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

by

Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger's Cover

ISBN13: 9780307395986
ISBN10: 0307395987
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Ever since he was small, John Robison had longed to connect with other people, but by the time he was a teenager, his odd habits—an inclination to blurt out non sequiturs, avoid eye contact, dismantle radios, and dig five-foot holes (and stick his younger brother in them) — had earned him the label "social deviant." No guidance came from his mother, who conversed with light fixtures, or his father, who spent evenings pickling himself in sherry. It was no wonder he gravitated to machines, which could, at least, be counted on.

After fleeing his parents and dropping out of high school, his savant-like ability to visualize electronic circuits landed him a gig with KISS, for whom he created their legendary fire-breathing guitars. Later, he drifted into a "real" job, as an engineer for a major toy company. But the higher Robison rose in the company, the more he had to pretend to be "normal" and do what he simply couldn't: communicate. It wasn't worth the paycheck.

It was not until he was forty that an insightful therapist told him he had the form of autism called Asperger's syndrome. That understanding transformed the way Robison saw himself — and the world.

Look Me in the Eye is the moving, darkly funny story of growing up with Asperger's at a time when the diagnosis simply didn't exist. A born storyteller, Robison takes you inside the head of a boy whom teachers and other adults regarded as "defective," who could not avail himself of KISS's endless supply of groupies, and who still has a peculiar aversion to using people's given names (he calls his wife "Unit Two"). He also provides a fascinating reverse angle on the younger brother he left at the mercy of their nutty parents — the boy who would later change his name to Augusten Burroughs and write the bestselling memoir Running with Scissors.

Ultimately, this is the story of Robison's journey from his world into ours, and his new life as a husband, father, and successful small business owner — repairing his beloved high-end automobiles. It's a strange, sly, indelible account — sometimes alien, yet always deeply human.

Review:

"'Robison's thoughtful and thoroughly memorable account of living with Asperger's syndrome is assured of media attention (and sales) due in part to his brother Augusten Burroughs's brief but fascinating description of Robison in Running with Scissors. But Robison's story is much more fully detailed in this moving memoir, beginning with his painful childhood, his abusive alcoholic father and his mentally disturbed mother. Robison describes how from nursery school on he could not communicate effectively with others, something his brain 'is not wired to do,' since kids with Asperger's don't recognize 'common social cues' and 'body language or facial expressions.' Failing in junior high, Robison was encouraged by some audiovisual teachers to fix their broken equipment, and he discovered a more comfortable world of machines and circuits, 'of muted colors, soft light, and mechanical perfection.' This led to jobs (and many hilarious events) in worlds where strange behavior is seen as normal: developing intricate rocket-shooting guitars for the rock band Kiss and computerized toys for the Milton Bradley company. Finally, at age 40, while Robison was running a successful business repairing high-end cars, a therapist correctly diagnosed him as having Asperger's. In the end, Robison succeeds in his goal of 'helping those who are struggling to grow up or live with Asperger's' to see how it 'is not a disease' but 'a way of being' that needs no cure except understanding and encouragement from others. (Sept.)' Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)"

Review:

"[A] remarkably intelligent man who has created an exceptional life for himself, and his story is worth being told." Chicago Sun-Times

Review:

"Robison seems likable, honest and completely free of guile, qualities well served by writing that is lean, powerful in its descriptive accuracy and engaging in its understated humor." Chicago Tribune

Review:

"[E]ven among the growing number of books written by those diagnosed later in life, this entry is easily recommended." Library Journal

Review:

"Look Me In The Eye is a wonderful surprise on so many levels: it is compassionate, funny, and deeply insightful. By the end, I realized my vision of the world had undergone a slight but permanent alteration; I had taken for granted that our behavioral conventions were meaningful, when in fact they are arbitrary. That he is able to illuminate something so simple (but hidden, and unalterable) proves that John Elder Robison is at least as good a writer as he is an engineer, if not better." Haven Kimmel (who was in attendance at the 1978 KISS tour*), author of A Girl Named Zippy

Review:

"I hugely enjoyed reading Look Me in the Eye, This book is a wild rollercoaster ride through John Robison's life — from troubled teenage prankster to successful employment in electronics, music, and classic cars. A kindly professor introduced him to electrical engineering, which led to jobs where he found techie soulmates that were like him. A fascinating glimpse into the mind of an engineer which should be on the reading list of anyone who is interested in the human mind." Temple Grandin, author of Thinking in Pictures and Animals in Translation

Review:

"John Robison's book is an immensely affecting account of a life lived according to his gifts rather than his limitations. His story provides ample evidence for my belief that individuals on the autistic spectrum are just as capable of rich and productive lives as anyone else." Daniel Tammet, author of Born on a Blue Day: Inside the Extraordinary Mind of an Autistic Savant

Synopsis:

A cutting-edge account of the latest science of autism, from the best-selling author and advocate

Synopsis:

A cutting-edge account of the latest science of autism, from the best-selling author and advocate

When Temple Grandin was born in 1947, autism had only just been named. Today it is more prevalent than ever, with one in 88 children diagnosed on the spectrum. And our thinking about it has undergone a transformation in her lifetime: Autism studies have moved from the realm of psychology to neurology and genetics, and there is far more hope today than ever before thanks to groundbreaking new research into causes andand#160;treatments. Now Temple Grandin reports from the forefront of autism science, bringing her singular perspective to a thrilling journey into the heart of the autism revolution.

Weaving her own experience with remarkable new discoveries, Grandin introduces the neuroimaging advances and genetic research that link brain science to behavior, even sharing her own brain scan to show us which anomalies might explain common symptoms. We meet the scientists and self-advocates who are exploring innovative theories of what causes autism and how we can diagnose and best treat it. Grandin also highlights long-ignored sensory problems and the transformative effects we can have by treating autism symptom by symptom, rather than with an umbrella diagnosis. Most exciting, she argues that raising and educating kids on the spectrum isnand#8217;t just a matter of focusing on their weaknesses; in the science that reveals their long-overlooked strengths she shows us new ways to foster their unique contributions.

From the and#8220;aspiesand#8221; in Silicon Valley to the five-year-old without language, Grandin understands the true meaning of the word spectrum. The Autistic Brain is essential reading from the most respected and beloved voices in the field.

About the Author

John Elder Robinson lives with his wife and son in Amherst, Massachusetts. His company, J. E. Robison Service, repairs and restores fine European automobiles. Visit his website at www.johnrobison.com.

Table of Contents

and#160;and#160; Prologueand#8195;ii

The Autistic Brain

and#160;and#160; 1. The Meanings of Autismand#8195;3

and#160;and#160; 2. Lighting Up the Autistic Brainand#8195;21

and#160;and#160; 3. Sequencing the Autistic Brainand#8195;50

and#160;and#160; 4. Hiding and Seekingand#8195;69

Rethinking the Autistic Brain

and#160;and#160; 5. Failing on the Spectrumand#8195;101

and#160;and#160; 6. Knowing Your Own Strengthsand#8195;117

and#160;and#160; 7. Rethinking in Picturesand#8195;134

and#160;and#160; 8. From the Margins to the Mainstreamand#8195;171

and#160;and#160; Appendixand#8195;07

and#160;and#160; Notesand#8195;17

and#160;and#160; Acknowledgmentsand#8195;29

and#160;and#160; Indexand#8195;31

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 4 comments:

essie, June 8, 2008 (view all comments by essie)
I found this autobiographical sketch more helpful to my diagnostic ability than all the papers I'd read on Asperger's Syndrome. John Elder Robison lets you see, hear and feel the nature of this condition in a way that makes it immediately recognizable in others. When I closed the book I had made two diagnoses in adults who were happy to have a name for their difference and to know they were not alone. Both of them immediately read and treasured this book.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(21 of 34 readers found this comment helpful)
Janna Mauldin Heiner, April 12, 2008 (view all comments by Janna Mauldin Heiner)
In _look me in the eye_, John Elder Robison gives a compelling, heartbreaking, humorous, and intensely honest account of what it was like for him growing up with Asperger's syndrome in a world hinged on "normalcy." Beautifully written, the story of Robison's struggle to fit in is an enlightening tour of a point of view that is becoming more and more common (statistics show a continuing increase in the incidence of Asperger's and other autism-spectrum disorders). You probably know an Aspergian. You probably don't understand him (or her). You should.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(19 of 31 readers found this comment helpful)
bbacker, February 23, 2008 (view all comments by bbacker)
With straight-forward prose and the ability to describe incidents in detail, Robison brings us an inside view of how his way of thinking and responding to life is different from others'. His book is not so much a description of Asperger's Syndrome as it is an account of living as an Aspergian. His story-telling skills keep this memoir moving along with humor. I finished the book with a better understanding of the strengths and skills of many people I associate with daily.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(14 of 23 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 4 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780307395986
Subtitle:
Thinking Across the Spectrum
Author:
Robison, John Elder
Author:
Grandin, Temple
Author:
Panek, Richard
Author:
Elder, Robison John
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Subject:
Personal Memoirs
Subject:
Specific Groups - Special Needs
Subject:
Mental Illness
Subject:
United states
Subject:
Patients
Subject:
Mental health
Subject:
Robison, John Elder - Mental health
Subject:
Asperger's syndrome - Patients -
Subject:
Biography - General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20130430
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
24 b/w photos and illustrations; through
Pages:
256
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 0.95 lb

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Related Subjects

Biography » General
Health and Self-Help » Child Psychology » Autism
Health and Self-Help » Psychology » Autism
Health and Self-Help » Psychology » General

Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger's Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$5.50 In Stock
Product details 256 pages Crown Publishers - English 9780307395986 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "'Robison's thoughtful and thoroughly memorable account of living with Asperger's syndrome is assured of media attention (and sales) due in part to his brother Augusten Burroughs's brief but fascinating description of Robison in Running with Scissors. But Robison's story is much more fully detailed in this moving memoir, beginning with his painful childhood, his abusive alcoholic father and his mentally disturbed mother. Robison describes how from nursery school on he could not communicate effectively with others, something his brain 'is not wired to do,' since kids with Asperger's don't recognize 'common social cues' and 'body language or facial expressions.' Failing in junior high, Robison was encouraged by some audiovisual teachers to fix their broken equipment, and he discovered a more comfortable world of machines and circuits, 'of muted colors, soft light, and mechanical perfection.' This led to jobs (and many hilarious events) in worlds where strange behavior is seen as normal: developing intricate rocket-shooting guitars for the rock band Kiss and computerized toys for the Milton Bradley company. Finally, at age 40, while Robison was running a successful business repairing high-end cars, a therapist correctly diagnosed him as having Asperger's. In the end, Robison succeeds in his goal of 'helping those who are struggling to grow up or live with Asperger's' to see how it 'is not a disease' but 'a way of being' that needs no cure except understanding and encouragement from others. (Sept.)' Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)"
"Review" by , "[A] remarkably intelligent man who has created an exceptional life for himself, and his story is worth being told."
"Review" by , "Robison seems likable, honest and completely free of guile, qualities well served by writing that is lean, powerful in its descriptive accuracy and engaging in its understated humor."
"Review" by , "[E]ven among the growing number of books written by those diagnosed later in life, this entry is easily recommended."
"Review" by , "Look Me In The Eye is a wonderful surprise on so many levels: it is compassionate, funny, and deeply insightful. By the end, I realized my vision of the world had undergone a slight but permanent alteration; I had taken for granted that our behavioral conventions were meaningful, when in fact they are arbitrary. That he is able to illuminate something so simple (but hidden, and unalterable) proves that John Elder Robison is at least as good a writer as he is an engineer, if not better."
"Review" by , "I hugely enjoyed reading Look Me in the Eye, This book is a wild rollercoaster ride through John Robison's life — from troubled teenage prankster to successful employment in electronics, music, and classic cars. A kindly professor introduced him to electrical engineering, which led to jobs where he found techie soulmates that were like him. A fascinating glimpse into the mind of an engineer which should be on the reading list of anyone who is interested in the human mind."
"Review" by , "John Robison's book is an immensely affecting account of a life lived according to his gifts rather than his limitations. His story provides ample evidence for my belief that individuals on the autistic spectrum are just as capable of rich and productive lives as anyone else."
"Synopsis" by , A cutting-edge account of the latest science of autism, from the best-selling author and advocate
"Synopsis" by ,
A cutting-edge account of the latest science of autism, from the best-selling author and advocate

When Temple Grandin was born in 1947, autism had only just been named. Today it is more prevalent than ever, with one in 88 children diagnosed on the spectrum. And our thinking about it has undergone a transformation in her lifetime: Autism studies have moved from the realm of psychology to neurology and genetics, and there is far more hope today than ever before thanks to groundbreaking new research into causes andand#160;treatments. Now Temple Grandin reports from the forefront of autism science, bringing her singular perspective to a thrilling journey into the heart of the autism revolution.

Weaving her own experience with remarkable new discoveries, Grandin introduces the neuroimaging advances and genetic research that link brain science to behavior, even sharing her own brain scan to show us which anomalies might explain common symptoms. We meet the scientists and self-advocates who are exploring innovative theories of what causes autism and how we can diagnose and best treat it. Grandin also highlights long-ignored sensory problems and the transformative effects we can have by treating autism symptom by symptom, rather than with an umbrella diagnosis. Most exciting, she argues that raising and educating kids on the spectrum isnand#8217;t just a matter of focusing on their weaknesses; in the science that reveals their long-overlooked strengths she shows us new ways to foster their unique contributions.

From the and#8220;aspiesand#8221; in Silicon Valley to the five-year-old without language, Grandin understands the true meaning of the word spectrum. The Autistic Brain is essential reading from the most respected and beloved voices in the field.

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