Book Review| Look Me In The Eye

Look Me In The Eye: My Life With Asperger’s

By John Elder Robison

Look_Me_in_the_Eye_(book_cover)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“So is there a cure?’ I asked.
“It’s not a disease,” he explained. “It doesn’t need curing. It’s just how you are”

 

This memoir pulled me in right away. In Look Me In The Eye: My Life With Asperger’s, John Elder Robison recounts his childhood with a straight forward candidness and a story telling style that makes for easy reading or listening. The emotions his story evokes run the gamut from humorous to heartbreaking and everything in between. Many of the events he recounts are of a mature nature.

There is sense of hope as well as moments of dark humor. I liked the balance in this memoir. As a mother, I found myself both horrified and chuckling at some of his childhood dealings with his little brother. The recounting of his various careers is amazing, considering he was a dropout who was never expected to amount to much.

John Elder Robison’s message of finding a way and doing your best shines though. I found myself rooting for him as he told of his struggles.

I would recommend this book for any adult or young adult who is interested in learning more about Asperger’s, enjoys memoir, or who likes a good story about overcoming. Parents who are concerned with the subject matter should preview the book. This is a good book for discussion and inspiration.

Issues of Concern (I listened to the audiobook read by John Elder Robison. This was an abridged version.)

Mature topics presented in a matter of fact manner in the natural flow of the memoir. Parent’s mental illness, child abuse, father’s alcoholism, sexual abuse by a doctor against his mother, language, mentions of drug use, arrest when working with a band, mention of mother’s bisexualism, mention of brother’s same sex partner, there may be additional issues in the unabridged version

Lit Lovers Book Discussion Questions for Look Me in the Eye 

Teacher’s Guide for Look Me In The Eye http://johnrobison.com/downloads/LMITE-teachers-guide.pdf    

Student Study Guide for Look Me In The Eye http://www.johnrobison.com/downloads/LMINE_study_questions.pdf

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Beyond Rain Man|Movies and Books for Autism Acceptance Month

ByondRaininMan Books and Movies

 

 

 

 

 

Here is a short list of movies and books for anyone who would like to learn more about ASD by watching movies or reading a good book. Read reviews for content advisories.

Adam(2009) Romance, Drama Rated PG-13 for thematic material, sexual content and language.

Adam, a young man with asperger’s, meets his upstairs neighbor, Beth, and they fall in love. Read a review from Common Sense Media here.

 

Temple Grandin (2010) TV PG Biography, Drama

A Golden Globe and Primetime Emmy Awards Winner.

Based on the books “Emergence” by Temple Grandin and “Thinking in Pictures” by Temple Grandin.

 

Fiction

Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco Stork

My review of Marcelo in the Real World is posted here.

Rain, Reign by Ann M. Martin (for younger readers)

Read my review of Rain, Reign here.

Memoirs-Personal Biographies

Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger’s by John Elder Robison 

Read my review of Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger’s by John Elder Robison here.

I also enjoyed Be Different: My Adventures with Asperger’s and My Advice for Fellow Aspergians, Misfits, Families, and Teachers by John Elder Robison 

Pretending to Be Normal by Liane Holiday Willey 

Do you have any to add? Please comment. Have you seen or read any of these? What did you think?

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Book Review |Ghost Boy

Ghost Boy: The Miraculous Escape of a Misdiagnosed Boy Trapped Inside His Own Body

Martin Pistorious

ghost boy book cover

 

“I didn’t have proof that He existed, but I believed in Him anyway because I knew He was real. God did the same for me. Unlike people, He didn’t need proof that I existed—He knew I did.” 

 

 

Martin fell ill with a mysterious condition at age twelve and gradually lost the ability to move or speak and slipped into an unresponsive state. He was gone. Then Martin’s mind slowly ‘woke up’ but he could not control his body or speak. He could not tell anyone.

I found Ghost Boy: The Miraculous Escape of a Misdiagnosed Boy Trapped Inside His Own Body by Martin Pistorious well written and the style easy to follow. The biography is deeply touching, inspirational, and heartbreaking by turns. Martin writes about his struggles, dreams, frustrations, desires, and trials. His observations on life, human nature, and love often spoke deeply to me.

This is an emotional read. I had to put this book down several times but was constantly drawn back until I finished reading. Because of the subject matter, it was not always easy to read, but is well worth the time.

This is a story of resilience of the human spirit and of reclaiming life.

The ending is a happy, beautiful one.

SPOILERS

Martin is assumed to be in a vegetative state, but his mind has slowly been regaining awareness while his body remains unresponsive to his will. One caregiver sees meaning in Martin’s responses and if not for that one person, Martin may never have been released from his solitary existence, unable to communicate.

Part of the book talks about physical and sexual abuse suffered at the hands of his caregivers and is downright horrific.

This is a story that makes you think and wonder about how many people who are assumed to be in an unresponsive mental state may actually be aware. The accounts of abuse are disturbing and bring to light the vulnerability of those at the mercy of untrustworthy caregivers.

I read the kindle edition of this book.

I found this blog post Five Reasons You Need to Read ‘Ghost Boy’ by Martin Pistorius on Ollibean. The article tells about the story, so contains spoilers.

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Book Review|Chinese Cinderella by Adeline Yen Mah

ChineseCinderellaChinese Cinderella: The True Story of an Unwanted Daughter

by Adeline Yen Mah

This story begins in 1941 when Adeline is four years old and tells of growing up as an unwanted fifth child of a wealthy family.  Adeline’ s mother died giving birth to her. Because of this, Adeline was considered ‘bad luck’. Adeline’s father remarried and two more children were added to the family. This is not the tale of a happy childhood, but is a story of perseverance and hope.

Chinese Cinderella is an easy to read memoir of Adeline’s childhood until age fourteen. The message is a positive one of working hard and believing in yourself even if no one else does. This book encourages the reader to understand and remember that everyone has value and potential.

The historical tidbits throughout are interesting without being overwhelming. The depictions of the family dynamics and culture felt genuine. I enjoyed this read.

The topics in this book can be a springboard for discussion of many issues.

There are instances of cruelty and neglect, both physical and emotional.

SPOILER

In one part of the book, Adeline is bitten by her father’s dog.

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