Townhouse Books

Monday, March 24, 2008

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

Did you know that Augusten Burroughs has a brother with Asperger's Syndrome? After people responded to Burroughs' descriptions of his brother in Running with Scissors, John Elder Robison decided to write his own memoir. If you've read any of Temple Grandin's books, Robison's writing style will seem familiar. His matter-of-fact tone in describing his life stays the same whether he's relating a memory of his father putting out a cigarette on his brother's forehead, or Ace Frehley of KISS offering him a job designing guitars. He left home at age 16, lived in the woods, fixed amps for Pink Floyd, designed toys for Milton Bradley, married twice, and had one son.

Robison was never diagnosed with Asperger's until much later in life, when he had capitalized on his savant-like skills and become a business owner. His experiences have been remarkable, but it is emotional and financial security that he values. In that respect, his diagnosis has given him the vocabulary he needs to describe how he sees the world, and to ask others to treat him as he wishes to be treated.

I was really moved by this book. There are so many people out there who fall on the spectrum between autism and high-functioning Asperger's syndrome -- Robison's patience and courage in sharing his gifts and limitations could make life better for many others who can't express themselves at this level.


Search Worldcat