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Raising Cubby: A Father and Son's…

Raising Cubby: A Father and Son's Adventures with Asperger's,…

by John Elder Robison

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A wonderful read an incredibly devoted father to his Aspergian son. As the reader you live through the trials and tribulations of his son growing up with Aspergers and succeeds in the end. What is stranger than fiction is that both the father and Mother are Aspergians but they didn't know it in the early years just as they didn't know that their son was for some time. ( )
  SigmundFraud | Feb 14, 2014 |
This is a book that I enjoyed entirely on its face, without knowing much backstory about the book or its author. It was only as I was reading the book (and later when I did further reading) that I made the connections between author John Elder Robison and several other books that had been on my "To Read Eventually" list for ages. First of all, he is the author of several other books about Asperger's Syndrome, including Look Me in the Eye. And second, he is the brother of Augusten Burroughs, author of Running With Scissors. If I had read Burrough's book, I probably would have picked up on this sooner, like when Robison talks about his brother "being raised on a commune by our mother's shrink." But even without knowing these interesting connections, I was completely hooked by this story from the first page.

John Elder Robison is both the father of a child with Asperger's Syndrome (on the "spectrum" of Autism Spectrum Disorder) and someone who lives with Asperger's himself. He has a lot of insights about living, and raising a child who is, "on the spectrum." But this book is specifically about an incident in his son's life (the eponymous "Cubby," though that is just a nickname) in which his passionate interest in chemistry and explosives led to a federal investigation and nearly jail time for suspected terrorist activity. It's clear throughout the book that Cubby is an intelligent and sweet boy who is no terrorist, not even unintentionally. Okay, well it's clear from the point of view of his father, but I was a true believer from the beginning. I just couldn't help being on Cubby's side, and on the side of his dad. Unfortunately the ATF didn't see it that way.

I think the reason this book spoke to me so much is because I know what it's like to have a young person you know well and believe in treated like they are threatening or untrustworthy by people in authority who don't really know them at all. I've seen it many times with the educational system (though not, thankfully, with the legal system...knock wood), especially with kids who are perceived to have an intellectual disability (I say "perceived" because many so-called disabilities, like ASD and learning disabilities, aren't intellectual disabilities so much as they are differences in the way a person receives or communicates information, yet many people are treated as "dumb," "lazy," or "obstinate" because of them).

Because of Cubby's Asperger's, it may have been easy for him to explain in detail exactly what was in every single jar and vial in his chemistry lab, but it was harder for him to understand why the authorities would think that was a problem. And it was a lot harder for him to convince them that he was a kid with a future as a chemical engineer instead of, say, the Unabomber.

Raising Cubby has definitely made me want to go back and read Robison's other books (Look Me in the Eyeand Be Different) as well as his brother's books (Running with Scissors, Dry, and about a million others). Great, more books on my TBR pile. Thanks a lot, John Elder Robison.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher through a Goodreads giveaway. I was not required to write a favourable review, or any review at all. The opinions expressed are strictly my own. ( )
  CozyBookJournal | Apr 25, 2013 |
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Recounts how Asperger's syndrome has shaped the author's experiences as a parent, describing his unconventional approaches to fatherhood and his eventual discovery that his son shared the same condition.

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