Parallel Play, a new book on growing up Aspergian
Time Page, taken at a joint appearance at the University of Missouri last winter.
My friend Tim Page is known to many people as a music critic, having won a Pulitzer at the Washington Post. What's less well known is that Tim has Asperger's. That was revealed to the world a few years ago in a moving New Yorker essay called Parallel Play.
Here's a link to the essay on the New Yorker's website
This September 8, the book of the same name goes on sale. You can preorder it here
Here is what I wrote about his book for the Amazon website:
The first time I saw Tim Page, I felt a sense of familiarity. He was obviously smart but shy, socially awkward, with a different cadence to his voice. There was an undefined, instinctive “something” that told me Tim was a fellow Aspergian. I feel different and excluded from much human company, but people like Tim are an exception. They are my people. They are me.
Tim says he’s lived life as an outsider, and that’s exactly how I feel too. As a result, even though I’ve grown up to find commercial success, happiness often eludes me. Within minutes of meeting Tim, it was clear he shared my essential life experience, even though we have followed very different paths. Even today, neurotypical people try to welcome us into their world, but Asperger’s blinds us to the olive branches of friendship they proffer. They even shake the leaves in front of our faces, but we just gaze, impassive and oblivious. People assume we’ve rejected them, but in truth we want their friendship and acceptance with every fiber of our being. That’s the heartbreak of it.
Tim’s story illustrates that reality with clear and moving prose. Even when he’s been with people, much of his life has been spent alone. He was always smart, but like me, I wonder what’s it’s been for. Tim story shows that genius has its benefits but it’s not a formula for happiness, or even for general life success. You’ll wonder if his extraordinary abilities are a cause or a result of his isolation. Or are they just more facets of a unique mind?
Anyone with an interest in Asperger’s and the complexity of the human mind will be fascinated by Parallel Play. It will leave you with much to think about.