Monday, July 9, 2007

Look Me in the Eye gets its first big review

In Kirkus Reviews, July 15. Here's a link to Kirkus, but you may need to subscribe to see it.

http://www.kirkusreviews.com/kirkusreviews/magazine/nonfiction.jsp

Luckily, they said I could quote it, so here's what they said . . .

Affecting, on occasion surprisingly comic memoir about growing up with Asperger's syndrome.

Those who have this autism spectrum disorder are often seen as weird, because of their odd mannerisms and expressions and their difficulties in talking to other people. But Asperger's may also confer rare talents, such as the ability to focus intently and to think rapidly and creatively, notes the author, who wrote this text at the urging of younger brother Augusten Burroughs (Running with Scissors, 2002, etc.). A social misfit helped not at all by a battery of therapists, Robison admits that his behavior was decidedly disturbing, sometimes foolish and often dangerous. Asperger's can lead to a life of isolation, but the author credits interested adults with drawing him out as a child and keeping him engaged with human beings. He dropped out of high school at age 15 and left home at 16, impelled by a troubled family situation (alcoholic father, mentally disturbed mother) into the working world. While people were a mystery to him, machines were not. He became a self-taught sound engineer for rock bands and later a designer of electronic toys. The discovery at age 40 that his strangeness had a name altered Robison's view of himself, giving him a new confidence and enabling him to find more acceptable ways of coping with other people. He has learned to look them in the eye and even make small talk. His essays on choosing a wife and on naming people (he calls his spouse Unit Two, because she's a middle sister) suggest that the prankster in him still lives, but they also demonstrate the oddness of the Asperger's mind. Chapters on his son and on his late discovery of friendship are truly moving.

The view from inside this little-understood disorder offers both cold comfort and real hope, which makes it an exceptionally useful contribution to the literature.

The above is (c) 2007 Kirkus Reviews

Kirkus is notoriously hard on authors. For example, they summarize another review on the page after mine as "Drivel about a driveler." I was so glad there was nothing bad in mine!

18 comments:

Jill Elaine Hughes said...

What a fantastic review. Congrats.

John Elder Robison said...

Wow, that was fast. You put up a comment 10 minutes after the post appeared.

How's your new book deal going?

Drama Mama said...

WOW. I was just at the park at the other day when I overheard two autism mommies talking and eagerly anticipating your book.

You are the Jesus Christ of the autism set.

Congratulations on a great review. Can't wait.

John Elder Robison said...

Drama Mama, your statement is suggestive of something bad wrong with our society . . . you went to a park and saw TWO autism moms?

Are they so common where you are that they run in packs?

You know the worst of this?

Moms look all around for a cause . . . something to blame. Mercury in vaccine? Lead? The truth is, there are so many chemicals all around us, and none of us know what each one may do, let alone the random combinations that surround us.

And how will we clean it up, without a collapse of society?

How will we even figure out what to clean?

It took 20+ years for real action on cigarette cmoking - a obvious hazard.

On a brighter note, I am planning my book tour. Do you have many contacts in the autism community out there in LA, to give me an idea if I should do a reading there, and if so, where?

Trish Ryan said...

That's a great review - it must have been such a relief to read these enthusiastic words after the "driveler" review!

irene said...

"Drivel about a driveler."
Yikes! You earned a fabulous review, Congratulations!

Frank Baron said...

Great review John - congrats! :)

Aspergertopia said...

Awesome review! I am so looking forward to reading your book.

Kim Stagliano said...

Woof!

Kim Stagliano said...

We are that common. We do run in packs. There's safety in numbers.....

Chumplet said...

That was a fabulous review, John. It'll be the first of many, I'm sure. Congratulations!

Tena said...

John, what a beautiful review! I can't wait to get my hands on a copy of your book.

Best, always, with woofs,

Tena

PS Will you be in Chicago?

Michelle O'Neil said...

Congratulations John!

The first of many great reviews I am sure.

John Elder Robison said...

Tena, I am working on a Chicago date now and I'll have the tour dates appearing weekly on my web site

http://www.johnrobison.com/appearances.asp

I should have something scheduled soon.

And thanks to all of you for your support. I just learned there's another review out today, too . . . I will post it in the morning. A week of reviews . . .

Holly Kennedy said...

A big congrats from Canada, John.
This is a wonderful review.

WOOF, as you'd say!

Kanani said...

Hey, they didn't savage you!
They must've been well fed that day! ;0)

John Elder Robison said...

Kanani, you are so right about that! Before my review came out I had read what they said about some earlier books . . . .scary!!

Drama Mama said...

John,
Yes, Kim S. said it. We do run in packs. We are also very close to Silicon Valley, so go figure.
We are a friggin mafia - we can squeeze, trampoline and include with the one hand tied behind our collective backs.

I'm not in L.A.; I'm in San Francisco. Any chance you're coming this way? If so, I've got some Moms who want a piece of you!