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602 of 678 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Aspergers (without all of that annoying social impairment), October 14, 2007
This review is from: Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger's (Hardcover)
A warning about this book: Asperger's Syndrome is not quite what the author makes it out to be. If you were to only learn about the diagnosis from this memoir, here is what you might expect: "symptoms" that include amazingly innovative genius and a life of non-stop social and financial success.

The author: 1. makes numerous friends during adolescence, finding (as he describes it) acceptance and comfort in the music scene of his community. 2. makes a romantic connection during this time, sustaining a long-term relationship, including (later) marriage and a child. 4. states that he does not like small talk, does not like change. When does he become aware of this? As he is on tour with the worlds biggest rock band (He is reminded of his small-talk aversion later in the book...when he succeeds in the corporate world, functioning as both a creative asset and supervisor.) The biggest dilemma in the book: should he remain a business executive...or, should he open and run his own business?

Wow. Turns out that Asperger's is fun and empowering...assuming, of course, that you're a socially-adaptable techno-genius with highly marketable engineering skills.

'Look Me in the Eye' does make for a fascinating window into Asperger's Syndrome. However, if you are purchasing this book, please bear in mind: few people (and I mean very few people, including neuro-typicals) are as high-functioning as the author. This is a memoir by someone with Asperger's Syndrome, not an educational tool about it.
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Showing 1-10 of 66 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 15, 2007 7:53:20 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 15, 2007 2:46:37 PM PDT
Asperger's seems to have become a "Fad" diagnoses lately... Especially for kids who, nowadays, are either ADD or Aspies depending on whether they "can't focus" or "focus too much!" To actually have this syndrome I would expect more than one "symptom" to be dominant of someone's life...and that these symptoms amount to a substantial "impairment" of some kind.

Otherwise, Asperger's is like the daily Horoscope...there's something in it that everyone can to relate to...

The idea that Asperger's can be fun is simply not the way to approach the problem... I suspect that the easy and quick diagnoses of Asperger's is behind the recent news about an "Autism Epidemic" in the US...?

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 15, 2007 9:09:24 AM PDT
"Autism Epidemic"

The increase has much to do with the fact that screening techniques have improved considerably over the years (as education and awareness of the issue have spread). I just have a problem with blurring the distinction between tendencies (which many people have to some degree) and traits (which are determined by very specific diagnostic criteria, i.e. qualitative impairments in social functioning). My fear is that we are attempting to expand the criteria in an effort to put a happier face on the diagnosis. If someone is "amusingly eccentric"...we'll focus on their story, even if they've had a long history of social and financial success.

Posted on Nov 9, 2007 11:23:20 AM PST
K. Conway says:
I don't believe this book is being marketed as an educational tool. Those books are located under a different category.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 10, 2007 5:36:18 AM PST
However it is marketed, the book is subtitled "My life with Asperger's". This might leave some to believe that the experiences described are typical of Asperger's. And if you look at the reaction to the book, people seem to be reading it that way.

Certainly people with AS can accomplish anything, but that doesn't mean the most extreme example of a "high-functioning Aspergian" should be presented as the norm. It's misleading and it minimizes the experiences of those who face impairment due to the syndrome.

Posted on Dec 30, 2007 9:11:53 AM PST
Kelly H says:
Speaking as a moderately high functioning neuro-typical woman, I think the title gives a clue to this being a memoir rather than an educational tool. I think having the words "my life with asperger's" in the book title is a dead give away that this is indeed a book about the author and not an overview of the Aspie population.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 31, 2007 1:53:07 AM PST
Fair enough. Title aside: the problem is that, in the book, he does present his experiences as representative of the condition, despite the fact that they are not.

He's not saying, "Here's my life AND I have Asperger's". He's saying, "This is what Asperger's is like". Have you had a chance to read it yet? This site has links to his blog, you can see more of his mindset there. He generally fails to make any sort of distinctions with regards to the spectrum. Almost everything, at all times, is "Aspergian". He sneezes...that's his Asperger's acting up.

Particularly in the later chapters of the book, it gets a little ridiculous. He's navigating the corporate world, starting his own business, raising a family...yet complaining about his discomfort with small talk...I mean, that's fine, but for most people with AS, the social impairment tends to be a bit more pronounced.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 14, 2008 7:21:04 PM PST
C. Burriss says:
Most NTs think of autism as the quiet spell, minute-solved-rubiks-cube archetypes and then AS gets thrown in to really cause disbelief. Now this maybe one facet of understanding, but like the puzzle piece symbol for autism, it tips the iceberg. Some AS are in film, video games, architecture and other highly creative and intellectual fields as well. This brainiac engineering stereotype is getting on my aspie nerves (and there are not a lot of nerves so watch out!!!!!!)

Posted on Apr 9, 2008 8:14:07 PM PDT
Mari Sloan says:
John Elder is an author, describing his own thought processes which are highly interesting whether or not he had ever been diagnosed with Aspergers. If you want a clinically accurate description of Aspergers, get a textbook. If you want a wonderful, honest read from the mind of a unique, quirky and captivating person, read Look Me In The Eye. My husband was told he would grow up to be a serial killer, too. Turns out serial killer prediciting needs a little tuning up as a science.

Mari Sloan

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 10, 2008 7:46:31 AM PDT
"If you want a clinically accurate description of Aspergers, get a textbook."

This is my point exactly. It's a point worth making since he does present his experiences as representative of the disorder (making it inaccurate to say that he's just an interesting author saying interesting, he's a self-described "Aspergian" author presenting his experiences as typical of Asperger's, which they are not; believe me, i wish "numerous social connections" and "thriving career" were in the diagnostic descriptions).

Posted on Apr 15, 2008 10:41:48 PM PDT
Akemi says:
You do realize that every single last person with Aspergers is different, right?
Some folks can take things that would be considered an imparment to NT people and turn it into an advantage. In this case, the author turned his eccentric interests into lucrative careers.
Some people with Aspergers and autism DO get married and have children. They do not just sit in some coner and rock back and forward.
It's not as if this is a typical potrayal of those with Aspergers or autism, it's that your concept of autism and aspergers is extremely narrow.
Some folks CAN thrive with Aspergers. Some may need a bit of assistance and understanding. It helps to have an open mind.
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