way to the DMV to take the test for my driver's license. It was the early eighties so defensive driving, parallel parking, and firing a large- caliber handgun were the only prerequisites for a California driver’s license, and I was proficient on all fronts.
While my mom and dad attended a “parents- only” seminar, which I think was code for “open bar,” I went to the main campus library to have a look around.
Imagine trying to focus on numbers or learn calculus when your letters and numbers are doing the “Macarena” on the paper.
I will re-read this story and look forward to other works from this author.
Top reviews from other countries
Many people's experience of synaesthesia is different, and Steve Margolis describes in great detail the difficulty he had in acknowledging what he had, together with the fear that people wouldn't understand him and would reject him. The book is quite sad in some places, yet very funny in others. Steve talks about how for him,numbers, letters and words have different colours and personalities, and how surprised he was to learn that others didn't perceive them in the same way - iif, indeed, they could perceive them at all.
It's something I can relate to quite easily. For me, days of the week have specific colours, numbers have personalities and I can also visualise numbers in a timeline in the air in front of me. It makes perfect sense to me that Thursday should be mauve, and Friday green, for example!
There aren't enough books like this which actually describe what it's like to live with synaesthesia on a daily basis and how it can enrich and enhance your life if you let it. For this, Steve should be commended.
Living in the UK, it took a little while to get used to the American English used in the book, but it certainly didn't detract from my enjoyment of it, and I'd strongly recommend it to others - whether you have synaesthesia or not.
I chose this book and I knew it would break my cycle because I keep saying that super humans live amongst us. A person with synthesia is a super human to me.
The book is beautiful written and explains how the authors synthesia affects him. It caused me profound sadness to know that he spent something much of his life trying to fit in. I never understood this concept until I was 15. I was always enamoured with a persons differences and celebrated and defended them. But at 15 wanted to be liked by boys and fitting in destroyed all of that. So to read a small child to adult man still in this place of hiding / self loathing absolutely floored me.
This book gives a great insight into how you love yourself and go from hating to loving your flaws.
I found the book to be a great starting point for me to research further what she sees and feels that I don't. The writing is breezy and laid back. The author explains what he sees in a way that I understood. I felt I learned a lot from this book despite its relatively short length. As I am not neurotypical myself I am fascinated by others that are neurodiversive too.
I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in synaesthesia.