|Author:||Robison, John Elder|
|Publisher:||Random House Inc|
|Publish Date:||Sep 2007|
|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|
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.
|Author's Note||p. ix|
|A Little Misfit||p. 7|
|A Permanent Playmate||p. 19|
|A Trickster Is Born||p. 35|
|I Find a Porsche||p. 43|
|The Nightmare Years||p. 51|
|Assembly Required||p. 59|
|The Dogs Begin to Fear Me||p. 69|
|I Drop Out of High School||p. 85|
|Collecting the Trash||p. 95|
|The Flaming Washtub||p. 101|
|I'm in Prison with the Band||p. 113|
|The Big Time||p. 125|
|The First Smoking Guitar||p. 133|
|The Ferry to Detroit||p. 143|
|One with the Machine||p. 151|
|Rock and Roll All Night||p. 155|
|AReal Job||p. 171|
|A Visit from Management||p. 181|
|Logic vs. Small Talk||p. 189|
|Being Young Executives||p. 195|
|Becoming Normal||p. 207|
|I Get a Bear Cub||p. 219|
|A Diagnosis at Forty||p. 233|
|Units One Through Three||p. 247|
|Married Life||p. 253|
|Winning at Basketball||p. 259|
|My Life as a Train||p. 265|
|Reading and Resources||p. 285|
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.
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.
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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