Nina's Reading Blog

Comments on books I am reading/listening to

Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger’s

Posted by nliakos on March 31, 2016

by John Elder Robison (Crown 2007; ISBN 978-0-307-39598-6)

In the tradition of Temple Grandin’s Thinking in Pictures and Emergence: Labeled Autistic and Daniel Tammet’s Born on a Blue Day (more here), John Elder Robison has written a fascinating account of his life. Robison’s Asperger Syndrome which was not diagnosed until he was forty years old, when a therapist friend gave him a book about Asperger’s because he felt that the book “fit [Robison] to a T.” In addition to coping with his very different way of being in the world, Robison and his younger brother, the writer Augusten Burroughs, had to deal with an alcoholic father and mentally ill mother. It wasn’t easy, to say the least. Somehow, Robison managed to make it to age sixteen, when he left home for good. He was a brilliant designer of sound and light systems, despite never finishing high school, and he managed to build a career as a sound engineer for rock bands (most notably KISS), a designer of electronic toys for Milton Bradley, and finally found his niche as a repairer and restorer of high-end automobiles in Amherst, Massachusetts. He married twice and has a son. He eventually forgave his parents and forged new relationships with them as an adult. He has obviously succeeded in his life, but it has been a struggle, which he describes in this fascinating book.

Robison’s directness and honesty are refreshing and give neuro-typical readers an opportunity to perceive the world from an autistic viewpoint. My favorite chapters are “Logic Vs. Small Talk”, where Robison explains his difficulty having conversations with neuro-typicals,  and “Married Life”, where he describes how he and his wife keep their marriage strong.

I’ve just put Robison’s new book, Switched On: A Memoir of Brain Change and Emotional Awakening, on hold, and I can’t wait to read it!

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2 Responses to “Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger’s”

  1. This sounds like a fascinating read. Getting to see the world through someone else’s perception, especially one different from our own and one often marginalized, is so important.

  2. […] recently read and blogged about Look Me in the Eye by John Elder Robison. It turns out that he also wrote two other books before this one came out […]

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