Book Review: Look Me in te Eye, by John Elder Robison


There was an old joke that  people used to tell, about a couple who had a child, and the child never learned to talk. The  parents asked the doctor, and the doctor said he’ll talk when he was ready.  One day, during dinner, the child said “The soup is too salty.”  The parents were overjoyed that the child talked, and asked him why he didn’t talk, and the child said, “Things were fine until now.”  Funny?

Not if you are the parent of a child with autism or Aspergers.  Thanks to Temple Grandin, there is more publicity about  the autism spectrum.  Aspergians (like me, & the author of this book) are high functioning, and this is not a disease.  It is a personality type.

I learned about  this about  9 years ago, when I read Temple Grandin’s Thinking in Pictures.  I  then asked several clients who were psychologists, and they laughed and said, “Yep, this is you.”

A ‘fellow Aspergian’ gave me this book. The author happens to be the brother of Augusten Burroughs, who wrote the classic, Running With Scissors.   Their parents had serious mental problems, adding to their  complications.   Robison is a lucid writer, and he goes into  the cogent details of why he & Augusten have different surnames, and  how he coped with being different.  He was not ‘diagnosed’ until he was an adult.  Then, suddenly,  all the troubles he had fitting in(to society on The Wrong Planet) fell into place, and he was able to start dealing with people.

He’s had a remarkably  interesting life, being a road engineer for KISS, inventing games for Mattel, and finding his way.

If you  know someone who seems very intelligent, but has no social skills,  get this book.  It was just published in 2007 and has been through several printings. I am sure you can get it on Amazon if your local bookstore can’t order it.

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