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

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

Format:  Hardcover,

288 pages

Publisher: Random House Inc

Publish Date: Sep 2007

ISBN-13: 9780307395986

ISBN-10: 0307395987

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The following content was provided by the publisher.
Ever since he was small, John Robison had 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 in them)--had earned him the label "social deviant." No guidance came from his mother, who conversed with light fixtures, or his father, who spent evenings pickling himself in sherry. It was no wonder he gravitated to machines, which could, at least, be counted on.
After fleeing his parents and dropping out of high school, his savant-like ability to visualize electronic circuits landed him a gig with KISS, for whom he created their legendary fire-breathing guitars. Later, he drifted into a "real" job, as an engineer for a major toy company. But the higher Robison rose in the company, the more he had to pretend to be "normal" and do what he simply couldn't: communicate. It wasn't worth the paycheck.
It was not until he was forty that an insightful therapist told him he had the form of autism called Asperger's syndrome. That understanding transformed the way Robison saw himself--and the world.
"Look Me in the Eye" is the moving, darkly funny story of growing up with Asperger's at a time when the diagnosis simply didn't exist. A born storyteller, Robison takes you inside the head of a boy whom teachers and other adults regarded as "defective," who could not avail himself of KISS's endless supply of groupies, and who still has a peculiar aversion to using people's given names (he calls his wife "Unit Two"). He also provides a fascinating reverse angle on the younger brother he left at the mercy of their nutty parents--the boy who would later change his name to Augusten Burroughs and write the bestselling memoir "Running with Scissors."
Ultimately, this is the story of Robison's journey from his world into ours, and his new life as a husband, father, and successful small business owner--repairing his beloved high-end automobiles. It's a strange, sly, indelible account--sometimes alien, yet always deeply human.

Specifications

Author:
Publisher: Random House Inc
Publish Date: Sep 2007
ISBN-13: 9780307395986
ISBN-10: 0307395987
Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 288
Shipping Weight (in pounds): 2.0
Product in Inches (L x W x H): 6.38 x 1.12 x 9.5

About the author

Biography of Robison, John Elder

John Elder Robison was born in Athens, Georgia in the summer of 1957. His father was a professor of Philosophy in Amherst, Massachusetts. His brother is Augusten Burroughs, author of Running with Scissors. Growing up John did not know he had Aspergers. He did know that he had a rare insight into electronics. With that knowledge, he joined a band, and ended up designing special effects guitars for KISS by the late 1970's. Afterward, he was an engineer with a major toy and game company.

He moved up the corporate ladder for many years, and then became unable to function in the high social climate of the corporate wold. He began fixing Mercedes and Land Rover cars in his driveway and opened his own car repair specialty shop---J E Robison Service. Eventually he was diagnosed by a therapist as having Aspergers. " Look Me in the Eye" is his honest and touching memoir.

Chapter outline

Author's Notep. ix
Forewordp. xi
Prologuep. 1
A Little Misfitp. 7
A Permanent Playmatep. 19
Empathyp. 29
A Trickster Is Bornp. 35
I Find a Porschep. 43
The Nightmare Yearsp. 51
Assembly Requiredp. 59
The Dogs Begin to Fear Mep. 69
I Drop Out of High Schoolp. 85
Collecting the Trashp. 95
The Flaming Washtubp. 101
I'm in Prison with the Bandp. 113
The Big Timep. 125
The First Smoking Guitarp. 133
The Ferry to Detroitp. 143
One with the Machinep. 151
Rock and Roll All Nightp. 155
AReal Jobp. 171
A Visit from Managementp. 181
Logic vs. Small Talkp. 189
Being Young Executivesp. 195
Becoming Normalp. 207
I Get a Bear Cubp. 219
A Diagnosis at Fortyp. 233
Montagooniansp. 241
Units One Through Threep. 247
Married Lifep. 253
Winning at Basketballp. 259
My Life as a Trainp. 265
Epiloguep. 273
Acknowledgmentsp. 283
Reading and Resourcesp. 285

Reviews

Review by Library Journal (2007-08-01)

First-time writer Robison diagnosed himself with Asperger's syndrome after receiving Tony Attwood's groundbreaking work on the subject from a therapist friend ten years ago. In his well-written and fascinating memoir, the fifty-something brother of Augusten Burroughs (Running with Scissors) addresses the difficultly of growing up in a household with an abusive and alcoholic father, the social problems he encountered at school, and his great affinity for mechanics. It made no difference that he lacked a high school diploma-Robison's natural skills landed him work as an automobile restorer, Milton Bradley engineer, and stagehand responsible for the pyrotechnic guitars used by rock band KISS in the late 1970's. Despite these successes, the author suffered social difficulties while developing his ability to connect with and understand machines, a thread that is explored in great detail.

If there is a drawback here, it is that readers do not get a strong sense of how his self-diagnosis impacted his life. But even among the growing number of books written by those diagnosed later in life, this entry is easily recommended for public and academic libraries with autism collections.

[See Prepub Alert, LJ 5/15/07.] - Corey Seeman, Kresge Business Administration Lib., Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor

(c). Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Library Journal (2010-10-01)

The older brother of Augusten Burroughs (who provides an introduction) tells how his inability to read and recognize normal social cues and emotions caused serious problems in school and social situations. There was no help from his abusive, alcoholic father and mentally ill mother. Narrator Mark Deakins's straightforward, unemotional tone brings Robison's struggles into stark relief.

Book description

Ever since he was small, John Robison had 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 in them)—had earned him the label “social deviant.” No guidance came from his mother, who conversed with light fixtures, or his father, who spent evenings pickling himself in sherry. It was no wonder he gravitated to machines, which could, at least, be counted on.

After fleeing his parents and dropping out of high school, his savant-like ability to visualize electronic circuits landed him a gig with KISS, for whom he created their legendary fire-breathing guitars. Later, he drifted into a “real” job, as an engineer for a major toy company. But the higher Robison rose in the company, the more he had to pretend to be “normal” and do what he simply couldn’t: communicate. It wasn’t worth the paycheck.

It was not until he was forty that an insightful therapist told him he had the form of autism called Asperger’s syndrome. That understanding transformed the way Robison saw himself—and the world.

Look Me in the Eye is the moving, darkly funny story of growing up with Asperger’s at a time when the diagnosis simply didn’t exist. A born storyteller, Robison takes you inside the head of a boy whom teachers and other adults regarded as “defective,” who could not avail himself of KISS’s endless supply of groupies, and who still has a peculiar aversion to using people’s given names (he calls his wife “Unit Two”). He also provides a fascinating reverse angle on the younger brother he left at the mercy of their nutty parents—the boy who would later change his name to Augusten Burroughs and write the bestselling memoir Running with Scissors.

Ultimately, this is the story of Robison’s journey from his world into ours, and his new life as a husband, father, and successful small business owner—repairing his beloved high-end automobiles. It’s a strange, sly, indelible account—sometimes alien, yet always deeply human.

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