Friday, June 10, 2011

Look Me in the Eye

John Elder Robison's memoir of his life with Asperger's examines his struggle and confusion about why he was like he was in a time time when no one was aware that such a syndrome existed. His inability to make friends, pick up on social nuances, or simply as the title suggests "look [someone] in the eye" troubled him greatly. Funny in parts, poignant in others, Look Me In the Eye is a front row seat to what it is like to grow up "different."

Robison spends a great deal of time in his childhood years telling numerous stories, where his fascination with machines and things that "blow up," made him quite the prankster. Alienated by his "strangeness," he grew inward; his interest in other things turn him into a creative genius, a young boy who read intently on anything he was interested in and absorbed it like a sponge.

One of his interest was electronic circuits, and his "savant like ability" led him eventually to a job with KISS, a premier band of the late 1970s and 1980s [for those blog readers who have no clue -- ]. For their lead guitarist, he designed guitars that would do special effects including shooting off smoke bombs or having running lights.

He also landed engineering jobs without a degree and could repair and work on any kind of car. Robison is brilliant, and his memoir, told with perspective and wit, a fun read.

Thanks to my friend and fellow blogger, Lori, for recommending this book to me after she read my review on House of Prayer No. 2.



  1. Hi Harriet: I just happened to notice when I was in Barnes and Noble the other day, that his mother has her autobiography out now also. I leafed through a few pages but I don't know if I am brave enough to read it. From what I gather, she was a real nut job! (May not be very uplifting) Have a wonderful weekend, fellow blogger friend!

  2. I recall a kid in my 5th grade class who had problems looking people in the eye when he spoke. I used to give him a hard time about it and yell at him to look at people when talking to them. I feel terrible now :-\