Saturday, May 21, 2011

A guy to inspire you

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

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

John Elder Robison is Augusten Burroughs' older brother. While I didn't love Running with scissors, I was inspired to pick up this book after cataloging Robison's most recent effort, Be different: adventures of a free-range Aspergian, with practical advice for Aspergians, misfits, families & teachers. That one caught my interest because it is a book about Asperger's that is actually directed to folks with Asperger's (or Aspergians, in Robison's lingo). His memoir covers different ground than his brother's book. There is a significant age difference in the brothers, plus Robison's status as an Aspergian gives him a much different take on life and his surroundings than his non-Aspergian sibling.

The writing is a little choppy, but after a bit I got used to the flow of it and I think the funny rhythm actually ultimately helped me to understand how Robison thinks. He is surprisingly funny in an extremely deadpan way. Despite his unusual way of expressing himself, Robison is very self-aware. I found this book to be quite inspiring, in a very non-Lifetime television special kind of way. Robison had a rough time as a kid and an adolescent, between his crazy parents and his Aspergian personality. He did not succeed in the normal ways early in life, but he somehow didn't let that discourage him from pursuing his natural talents and he ended up becoming a successful human being anyway. He is not the same as most of the other folks in his life, but he seems to be okay with that. Very cool.

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