5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
An Insider's View of Asperger's Syndrome and a Unique Life,
This review is from: Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger's (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. Now able to reinterpret the challenges of growing up, he gives readers a guided tour of the effect of Asperger's on his life. We see him struggle to understand how other children think, how to talk to them, and how to cope with recurring rejection from them. We also see how his single-minded focus on machines and electronics turned him into a talented sound engineer and special effects wizard. In his adult life we experience his exhilarating success as a toy company R&D engineer, then his unfulfilling struggle to manage people as a corporate executive. He finally leaves to run his own high-end car repair business and is happy again working with machines and directly with people who appreciate his skills.
This book is an inspirational tale of a challenging life rebuilt into a fulfilling one. It gives one view of what it is like to live day-to-day with Asperger's Syndrome. Readers who want to know more about this condition can follow the author's recommendations and read Tony Attwood's The Complete Guide to Asperger's Syndrome or explore the web site of the Online Asperger Syndrome Information and Support Site (OASIS). Both are highly recommended by this reviewer as well.