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Not Even Wrong: A Father's Journey Into the Lost History of Autism

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Not Even Wrong: A Father's Journey Into the Lost History of Autism Cover

ISBN13: 9781582344782
ISBN10: 1582344787
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In Not Even Wrong, Paul Collins melds a memoir of his son's autism with a journey into this realm of permanent outsiders. Examining forgotten geniuses and obscure medical archives, and beginning to see why he himself has spent a lifetime researching talented eccentrics, Collins shows how these stories are relevant and even necessary to shed light on autism.

Review:

"This is a smart, compassionate study of autists — 'the ultimate square pegs' — and how they see the world..." Publishers Weekly

Review:

"Collins elucidates, with great compassion, what it means to be 'normal' and what it means to be human." Los Angeles Times

Review:

"Brilliant." Vanity Fair

Review:

"Striking. Brave man, brave book." Washington Post

Review:

"A genre-bending spellbinder." Newsday

Review:

"Few things are more heartbreaking than learning that your child is destined to be an outsider...Collins conveys this sad truth beautifully. A fascinating portrait of his son. (Grade A)" Entertainment Weekly

Review:

"Not Even Wrong, thankfully, includes us on a sweet, sad voyage into a disorder about which we know very little. Collins' book serves as a meditation on the meaning of 'normal'..." Oregonian

Review:

"Collins steers clear of pat answers....Ultimately, Collins' struggle to gain insight into his son's own autism successfully builds to an emotional pitch..." Seattle Times

Synopsis:

In Not Even Wrong, Paul Collins melds a memoir of his son's autism with a journey into this realm of permanent outsiders. Examining forgotten geniuses and obscure medical archives, and beginning to see why he himself has spent a lifetime researching talented eccentrics, Collins shows how these stories are relevant and even necessary to shed light on autism.

Synopsis:

In Not Even Wrong, Paul Collins melds a memoir of his son's autism with a journey into this realm of permanent outsiders. Examining forgotten geniuses and obscure medical archives, and beginning to see why he himself has spent a lifetime researching talented eccentrics, Collins shows how these stories are relevant and even necessary to shed light on autism.

Paul Collins is the author of Sixpence House and Banvard's Folly: Thirteen Tales of People Who Didn't Change the World. He edits the Collins Library for McSweeney's Books lives in Iowa with his wife and son.
When Paul Collins' son Morgan was two years old, he could read, spell, and perform arithmetic in his head, but not answer his name. A casual conversation—or any social interaction that the rest of us take for granted—is, for Morgan, a cryptogram to be painstakingly decoded. He seems to live in a world of his own: an autistic world.

Not Even Wrong picks up where the national bestseller Sixpence House left off, bringing Paul Collins' trademark blend of personal observation and forgotten stories from history to bear on his son's autism. As Morgan is diagnosed, Collins realizes who he has been drawn to one unusual tale: that of Peter the wild boy, the nearly mute feral child discovered in the Black Forest in 1725, who went on to caper through Kensington Palace, meet Swift and Defoe, and haunt the births of Romanticism, zoology, and even the theory of evolution. Interweaving Peter's story with his own family's struggle with Morgan's development, Collins delves into the lives of autists, finding their traces in numerous tales of solitary eccentrics who made astonishing scientific advances. His quest takes him from an English churchyard to the Seattle labs of Microsoft, from a Wisconsin prison cell block to the streets of Vienna, and to the offices of scientists leading the inquiry into this only faintly understood disorder.

And finally he begins to see the outlines of a story that connects the life of a wild boy to his own life, and to Morgan's.

Not Even Wrong is a haunting journey into the borderlands of neurology—a meditation on what "normal" is, and how human genius comes to us in strange and wondrous forms.

"Collins elucidates, with great compassion, what it means to be 'normal' and what it means to be human."—Los Angeles Times

"Paul Collins reminds us that the way 'we' conventionally think may be just one very inaccurate take on the reality that surrounds us . . . Brave man. Brave book."—The Washington Post Book World

"Paul Collins brilliantly interweaves the story of his sons autism with tales of other troubled and eccentric outsiders, from Peter the Wild Boy to Eddie Van Halen."—Vanity Fair

"Few things are more heartbreaking than learning that your child is destined to be an outsider . . . Collins conveys this sad truth beautifully. A fascinating portrait of his son."—Entertainment Weekly

"Not Even Wrong describes the arcane, harrowing, and turbulent world of autism, through historical figures and the author's own afflicted child. The account is both sympathetic and compelling. Anyone who labors to raise and protect an intractably complicated, misfit child will recognize the territory, and everyone else stands the chance of being broadened by the author's intelligent, humane, and deeply felt testimony."—Alec Wilkinson, author of My Mentor: A Young Man's Friendship with William Maxwell

"In this slim, reflective memoir, the author of Sixpence House takes readers from the moment he and his wife learn their three-year-old son Morgan is autistic through the long and often agonizing attempt to simply communicate with him . . . This is a smart, compassionate study of autists—'the ultimate square pegs'—and how they see the world, darkly, through the thickets of their own genius."—Publishers Weekly

About the Author

Paul Collins is the author of Sixpence House and Banvard's Folly: Thirteen Tales of People Who Didn't Change the World. He edits the Collins Library for McSweeney's Books and lives in Portland with his wife and son.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Shoshana, February 25, 2007 (view all comments by Shoshana)
+ Informative, emotional, sophisticated, and ultimately optimistic

- No substantive concerns

This is such a lovely book that I wish that you would read it so we can talk about it. Paul Collins and his wife learn that their son is autistic (probably in the Asperger's range, though he doesn't say). Collins evokes a parent's vulnerability and tenderness in relation to his son. The story of their son Morgan and their relationship with him is interwoven with historical material on feral children, savants, artists, scientists, and other probable autists. I am reasonably conversant with the literature on autism spectrum disorders, but I learned several new facts from Collins and enjoyed his restrained excoriaton of Bettelheim.

Collins is a good writer and I hope to read his earlier Banvard's Folly: Thirteen Tales of People Who Didn't Change the World soon. I enjoyed the juxtapositions of family and historical tales, particularly since these conjunctions lend a pattern-seeking layer to the reader's experience. I would have liked to know more about Morgan's mother, Jennifer. She is the most elusive character in Morgan's story.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(2 of 5 readers found this comment helpful)

Product Details

ISBN:
9781582344782
Subtitle:
A Father's Journey into the Lost History of Autism
Author:
Collins, Paul
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA
Subject:
General
Subject:
Children with Special Needs
Subject:
General Psychology & Psychiatry
Subject:
Self-Help : General
Edition Description:
Trade Paperback
Publication Date:
20050411
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
256
Dimensions:
8.86 x 5 x 0.77 in

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Related Subjects

Featured Titles » Staff Picks
Health and Self-Help » Child Psychology » Autism
Health and Self-Help » Psychology » Autism
Health and Self-Help » Self-Help » General

Not Even Wrong: A Father's Journey Into the Lost History of Autism Used Trade Paper
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$5.95 In Stock
Product details 256 pages Bloomsbury Publishing PLC - English 9781582344782 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "This is a smart, compassionate study of autists — 'the ultimate square pegs' — and how they see the world..." Publishers Weekly
"Review" by , "Collins elucidates, with great compassion, what it means to be 'normal' and what it means to be human."
"Review" by , "Brilliant."
"Review" by , "Striking. Brave man, brave book."
"Review" by , "A genre-bending spellbinder."
"Review" by , "Few things are more heartbreaking than learning that your child is destined to be an outsider...Collins conveys this sad truth beautifully. A fascinating portrait of his son. (Grade A)"
"Review" by , "Not Even Wrong, thankfully, includes us on a sweet, sad voyage into a disorder about which we know very little. Collins' book serves as a meditation on the meaning of 'normal'..."
"Review" by , "Collins steers clear of pat answers....Ultimately, Collins' struggle to gain insight into his son's own autism successfully builds to an emotional pitch..."
"Synopsis" by ,
In Not Even Wrong, Paul Collins melds a memoir of his son's autism with a journey into this realm of permanent outsiders. Examining forgotten geniuses and obscure medical archives, and beginning to see why he himself has spent a lifetime researching talented eccentrics, Collins shows how these stories are relevant and even necessary to shed light on autism.

"Synopsis" by ,
In Not Even Wrong, Paul Collins melds a memoir of his son's autism with a journey into this realm of permanent outsiders. Examining forgotten geniuses and obscure medical archives, and beginning to see why he himself has spent a lifetime researching talented eccentrics, Collins shows how these stories are relevant and even necessary to shed light on autism.

Paul Collins is the author of Sixpence House and Banvard's Folly: Thirteen Tales of People Who Didn't Change the World. He edits the Collins Library for McSweeney's Books lives in Iowa with his wife and son.
When Paul Collins' son Morgan was two years old, he could read, spell, and perform arithmetic in his head, but not answer his name. A casual conversation—or any social interaction that the rest of us take for granted—is, for Morgan, a cryptogram to be painstakingly decoded. He seems to live in a world of his own: an autistic world.

Not Even Wrong picks up where the national bestseller Sixpence House left off, bringing Paul Collins' trademark blend of personal observation and forgotten stories from history to bear on his son's autism. As Morgan is diagnosed, Collins realizes who he has been drawn to one unusual tale: that of Peter the wild boy, the nearly mute feral child discovered in the Black Forest in 1725, who went on to caper through Kensington Palace, meet Swift and Defoe, and haunt the births of Romanticism, zoology, and even the theory of evolution. Interweaving Peter's story with his own family's struggle with Morgan's development, Collins delves into the lives of autists, finding their traces in numerous tales of solitary eccentrics who made astonishing scientific advances. His quest takes him from an English churchyard to the Seattle labs of Microsoft, from a Wisconsin prison cell block to the streets of Vienna, and to the offices of scientists leading the inquiry into this only faintly understood disorder.

And finally he begins to see the outlines of a story that connects the life of a wild boy to his own life, and to Morgan's.

Not Even Wrong is a haunting journey into the borderlands of neurology—a meditation on what "normal" is, and how human genius comes to us in strange and wondrous forms.

"Collins elucidates, with great compassion, what it means to be 'normal' and what it means to be human."—Los Angeles Times

"Paul Collins reminds us that the way 'we' conventionally think may be just one very inaccurate take on the reality that surrounds us . . . Brave man. Brave book."—The Washington Post Book World

"Paul Collins brilliantly interweaves the story of his sons autism with tales of other troubled and eccentric outsiders, from Peter the Wild Boy to Eddie Van Halen."—Vanity Fair

"Few things are more heartbreaking than learning that your child is destined to be an outsider . . . Collins conveys this sad truth beautifully. A fascinating portrait of his son."—Entertainment Weekly

"Not Even Wrong describes the arcane, harrowing, and turbulent world of autism, through historical figures and the author's own afflicted child. The account is both sympathetic and compelling. Anyone who labors to raise and protect an intractably complicated, misfit child will recognize the territory, and everyone else stands the chance of being broadened by the author's intelligent, humane, and deeply felt testimony."—Alec Wilkinson, author of My Mentor: A Young Man's Friendship with William Maxwell

"In this slim, reflective memoir, the author of Sixpence House takes readers from the moment he and his wife learn their three-year-old son Morgan is autistic through the long and often agonizing attempt to simply communicate with him . . . This is a smart, compassionate study of autists—'the ultimate square pegs'—and how they see the world, darkly, through the thickets of their own genius."—Publishers Weekly

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