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

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

John Elder Robison

Language: English

Pages: 302

ISBN: 0307396185

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

“As sweet and funny and sad and true and heartfelt a memoir as one could find.” —from the foreword by Augusten Burroughs

Ever since he was young, John Robison 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, Augusten Burroughs, in them)—had earned him the label “social deviant.” It was not until he was forty that he was diagnosed with a form of autism called Asperger’s syndrome. That understanding transformed the way he saw himself—and the world. A born storyteller, Robison has written a moving, darkly funny memoir about a life that has taken him from developing exploding guitars for KISS to building a family of his own. It’s a strange, sly, indelible account—sometimes alien yet always deeply human.

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know, Varmint, there are other religious communities like this scattered around the country. The Mennonites. The Amish. The Moonies. They would never host a KISS concert. Not in a million years. But times are changing. We could be playing for the Mormons soon. In Salt Lake City.” But he couldn’t get shopping out of his mind. “I really need new clothes. Look, I brought pictures.” He had Calvin Klein ads, and clippings from People and US magazines with nattily dressed stars and models. He had cut

were answered promptly, and never, ever rejected. But it didn’t last. The economy changed and sales declined. Within a few years, some of us quit and others were laid off. I read that our former VP got arrested downtown, on the street with the pimps, whores, and crack dealers. Why would he do that? I asked myself. I had left that life behind for good the second I got the chance, when I quit the disco sound booth for a real engineering lab. He had grown up in luxury and had a good job as a VP at

in the face of my financial losses. And the electrical problems that had other mechanics scratching their heads proved trivially simple for me. For ten years, I had listened to my bosses tell me that I could not communicate or work with other people. Now the stakes were higher. And I seemed to be communicating successfully. How could I tell? Because people were coming back. And some of them were even visiting with me while work was done. I had found a niche where many of my Aspergian traits

me exactly. When I was younger, I had never been able to connect with kids my own age. A lack of spontaneous seeking to share enjoyment, interests, or achievements with other people (e.g., by a lack of showing, bringing, or pointing out objects of interest to other people). Well, sure. If I can’t connect with people, how can I be expected to show them stuff? That was me, too. Lack of social or emotional reciprocity. I’ve certainly heard that one before. I immediately realized he was

wired to do. I have since learned that kids with Asperger’s don’t pick up on common social cues. They don’t recognize a lot of body language or facial expressions. I know I didn’t. I only recognized pretty extreme reactions, and by the time things were extreme, it was usually too late. With my incredible new skills, I made friends right away. I met the Meyers girls across the street, Christine and Lisa. I made friends with Lenny Persichetti, five doors down. We formed a kid pack, playing

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