Posts Tagged ‘Asperger’s syndrome’

58. “The Pleasure of my Company,” Steve Martin

August 18, 2010 Leave a comment

Daniel Pecan Cambridge is torn between four women: his neighbor Rachel, whom he has been secretly drugging with doctored smoothies meant to calm the actress’s nerves before auditions; his social worker (or is it is therapist?) Clarissa, who visits Daniel in his home twice a week, providing the structure around which he builds his time; Zandy, the friendly pharmacist who fills his prescriptions and his beloved Rite-Aid; and Elizabeth, a fakey, bleach-blonde real estate agent trying to sell units in the over-priced condo across the street from Daniel’s home.

I came across this title on a disabilities book list, which described Daniel as having OCD. Reading expecting that, I was confused, as he reminded me more of Daniel Tammet in his memoir “Born on a Blue Day.” Assuming that the Publisher’s Weekly review is correct and Daniel has both OCD and autism (or Asperger’s), this book is subtley crafted. If Daniel’s meant to have just OCD, I’d suggest that Martin do a bit more research, as Daniel is heavy on obsessive “quirks” like requiring the combined wattage of the light bulbs in his home to add up to 1,125, but lacking in the tension that necessitates these obsessions be carried out.

Daniel makes for an irreverent, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants narrator, aware when he’s doing “abnormal” things, but not caring or feeling the need to explain why. Just when it starts to get old, Daniel starts to find his routine challenged by new opportunities opening up for him– opportunities that stem directly from some choices that he has made for himself.

(Yes, that Steve Martin.)

Page count: 164
Page total: 15,781


53. “Born on a Blue Day,” Daniel Tammet

July 31, 2010 1 comment

The memoirs of a synesthetic savant with Asperger’s. Well-written and interesting.

Page count: 226
Page total: 14,376
Call number: RC553.A88T36 2007

3. “Look me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger’s,” John Elder Robison

December 5, 2009 Leave a comment

My friend’s boyfriend bought me this book and an attempt to win me over. Out of gratitude, I asked my friend to make eye contact with him for me.

True story.

So, this book is a memoir by Augusten Burrough’s brother about what it is like to have Asperger’s syndrome. It chronicles his abusive family, pulling “pranks”, moving out at sixteen, designing Ace Freehly’s fire-spouting guitars, creating some of the first electronic toys for Milton Bradley, falling in love, having a son, getting divorced, getting re-married, and starting his own career.

I liked this book because for the past several years, I’ve suspected that I have Asperger’s and many of the thought patterns in this book were extremely familiar. It is also nice to see someone with AS who is successful, both in business and relationships. I recently embarked upon by first romantic relationship and sometimes I’m pretty sure this woman is a saint because I don’t really have a typical understanding of social situations and she always seems to accept my quirks in stride. It’s nice to see an Aspie with two fairly successful long term relationships.

Page count: 320
Page total: 528

55. “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time,” Mark Haddon

August 20, 2009 Leave a comment

Very cool book. Written from the perspective of a fifteen-year-old boy with Asperger’s who is investigating the murder of his neighbor’s dog, this book does an excellent job of showing some of the thought processes and patterns common to people with Asperger’s. Near the end of the book, he describes one of his favorite dreams. In it, nearly everyone in the world dies of a virus. It’s not like a flu, but more like a computer virus. It is spread by looking at people’s faces when they are making an emotion and understanding what their faces are saying. You can catch it through the TV, so it spreads very quickly. Sometimes in his dream, people just don’t want to move at all when they get the virus, other times they jump into the sea. He likes the second version better, because then there are no bodies.

There are just a few people left over who are special like Christopher, but you hardly ever see them, because they are all quiet and shy. And so Christopher can go places without worrying about crowds or that people will touch him or try to ask him questions. And he breaks into people’s houses by smashing their windows with bricks (because they don’t care any more) and gets to be a detective. In his dream, he goes to sleep and then he wakes up happy.

It made me sad on two levels: that his perfect world is one without people, and that our world is so emphatically contrary to what is best and happiest for him. I was reading this during the distopian “Blindness” and they had me thinking about who gets to decide what the perfect world looks like– who decides what any world looks like.

A good book, often darkly funny, and a nice way of really understanding the way Asperger’s ticks.

Page count: 226
Page total: 22,864