Written by the brother of the guy who wrote "Running with Scissors," this book is highly entertaining while giving an inside look at Asperger's Syndrome, a slight form of autism. Robison is candid about his feelings, his dysfunctional family life, his time working with the band KISS--but through it all he tells the stories with a sense of humor. Highly recommended.
Very interesting book. I found some of it troubling, and some of it brilliant...certainly well written. As a adult now, I hope his sense of what is a "trick" on others has changed, his jokes were some scary stuff!
Well worth the time to read, hopefully leading to a better understanding of Aspergers.
Now I know why my own son doesn't look me in the eye.
This book is very telling. I think it's because the author is looking back and didn't know when he was growing up that he has Asperger's.
It really helps me understand the little "things" that make my son tick. And I know now that he really doesn't have to look someone in the eye to be listening. It also gave me a better understanding of how your child can seem neurotypical but still has those moments when you (and everyone around you) know better. It also helps me feel better in knowing that my son can grow up and be successful.
I recommend for anyone who is dealing with Asperger's in their life.
Look Me in the Eye is John Elder Robison's memoir of his experiences as a person with Asperger's Syndrome. The early chapters are the most difficult to read, as Robison describes growing up in a family with alcoholism, physical abuse and mental illness. Fortunately he omits most of the more disturbing experiences described by younger brother Augusten Borrough in his memoir "Running with Scissors," but the added challenges Robinson faces because of his condition make the story even more poignant.
Once Robison leaves home and slowly begins learning how to interact in a socially acceptable way, Look Me in the Eye becomes a fun and interesting read. The author's stories of being on tour with KISS and working in R&D for a toy company show what a talented person he is. Though it starts out bleak, Look Me in the Eye is ultimately a happy story as Robison is able to forgive his parents and find a wife who appreciates who he is.
Purists be warned: this paperback edition was edited to make it more appropriate for the teenage audience it has found. Seek out the hardback edition if you want the swearing intact.
Definitely an unusual book about an unusual individual. Robison depicts his life in a series of episodes that can be funny or touching or heart-rendingly painful. He has managed to grow into a productive person who despite (or maybe because of) his Aspergers, has developed amazing insights into himself and the nature of human relationships.
My major problem is with his writing. However descriptive and emotionally charged it may be, it is also rather disjointed, and often skips randomly from one thought or scene to the next. Still this is an interesting book, written from an interesting perspective, and worth reading.
Suzanne reviewed Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger's on
Helpful Score: 3
Interesting memoir of an "Aspergian" who has had many adventures in his life. It helps to have read Augusten Burroughs' "Running With Scissors" first, since the two authors are brothers. There is some crossover content in the books. I was amused and enlightened. Those of us over 40 years of age will probably better relate to the pop culture references from the '70's and '80's. A fast and easy read.
This was an amazing story of John's life. His life experiences almost seem like they should be fiction with so many encounters to interesting people and critical moments in video game history. I really loved this book and this story. I am not sure how much insight in gives into Asperger's syndrome, but overall an interesting well written book.
John Robison is brother to Augusten Burroughs, of "running with scissors" fame. While he did not grow up in Dr. Finch's home, he was faced with his own unique challenges. He didn't have any social skills, he thought people should be petted and he just couldn't work within rules. His unique talents took him far and wide (even brushes with fame and fortune) and it was only when he realized he needed to be true to his "misfit" nature that he found success and happiness. Not truly an account of "Aspergers" or autism, it is more the story of how a real human being discovers that what makes him unique also makes him "him". The flow of the book is a bit uneven and the writer's voice seems to change from chapter to chapter, but it is not enough to disrupt your interest in his journey.
I was expecting this book to focus more on Robison's struggles with Asperger's when in fact it is more of a recounting of his life with Asperger's as an aside. The man has certainly had some interesting life experiences but I didn't pick up this book to hear about his days creating special effects and pyrotechnics for KISS. The too few times that he does discuss his autistic behavior are very limited but insightful.
His social ineptness is noticeable throughout several sections of the book where he comes off as arrogant or rude. For example, in the chapter about his wife he wonders if he got the best of the three sisters and doesn't understand why people take offense to this ponderence, comparing it to wanting the best car on the lot.
I appreciate his conversational tone but his actual writing skills are fundamental making for a fairly monotonous read. I would only recommend this book to his fellow Aspergians or anyone actually interested in his time with KISS or Pink Floyd. For everyone else, you're not missing much by passing on this one.
I really enjoyed reading this. It's very different from his brother's books, not so much harsh language and blatant gay sex descriptions, thank goodness. Because of Asperger's John Elder was frequently judged to be dumb. This book proves just the opposite. He has a brain. He has feelings. He did succeed. He did learn social cues and graces. He was very aware when others were making fun of him....
This book is helpful for all those that deal with kids or themselves who are different in any way. There seems to be a large crop of boys growing up these days who fall thru the cracks, don't seem to "get it" very quickly, are rather unmotivated, YET - they aren't retarded, mental, slow. They just deal with things differently, at a different pace. As a parent of one such young man, I found this book extremely interesting.
Fantastic memoir! Engaging...informative...humorous. My son has a touch of Asperger's and this helps me to understand yet it entertains at the same time. This is a must read for anyone trying to wrap their head around the whole concept of autism spectrum diagnoses, more specifically Asperger's.
Everyone should read this book. It is full of life, of hope and a true testament to the wonder of playing the cards you're dealt.
John Elder is an exceptional human being and I have laughed, worried and cheered him on his oh, so unusual life. You will too, I am sure. Hurrah for John Elder!
Robison's thoughtful and thoroughly memorable account of living with Asperger's syndrome but his 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. 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. 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. Great book, and I'm not saying that because I worked for him, but he was quite the character, smart, rude and unbelievably creative.
I enjoyed this book very much overall. It got a little weighed down toward that end, but it also explained a great deal about John Elder Robison's personality and Asperger's. Having relatives with Asperger's, this gave insight into the way the Aperger's mind works. Very interesting. I ended up really liking him as a person. Interesting stuff.
This book is such a great glimpse into what it must be like to have asd. As a mom of an aspie I am so glad I picked up this book. It changed the way I understand what my son is going through. I broke my heart and gave me tremendous hope all at the same time.
Written by the brother of Augusten Burroughs, this is both a memoir as well as a "how-to" book on relating to people with Asperger's. It is both funny and touching and thoroughly enjoyable. It also gave me some additional insight into the brain of my Aspergian son. Highly recommend.
Not a bad book, but not a book that kept my interest. It doesn't go into great detail about how he interacts with others and exactly how his aspergers affects his daily life but does give a skim coating of the times in his life.
Anybody who has a family member diagnosed with Aspergers should read this book. Mr. Robison lived knowing that he was different from most people but until he was in his sixties he didn't know that the 'difference' has a name. A most courageous man.
An enjoyable and helpful read. As the mom of a quirky kid I loved the idea that Asperger's is a way of being rather than a disease. It was a treat to be allowed inside the mind of someone with Asperger's to begin to understand their point of view and reasons for acting in certain ways. The growth of Robison's social skills gives a hopeful message and his preference for happiness over genius was personally affirming. I didn't need quite so much detail about building special effects guitars for the band KISS, but as I would be polite and listen to someone in conversation about their passion, I made it through that section of his memoir.
Kristen reviewed Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger's on
This is a fascinating look at Asperger's from the point of view of someone with the disorder. First off, John Elder Robison is the brother of the author of Running with Scissors. I was a little nervous as I began the book that is would focus on parental abuse, but it is skimmed over that for the most part, he's writing stories about his life with Asperger's, not his life with less than stellar parents.
As far as the stories go, the guy can WRITE! He tells a story well, is engaging, each chapter is a new story and you're drawn into it as soon as you begin the chapter. Since I'm not a short story fan, that's a huge skill, in my opinion.
The best part of this book is the glimpse into daily life as an Aspie. If you're the parent of a child with Asperger's, you will see your child throughout this book. Their thought process, their trouble with social interaction, their confusion when presented with situations you wouldn't think twice about. I admit, he's highly functioning, as he ends up holding management positions with impressive companies managing as many as 20 employees. You do sit there thinking, "Well, my kid might not ever achieve that level" but then you realize that he did this as a HS drop-out, with no medical diagnosis, no IEP, no loving parents trying to smooth the waves as he ventured out into the world. He just did what he knew and when he got in over his head, he knew that, too. It's rather inspiring to read about.
Definitely recommend this book overall, but a must-read for a parent or teacher of an Asperger's child.
What a wonderful book. There is nothing better than a first person narrative to help understand the inner thinking of a child/person with Asperger's. This book gave me insight into this disorder and the thought processes involved; at least for John Elder. I would reccomend this book for anyone who works with any kind of child.
Our eighteen year old grandson was diagnosed with asperger's several years ago, so I really understand what this young man has gone through. EVERYONE should read this book, it gives great insight to a type of "handicap," that isn't apparent by physical appearance. One will be less likely to "judge," if they realize what some folks go through...normal looking, and yet being "so different."