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Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger's (original 2007; edition 2007)

by John Elder Robison

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1,983973,405 (3.76)81
Member:RobinBrz
Title:Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger's
Authors:John Elder Robison
Info:Crown (2007), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 304 pages
Collections:Your library, Recently Read
Rating:***1/2
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Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger's by John Elder Robison (2007)

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Showing 1-5 of 96 (next | show all)
John Elder Robison is eight years older than his brother Augusten Burroughs, but it was from Burroughs's 2002 Running with Scissors that the world first learned of the extraordinarily troubled family in which the brothers were brought up. Encouraged by Burroughs to share his own memories of being raised by an alcoholic father and a mentally unstable mother, Robison did so in 2008 with Look Me in the Eye, a memoir in which he gives an insider's account of what it is like to suffer from a form of autism called Asperger's syndrome.

Robison was already forty years old by the time he learned that he was, as he puts it, an Aspergian. Common symptoms of the syndrome include the inability to look someone in the eye when speaking to them, being unable to participate in a conversation at all if anything else catches their attention while they are speaking, non-appropriate facial expressions or body language in social situations, failure to develop peer relationships with other children, and occasional “rare gifts” like “truly extraordinary insight into complex problems.” Robison was somewhat shocked to learn that there were other people out there like him – so many of them, in fact, that the rest of the world even had a name for them.

John Robinson, from the time he was a child, liked other children and badly wanted to be part of the gang. But rather than being made a part of any neighborhood gang, Robinson most often found himself on the outside looking in, always the last to be chosen for team sports and games - if chosen at all. Unable to respond socially appropriately when given half a chance to become part of the action, he made other children so uneasy that they wanted nothing to do with him. Robison, though, is one of the luckier Aspergians, and has the kind of offsetting talents that others of us can only dream about. Not only was he the developer of the exploding, laser-firing guitars that helped to make the band KISS famous, he was instrumental in the production of the early electronic game modules that made Milton Bradley for a time the most recognizable toy company name to children all over the world.

Look Me in the Eye is fascinating because of the insights offered into an autism variation that until recent years has drawn little attention. What makes the book truly exceptional, however, is that these insights are coming from someone who has experienced the syndrome first hand, a man with a surprising storytelling ability and a well-defined sense of humor that contribute one memorable and entertaining story after another. I found myself telling some of Robison's stories to friends even before I finished reading the entire book because I was anxious to recommend it to others as quickly as I could. Look Me in the Eye is simply not to be missed.

(Review Copy provided by Publisher) ( )
  SamSattler | May 15, 2016 |
Imagine not being able to make a connection with other people even though you long to. As a young child, author John Elder Robison often played alone even though he wanted to play with other children. Robison’s peculiar behavior caused him to be viewed as an odd misfit or even worse as a social deviant. Things that came so easily to others, like smiling and conversation, were a challenge for Robison.

Misunderstood at school, Robison eventually dropped out. Luckily, he fell in with a group of musicians where his talents with electronics, sound, and special effects were appreciated, and his quirks were overlooked. While the clues to his odd behavior were always there, he went undiagnosed for four decades. Finally receiving his diagnosis of Asperger's explained a lot.

Through engaging stories that include putting his little brother in a five-foot deep hole to traveling with the rock group KISS to raising a child, Robison educates the reader about the autism spectrum.

The Bottom Line: When this book was first published there was very little out there in regards to first person accounts of what it is like to live with autism. Robison’s book brings the autism spectrum into the spotlight and educates readers about the often misunderstood disorder. Robison is a very high functioning Aspergian, who can describe what he has experienced.

While his writing style is a bit robotic and there is some repetition, this book illustrates how the author can understand and relate to machines so well. The author reminds everyone that there are some disabilities you can’t see. Highly recommended reading for schools discussing bullying and accepting differences. This is an interesting look into Asperger’s Syndrome from the point of view of someone who had an awareness of what it's like to be different.

For the complete review including Book Club Notes, please visit the Mini Book Bytes Book Review Blog. ( )
  aya.herron | May 15, 2016 |
It's a choppy memoir about a guy with Asperger's. It's not bad at the beginning, but then it's just a bunch of poorly written one-dimensional stories. ( )
  jenn88 | Feb 14, 2016 |
This book is amazing! There are parts that reach in and shake you. There are parts that make you feel sad. But, there is so much that helps open your eyes and gives you a glimpse of what Asperger's is like for those that face this "gift." As the mother of an Asperger's son, this book helped give me a different perspective as to what my son goes through. I think this book should be read by everyone. Regardless of whom you know with Aspergers (because surely you do), this book helps you understand so much more. It's just a beautiful way to the most brilliant minds on earth. I will never forget the funeral and the dead body. This whole book really reached me. But, some parts will never leave me. Thank you, John Elder Robison - from me, AND my son! ( )
  LaneySmith | Dec 1, 2015 |
This is a "must-read" for anyone with an Asperger's child, friend, or relative. It gives a rare, first-person insight into the mind, feelings, and behavior of a real "Aspie".
  fredheid | Jun 30, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 96 (next | show all)
Since learning about Asperger's, I have read just about every personal account I can find with regard to Asperger's. While I found all of them interesting, I can't think of one that I would have called warm or engaging - until I read John Elder Robison's memoir Look Me In The Eye: My Life With Asperger's. ...Mr. Robison tells a story that is at once heartbreaking, inspiring and funny....Mr. Robison's life is a testament to the fact that a life with Asperger's can be as rich as anyone else's - despite the challenges.

 

» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
John Elder Robisonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Burroughs, AugustenForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Deakins, MarkNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For my brother, who encouraged me to write the story, and most especially for Unit Two and Cubby
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"Look me in the eye, young man!"
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (4)

Book description
John Robison recounts his struggles to fit in and communicate with others as he grew up, describing why he had so many problems relating to others and why he often turned to machines for comfort, rather than people, and explains how his life was changed when he was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome at age forty.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0307396185, Paperback)

New York Times Bestseller


“As sweet and funny and sad and true and heartfelt a memoir as one could find.”
—from the foreword by Augusten Burroughs


Ever since he was young, John Robison longed to connect with other people, but by the time he was a teenager, his odd habits—an inclination to blurt out non sequiturs, avoid eye contact, dismantle radios, and dig five-foot holes (and stick his younger brother, Augusten Burroughs, in them)—had earned him the label “social deviant.” It was not until he was forty that he was diagnosed with a form of autism called Asperger’s syndrome. That understanding transformed the way he saw himself—and the world. A born storyteller, Robison has written a moving, darkly funny memoir about a life that has taken him from developing exploding guitars for KISS to building a family of his own. It’s a strange, sly, indelible account—sometimes alien yet always deeply human.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:04 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Memoir of John Robison whose odd behavior was explained when he was diagnosed with a form of autism called Asperger's syndrome when he was forty and the change that made in his life.

(summary from another edition)

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