Saturday, September 11, 2010

Look me in the Eyes

I just finished listening to another audio book today.  It was Look me in the Eye by John Elder Robison.  Brief synopsis for those who haven't heard of it, a memoir of an aspergian (his word usage, same meaning as me saying I am an Aspie) who grows up from a broken family, develops savant skills working with electronics dealing with music and special effects, drops out of school, does major work for big name rock and roll bands, goes on to become an engineer/executive at various electronics companies, and finally settles down to be a car mechanic, only learning that he was on the autistic spectrum when he was in his 40's.

Lets just say I have mixed feelings about the book.  He's not the kind of person I would have made a point to get to know when I was growing up.  The focus on rock and roll in the book was almost a turn off to me.  When the main thing that gets mentioned in a lot of review blurbs is that he designed guitars for KISS, it lead me to believe the book was more of interest for his involvement in rock and roll than for his Asperger Syndrome.  So I never put the book on my wish lists.  But when I noticed it was a downloaded audiobook from my library, I figured it couldn't hurt to try it out for free.  And when I did download it, the pervasive profanity and background story elements of the associations that come with being employed by a heavy metal band were significant turn offs.

But, I also couldn't put the book down.  So many of his experiences hauntingly remind me of my own past.  Some of the negative things that happened to him could have been my experiences as well if things had been just a little different here and there.  The descriptions of lost relationships, missed opportunities, and the constant analytical questions about basic emotional social interactions that others take for granted all spoke to me.  Even if the settings in which he describes these events in are bizarrely out of my experience, I still get the point.  I don't know if the book will ever make its way onto my shopping list or whether I'd recommend it to my younger friends on the spectrum, but I'm glad I read it just the same.  It was a beautiful experience to read and made me review my life again and be grateful I didn't have to wait till I was 40 to begin to understand myself.  I just wish I could have had the chance to start understanding myself at a much younger age... some things might have been different if I had known so many things...

No comments: