Today I’m participating in Nonfiction Monday (Yo! Suen!) with an adult book. (Yes, Roger. I do read adult books. Double score!)
Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger’s was written by John Elder Robinson, brother of Augusten Burroughs, author of Running With Scissors, which devoted a chapter to the misdiagnosed sibling. Got it? Now we hear John’s story.
The chapters about John’s early years were of most interest to me. I felt like I was getting a view inside the head of someone who is trying so hard to communicate and not getting it right. He writes that contrary to common belief, a child with Asperger’s has emotions but can’t express them in the “appropriate” way. He describes how he had to learn logically the correct response to “Look at my Tonka truck!” where other kids knew what to say based on social cues and context. He explains that his natural remarks could seem random because he was following his own train of thought before his response. While adults were more tolerant of his random remarks, he shared how in ways it hurt him because he didn’t learn the correct way to relate to other people.
As a teenager, John found an interest in electronics and sound, and through a series of contacts he became the sound engineer and guitar designer for KISS. He describes his tours with the band his own behavior was fairly tame, unlike that of the band and his return to his home life. The ending chapters about his corporate work and later his own company didn’t hold my attention as well, but overall it was an interesting and insightful book.