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January 14, 2009

look me in the eye

my life with asperger's
John Elder Robinson - ISBN - 9780307396181

This well written memoir is, in my seldom humble opinion, better than several others on the subject in recent times. It better opens one's eyes to the difficulty in living with Asperger's Syndrome, a now recognized mild variant of Autism. It is also testament to the fact that one can learn around the difficulty in order to behave more like a "normal" person. Normal, as was observed by an ancient sage, is little more than "the average number of idiosyncrasies." We are all peculiar, just some more than others; and, perhaps, we can all improve our deportment by learning around our own individual peculiarities.

As well, though he doesn't ever mention it specifically, it exhibits the importance of individual resilience when dealing with adversity, encouraging the rest of us with less significant difficulties to strive until we overcome. He did it. Whazzimatter with me?

Best, I believe, is the clear way in which he explores details of himself from early youth until mature adulthood. Not only does the reader begin to understand and sympathize with the writer and others with this disability, but if honestly read, there is cause to explore one's own depths to better understand one's personal, unusual characteristics. One also ought to be able to project this insight into an understanding of the difficulties of other kinds in other people, the better to encourage charity and acceptance in lieu of pith and intolerance.

When John was young . . . indeed until he became much older . . . it was assumed that he was a sociopath. He was expected at some time in later years to commit any of a number of detestable crimes. Instead he has become a sophisticated engineer of some renown-- an autodidact at that. He now owns his own company with 20+ employees and specializes in the repair of expensive, sophisticated automobiles no one else will touch.

It ought to be mentioned that he is the brother of Augustine Burroughs, author of Running with ScissorsΒΈ amongst other tracts, who encouraged and perhaps helped in the preparation of this quite revealing book.

It is an absorbing life story about overcoming adversity, and is told in a straight-forward, often self deprecating manner with a singular absence of emotion: "Just the facts, ma'am," as Joe Friday might have said.

When I picked the book up I was just looking for something unusual to read. It is that. And it is very much worth the indulgence. I highly recommend it.

Posted by respeto at January 14, 2009 12:09 PM