atypical: life with asperger’s in 20 + one third chapters

Friday 29 June 2012

the title of a book by jesse a. saperstein, published by perigee. in many ways this is the best Asperger’s book I’ve read thus far.

But before the praise, I have to say that I have a big bone to pick with Jesse. Over and over in his book, he implores the neurotypical world to take the radical step of giving us Aspies a chance. And yet… I’ve sent at least three messages to him on facebook, and he hasn’t answered a single one. Can’t he give me a chance? It’s true that I may not be sending the messages correctly. I have a terrible time navigating 0n facebook. So maybe he’s not ignoring me. But if you are, Jesse, why?

Jesse has many of the obvious, and to many people obnoxious, Asperger’s tics that I myself do not have, and which have made social interactions even more arduous for him than they are for me… and that’s already bad enough. And yet he has also had the good f0rtune, like Grandin and Robison and the others, to have his writing published. No such good fortune has shown up for me or for many other Aspies who are writing. Jesse also has been extremely lucky in his parents, which many of us are not, and he knows this very well. He mentions it many times.

I like this book so much because it talks about rage, and about repeated failures, and about how these things make one feel. He discusses the desperation we Aspies have to be given a chance. He is funny, but also honest. He is positive, but also bitter. He discusses the whole range of emotions that Asperger’s and its consequences have engendered in him. He does not gild the lily. Or at least not very much.

Once again, there are so many great lines I could pull out this book that I’d be hauled to the rack for gross plagiarism. Just read it.

Most of my life has entailed “pushing against a force,” with perpetually frustrating outcomes.

The journey has forced me into quagmires of chronic failure and bitterness that have lasted up to years at a time.

When you have met one person with autism… you have met one person with autism.

Rejection is still unbearable as an adult, and I have never stopped asking the same questions. “What did I do?”

When people fail to understand why someone is different, they will often deny him or her the “radical” courtesy of  a chance.


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