Saturday, September 6, 2008

Why do people read Look Me in the Eye?

Some books are written just to entertain. If the book is enjoyable to read on a cool fall night, that’s enough. I enjoy reading books like that sometimes, but as an author, I want more. I want my stories to help people; to increase their understanding. I especially want to give people hope. That thought was always in my mind as I wrote Look Me in the Eye.

As an author, you assume you know everything there is about your book. After all, you wrote it. When Look Me in the Eye came out in hardcover last fall, I too made that assumption. Boy, was I wrong!

As soon as my book was published, comments began coming in from teachers and parents. Something magical was happening. Teachers were taking passages that I’d written – foolish stories of my misfit childhood – and using them to teach today’s kids understanding and tolerance.

More than one parent described my book as a window into the mind of their Aspergian child. That's a very powerful thought . . . could it be true, I wondered? A year later, I see what they meant. So many behaviors that I thought were unique to me are really common to many people on the autism/Asperger spectrum

I was stunned. I had no idea that I’d written something that could be applied to others in that way. Yet it was happening. I began getting invitation to speak at schools, and I saw it for myself.

Grownups studied my story too. I began getting very moving letters from people on the spectrum, saying things like this:

Your book is more than an entertaining story about a dysfunctional family. It's even more than just a memoir by an Aspergian. It can help a lot of people to understand where they are coming from, and why they feel and behave like they do. It can teach us something about who we are. I count myself as fortunate to have read your book, because now I know more about how other Aspergians are or might be. And by knowing that, I also know more about myself and my own problems.

I realized the most remarkable thing. The book was bringing people – misfits like me – together to form a community.

Look Me in the Eye has had an effect far beyond anything I might have imagined.

I made a number of changes and improvements to the paperback edition as a result of all this feedback. You can read about the changes in earlier blog posts, or you can just read the new and improved paperback book. It’s on sale everywhere this Tuesday.

Here are a few links that talk about what I've added and improved:
http://jerobison.blogspot.com/2008/07/more-changes-to-look-me-in-eye.html
http://jerobison.blogspot.com/2008/07/changes-to-paperback-and-news-of-book.html

I’ll be kicking off a national tour to meet as many readers as possible. The dates are on the right sidebar of my blog, at http://jerobison.blogspot.com/

It all starts Tuesday night, September 9, at River Run Books in Portsmouth New Hampshire.
From there I go to Burlington, VT to the book festival. Then it’s LA, Boulder, Vail, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, Dayton, Marlborough, MA and beyond. Keep checking the blog as we'll be adding more dates.

Stop in and say hi if I come to your town. . . And I can't wait to hear what you think of my improved and enhanced paperback edition. So come back and let me know!

Woof!

24 comments:

Jess said...

Come back to Connecticut! It's been almost a year since I've seen you...

sex scenes at starbucks said...

I have two neighbors with Aspergian children and hopefully they'll both be coming to your talk in boulder!

Boulder Bookstore is a very special place, btw.

Stimey said...

Your book meant a lot to me. I'm a parent of an autistic child (PDD-NOS). I saw him (and some of me) in your book. It was eye-opening. And it's a beacon of hope. I read stories like yours and would be proud to have my son grow up to a successful life such as yours. I hope many more people read your book.

Trilogy said...

For the first few chapters I wasn't getting it at all. I didn't see anything unusual about you. I mean you seemed pretty normal to me...I thought, this guy is not much different than me! So what's all the....then the penny dropped, as we say in the old country. Knowing is better. Thanks.

The Girl from the Ghetto said...

I read it for enjoyment, and I use it to help deal with my family, as two of my peeps have Aspbergers. I loved it, just loved it, and I'm so sad you aren't coming to Detroit!


I wish you would allow comments from other blogs rather than blogger, as I'm on Wordpress.

Hinura said...

I just saw a decent sized ad on cnn for the paperback :) Gonna grab it Wednesday (Payday woohoo) after work.

John I'd try to make it up to Portsmouth Tuesday night but its an hour plus drive each way and my kids have school the next day :(

Jill Elaine Hughes said...

Your book meant a lot to me, since I found it to be wonderfully entertaining, and also enlightening, since I'm married to someone who displays some Aspergian traits.

Still no Chicago dates posted yet?

Amy MacKinnon said...

Though I own and love my hardcover, I can't wait to get my hands on the new paperback. I'll see you on the road!

John Elder Robison said...

Jess . . . keep checking the schedule. I'll surely be adding a CT appearance as we move toward the holiday season. Did you see I just added the Barnes & Noble in Enfield?

Sex Scenes . . . I agree about Boulder Bookstore. They impressed me when I visited back in the winter.

Jill . . Isn't the St Charles date in Chicago? I thought you were planning on that one.

Thank you all for your support. I'll be on the road again tomorrow.

Jill Elaine Hughes said...

St Charles is about 50 miles outside of Chicago. I'll come to that one if you don't make another appearance in the area.

Nathan Bransford said...

John-

So exciting to hear about the book tour! But wouldn't you know -- I'll be in New York for meetings at the same time you're in San Francisco. Hope we'll be able to meet up sometime when we're on the same coast.

Also, my fiancee just finished LOOK ME IN THE EYE and loved it!

Anne said...

Hi John,

I hear you will be in Burlington,VT this Saturday. I do an autism/disability radio show , The Next Frontier right on College St. on Wednesdays at 10:00am Can you come? Here's a sample of a show w/ 2 young men with aspergers , one discloses and one keeps it in the closet http://www.livingtheautismmaze.com/radiator_082708.mp3
It would be great to have you! Thanks, Anne

Anne said...

Hi John, mp3's are not coming through on the blog so I'll post my website for The Next Frontier Radio show. http://www.livingtheautismmaze.com/events.htm Scroll to the bottom on guests with aspergers, one dicloses , one stays in the closet. Click it on and take a listen. Would be great to have you on my show . I might be able to arrange a different time /day with another host from station. Let me me know if you'd consider. Thanks, ANNE

John Elder Robison said...

Anne, I'd love to do a show with you, but I can't go there Wednesday. Can we do it Saturday or Sunday? Write me and we'll work it out.

RaNae said...

I read Look Me In The Eye because my 21-yo son was dx'd w/AS at 16. I saw a hardback LMITE at Border's & it lept off the shelf into my hands. I reluctantly put it back & tried to borrow it from my local library. Only 2 copies in public libraries in the entire state of Idaho. So, for Mother's Day, my DH, who also exhibits traits of AS, gave it to me.

Awesome book. Ty for writing it.

Barrie said...

I'll read the new and improved version! Have a great time on your tour!

Kim Stagliano said...

Better yet, why do people tell OTHERS to read it???

Kim Stagliano said...

Nathan is coming to NY? Where? When? You should have an East Coast meet and greet for your blogfans, Mr. Bransford!

KIM

Crazy Momma said...

I am so disappointed!

I absolutely LOVED your book. Being the mother of a young Aspergian, it was certainly insightful and, no question, incredibly entertaining.

Back to my disappointment. I live about an hour from Portsmouth, NH. And tonight is my kiddos' open house at school...

SO disappointed!

Hinura said...

John

I checked online to try to go grab the paperback today at the Borders in Marlborough, but its out of stock :(

Guess I will head out to Worcester later (which I had to do anyway) to go get it. I'm dying to read what you added to the paperback version

Holly Kennedy said...

On the road again! How fun!

Thinking of you and hoping LMITE continues to delight readers across the nation, John :)

Carol Prescott said...

John,
It was an honor to see you at RiverRun in Portsmouth yesterday. I am even more inspired by your story and messages now, thank you so much for becoming an advocate on getting this issue out there! I came home and watched several earlier videos and it is so amazing to see how much you've grown.
All the best,
Carol P.

Realmcovet said...

You SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO need to come to Indianapolis, Mr. Varmint Jabber. Pretty please??? :)

Henrik_Sundholm said...

I am delighted to find that you quoted my letter in your blogpost!