Sunday, June 17, 2012

Aspie Book Club

Hello all you Aspergians, Neurodiverse, Neurodiversity activists, friends, family and supporters out there. I'm not doing a full on entry today, though I do have some ideas for my next one. Today I wanted to take some time and introduce a new column I'll be running on occasion. Introducing the Aspie Book Club! The premise is simple; Every time I come across a book, or article that addresses neurodiversity in a positive and constructive manner, I'll be writing a quick profile of it here on Differently Wired. The purpose of this is, I hope, to increase awareness of some really talented writers and activists who have made positive contributions to the movement. This should be interactive too; I want to get comments from anyone who reads this blog! Anyway, on to the main event!

Today, I want to give a special shout out to the author of a book I recently finished reading. John Elder Robison is the author of "Be Different", his memoir of his own experiences growing up Aspie. I've said it before on this blog; I may have Aspergers more mildly than some, but even so reading through his book, I was amazed how many times I saw myself in it. The best part about this book, though, is that unlike a lot of literature about Aspergers or Autism that focuses on treatment methods, coping strategies, and such, "Be Different" takes a different path. Robison is truly optimistic and honest about his experiences, basically coming to the conclusion that despite it having caused him hardship growing up, he wouldn't give up being an Aspie for anything. This is a refreshing approach to the subject, and it was a joy to read. Here's a picture of the cover:

(image pulled from can't actually 'click to look inside' :P)

Well that's that for this instalment of Aspie Book Club! Check back soon for my reminisces on some particularly Aspergian elements of my own childhood. 

Yours in Diversity,

Adam Michael

1 comment:

  1. I wanted to send this to you and this seemed the only way available to me to do so. It doesn’t seem totally inappropriate to do it this way.

    The short of it is that I’ve written a novel in which the protagonist is an adult with a history of autistic behavior and I’m looking for a way to find a few readers within the Autism/Asperger community to tell me what they think. I would like to know where those with experience find the novel on the scale of inspiring to irrelevant to offensive.

    I didn’t write the novel with the intent of making a statement about autism. In 2006 I was working on linking a collection of short stories I’d written when I read an issue of Time Magazine featuring autism. I realized how well the autistic syndrome fit my protagonist. I read a half dozen books by and about people with autism and used what I learned to enrich my character. The detail this added brought about the evolution of the set of stories to the novel it has become.

    While I have no direct experience with autism or Asperger syndrome I have experienced living with a disability. I’m visually impaired which has meant among other things that I’ve never had a driver’s license and that I have trouble recognizing people until I know them well. Both have been significant social liabilities.

    All this contributed to the background from which the novel comes. Its title is Memoir of an Unlikely Savior. In it, Frank would like to be successful with women and with writing, but his autistic childhood, visual impairment, and dysfunctional family are too much to overcome. Then on vacation in Hawaii, Frank has what feels like a paranormal experience on the Arizona Memorial that starts him down a path of psychological and spiritual self-discovery. In making the transitions from weird to respected, awkward to insightful, brainy to wise, his relationships with women shift from fearful to erotic, and through them doors open to unexpected opportunities with his writing. Lifting himself from the purgatory to which his past had banished him, he inadvertently helps free those he connects with from their own shadowed depths, making his story the Memoir of an Unlikely Savior.

    I have the history that went into the book but I’m still lacking opinions from those who know. The book is published as an ebook and in paperback on More can be learned about it and me at and on Facebook at I’d be pleased to provide anyone interested with a set of .doc or .docx files or a .mobi Kindle file. (Free Kindle reader apps can be downloaded from for any device from PCs to iPhones, though unless one has had experience reading novels on an iPhone I don’t recommend it.)

    So now after writing far more than I’d intended I come back to my original question. Can you suggest a forum within the autistic/Asperger community through which I can appropriately present my novel and ask for readers?

    If you’ve gotten this far, thank you very much for your attention, and your patience.


    Peter VanDenBeemt