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I give this a rare 5 stars. I loved this book! John Elder Robison gives us a great insider's view into the world of Asperger's. His ability to play pranks and tell big whopping lies (his "sanitation engineer" stories had me legitimately laughing out loud on my lunch break!) with his diagnosis is amazing. Many of the students and adults I have worked with do not have that innate ability of lying or bending the truth. They can't say "It was nice to see you," at the end of a conversation if they did not legitimately enjoy seeing that person, because it is illogical. John talks about that more towards the end of the book, how he has to work to remember that someone's child is in college and that asking how they are doing is a good social maneuver. The ability to have "small talk" is not something many ASD people are born with.
The story of John Elder trying to make friends with Chuckie in the beginning of the book is such a wonderful example of Asperger's. He knows how to make friends with Poodle, so why would it be a different method for a human? Robison's ability to observe the social skills of others and to learn on his own is remarkable. Many students I've worked with in the past just don't have that ability, and I'm so glad John Elder was able to build himself a good set of life skills and make a good life for himself.
Still the best source (and best author) for Asperger's I've found. If you've ever been around someone with Asperger's and spent time getting to know them better, you'll understand exactly why the book was written the way it is.
Unfortunately this book makes Aspergers syndrome look like a walk in the park. The author wasted a lot of space talking about his electronic and musical accomplishments which are fine and many with this syndrome have. The real problems people with this affliction face is much greater and in most cases much more severe than this author has experienced. His parents genetic and emotional problems are probably more of a cause for his behaviour than Aspergers syndrome. Having Aspergers can be a very frustrating and lonely affliction and can give people the mistaken opinion that all that it is, is not knowing social clues. IT is much more debilitating and emotionally disruptive in a persons life.
John Elder is not as good of a writer as his brother Augusten Burroughs, but the book gives us a look into the views of a man growing up with Asperger's Syndrome before such a thing had a name.
An entertaining read. Very insightful. Helps you understand the life of a person with aspergers from the inside out. Recommended read.
Any book that can take you inside the mind of someone with Asperger's, when you have a family member with it, is valuable in my opinion. An enjoyable read.
A good story of one man's struggle with "being different" and with no support, but surviving and thriving in the end. A good look into perceptions of a person with Asperger's
I enjoyed the first part of the book where Robison describes growing up with autism from his point of view and reflects on how that view point is different from people not on the austism spectrum. Yet I felt the latter part of the book felt rushed and repetative.
This book truly helped me understand and sympathize with what's it's like to be Aspergian.
My sister recommended I read Look Me in the Eye. She also grew up as an undiagnosed Aspergian, like the author. He gives insight into how hard it was growing up misunderstood and how he struggled with why he couldn't be "normal". He talks a little at the end about what a relief it was when he was finally diagnosed, he finally had an explanation for why he was different, which is very similar to what my sister felt when she was diagnosed. He also talks very candidly about growing up the son of abusive alcoholics and how his mother's struggle with her own mental illness affected him.
My only criticism is I kind of lost interest for a little while in the middle because he talked a lot about going on tour with KISS and working for a toy company and different pranks he pulled. They were good stories, but I felt like his writing in these parts lost a little of the personal tone that made the rest of the book so powerful.
I think everyone, not just people who have or know someone who has Asperger's, should read this book to gain an understanding of people who act a little different.
I'd read this book because I have a family member with Asperger's, but this is a fascinating story in its own right. This book is often funny, sometimes sad, but it is an always fascinating book for looking at the world from someone else's perspective. The connection to the Running With Scissors family may be an added bonus for some people, and the connection to classic rock bands like Kiss and PInk Floyd may be an added bonus for some other readers.
Since I love his brother's work I was already half sold before I started the read. Turned out to like it much.
This gives a better picture of a person with Asperger's Syndrome (now merely on the high functioning end of the autism spectrum as the term is being dropped) than nonfiction books on the subject. Robison tells it like it was for him and does so with humor and insight. Incidentally he invented stuff for Pink Floyd and Kiss, so there are a few insider rock stories. Even if you don't know a person on this spectrum (actually you probably do but don't know it) you might find yourself hesitating to rush to judgement on someone until you understand their worldview a bit better. In spite of the icky picture on the cover, this is a highly entertaining book.