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Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger's [Paperback]

John Elder Robison
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
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Book Description

5 Feb 2009

From the time he was three or four years old, John Elder Robison realised that he was different from other people. He was unable to make eye contact or connect with other children, and by the time he was a teenager his odd habits - an inclination to blurt out non-sequiturs, obsessively dismantle radios or dig five-foot holes (and stick his younger brother in them) - had earned him the label 'social deviant'. It didn't help that his mother conversed with light fixtures and his father spent evenings pickling himself in sherry.

Look Me in the Eye is his story of growing up with Asperger's syndrome - a form of autism - at a time when the diagnosis simply didn't exist. Along the way it also tells the story of two brothers born eight years apart yet devoted to each other: the author and his younger brother Chris, who would grow up to become bestselling author Augusten Burroughs.

This book is a rare fusion of inspiration, dark comedy and insight into the workings of the human mind. For someone who has struggled all his life to connect with other people, Robison proves to be an extraordinary storyteller.

Frequently Bought Together

Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger's + Be Different: My Adventures with Asperger's and My Advice for Fellow Aspergians, Misfits, Families, and Teachers + The Reason I Jump: One Boy's Voice from the Silence of Autism
Price For All Three: 23.17

Buy the selected items together

Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Ebury Press (5 Feb 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0091926335
  • ISBN-13: 978-0091926335
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 21,142 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"John has a life that is humanity's version of extreme sport. Even without the Asperger's he would have had an appalling childhood ... This is no misery memoir, however. He is a gifted storyteller with a deadpan sense of humour and the book is a rollicking read" (The Times)

"Of course it's brilliant; my big brother wrote it. But even if it hadn't been created by my big, lumbering, swearing, unshaven "early man" sibling, this is a sweet and funny and sad and true and heartfelt a memoir as one could find, utterly unspoiled, uninfluenced, and original" (Augusten Burroughs)

"John Robison's book is an immensely affecting account of a life lived according to his gifts rather than his limitations. His story provides ample evidence for my belief that individuals on the autistic spectrum are just as capable of rich and productive lives as anyone else" (Daniel Tammet, author of BORN ON A BLUE DAY)

"Deeply felt and often darkly funny, Look Me in the Eye is a delight" (People magazine)

"It's a fantastic life story (highlights include building guitars for KISS) told with grace, humor, and a bracing lack of sentimentality" (Entertainment News)

Book Description

An extraordinarily moving and unexpectedly funny memoir of growing up with Asperger's syndrome, from the brother of Augusten Burroughs

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very worthwhile reading 17 Aug 2009
This book is written from inside the skin of someone with a very different thought process from most people. It is heartwarming, heartbreaking, funny, sad and entertaining all at once. Further, it helped me understand my son with Aspergers better and to not overreact to his more unusual behavior. A good read, though the language is a bit rough and completely frank, so its not for the younger readers. The audio book is even better, as you get to hear it in teh author's own voice.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Quite interesting 10 July 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have Aspergers and found this story of a guy with the condition quite interesting. The first few chapters describe our hero as an obnoxious child and an annoying teenager. So nothing particularly to do with autism. His father has a drink problem and his mother has mental issues. He leaves home and his obsessions lead to jobs in the music industry. In particular with a popular singing group called Kiss He moves on and takes jobs which eventually lead to management positions. Management positions mean dealing with people rather than the things that you are actually good at. Been there done that. Eventually he is diagnosed and begins to deal with the condition. The most telling comment for me was when he says that we don't prefer our own company. We don't like having no friends. We just don't know how to have friends. Everything seems to work out for him in the end however.
It's readable and interesting and adds something to the knowledge on the subject.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By John M. Ford TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition
Parts of John Elder Robison's life were hard and are hard to read about. But like the main character in Shawshank Redemption, he climbs out of his particular hell and gets his life figured out. This book is informative about the author's struggle with the symptoms of Asperger's Syndrome, inspiring as it traces his life's journey of coping and discovery, and entertaining for its pranks, anecdotes, and insider revelations about the music and electronic gaming industries.

The older brother of Running with Scissors author Augusten Burroughs, John Elder describes his life in that extremely troubled family. His mother's mental illness, his father's alcoholism, and his own difficulties in relating to other children isolated John Elder and created a deep sense of loneliness that did not diminish until adulthood. Escaping by dropping out of high school, John Elder leaves town for a consuming job repairing musical equipment for a high-profile rock group. He describes his gradually successful efforts to reach out of his very private world and connect with friends, his first wife, his son, and then his second wife. Readers feel his sense of closure later in the book as he eventually returns to his home town and rebuilds relationships with his parents and childhood schoolmates. He goes home again, and makes it work out.

John Elder did not learn about Asberger's Syndrome until he was 40 years old, and had already worked out how to approach life with his own personal palette of strengths and weaknesses.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing read 28 Mar 2011
I found this book so insightful and interesting to understand the world of someone with Aspergers. I have recently had someone close to me diagnosed with Aspergers and i found this so insightful into how Austim effects the brain and the way Aspergers suffers think. I feel l now understand him better and the reasons behind some of his behaviour. I really would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in Aspergers, Austism or just how mental health can affect people in different ways.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and entertaining 30 Dec 2007
By Helen Simpson VINE VOICE
I enjoyed reading John Elder's memoirs. They could have been belonged to anyone who toured with bands (KISS in this case) during the seventies but were more interesting because his accounts were maybe not quite what you'd expect. He didn't take advantage of the opportunities that others in his position could have and his explanations were insightful as well as entertaining.

The author didn't have the best upbringing but rather than dwell on that, he tells amusing accounts of his growing up and relationships; from his brother 'Varmint' to the fascinating understanding of his wife.

It's a book that looks back on childhood but also moves on to adulthood. I felt the later chapters had more information as an insight to Asperger's but I found the whole book was an enjoyable read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars aspergers 25 Nov 2011
Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger'sThis book was reccomended to me by a friend.My grandson has Aspergers and i need to understand the condition.Funny in parts,and helping me a great deal.Ido think if you have a child on the 'Spectrum' you should read this.It gives you hope for your child.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars real 7 Sep 2010
This is easy to read, and I could hardly put it down. It was funny and engaging and touching. Gave me insight into a different way of being, and a look into an unusual life.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Watch out Daniel Tammet... 21 Mar 2009
Having read and enjoyed Augusten Burrough's books, I was interested in reading his brother's story, both for its own sake as an insight into an Aspergian's life, and also to see how/if it dovetailed with Burrough's accounts of the family. I was not disappointed - a fascinating book in an easy-to-read style.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Life Story
Wonderful colourful autobiography by a man who has Aspergers.
Compelling insight into a different mind so that my own expanded.
Published 2 months ago by Mrs Stella Penrose
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Unable to put this book down , brilliant. Excellent insight to life with asperger's and how his world is viewed, thought provoking,
Published 4 months ago by dawn abbiss
4.0 out of 5 stars I like it
The book has arrived as predicted and it is in good conditions.
I use amazon when book shops have no easily my items even if I like very much to go and physically look and... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Beatrice65
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and amusing read
Fascinating! Such an interesting insight into life with Asperger's that I originally purchased to give me some background for a new job working in the field. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Miss Z A Heath
4.0 out of 5 stars Well written
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It gives wonderful insight into Asberger syndrome, and is of great assistance in helping those who are either supporting someone with this... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Dicky
5.0 out of 5 stars Touching story.
It is a really good read about autism and everything that relates to it. . Very well written and interesting.
Published 6 months ago by Magdalena Duncan
4.0 out of 5 stars A Life Story
I think the author is at the pretty normal end of the autistic spectrum, & therefore, although it's well written I don't feel it's much help in understanding the condition.
Published 7 months ago by J. Adams
5.0 out of 5 stars good
excellent book. Touching and true to life. I like reading books such as this, as they do give you a insight to why and how people cope with this silent condition.
Published 11 months ago by pat
5.0 out of 5 stars A greater insight to the aspie mind
I thoroughly enjoyed this book.I was seeking a deeper understanding of the way my son thinks and this book has not only shown me that,but it also tells a riveting story of its... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Holi Cousins
5.0 out of 5 stars Look me in the Eye
I bought this book for myslef as I have been reading a lot of books about Aspergers or books written by people with Aspergers. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Jill Hardcastle
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