My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Sum it up in a sentence (or two): A history of autism, told as a story with major characters, both heroic and antagonistic. The most inclusive/comprehensive piece of writing I've ever read on the topic.
First thoughts: As someone who isn't super familiar with autism, this was a fascinating read. It really is a story - a collection of stories - that altogether shows the big picture (maybe not the entire picture, but a lot of it) of something humans have struggled to categorize for close to 80 years.
Story thoughts: I'm really emphasizing this. This book was a story. Non-fiction, yes, but even down to the terms the authors used - "narrative of autism," "cameo appearances," "observations," "interpretations," - and how each person is introduced as a character with unique motivations and developments. And the cliffhangers! There was a lot of drama, things I didn't expect, things that kept me hooked. There were twists and turns and red herrings, almost like a historical mystery.
"...the definition of autism has always been malleable." -p370
"If you've met one person with autism, you've met one person with autism." -p371
Recommended for: anyone who works with, knows, cares about, is confused by, or has wondered about someone with autism, med school students of all specialties, teachers of all age ranges, historians, and social workers.
Final thoughts: Whew. Intense - but I feel a lot more educated (and like I should read further) on the topic of autism. It has a dramatic story - ups, downs, different "champions," different perspectives. This was both interesting and informative.
Editor's Note: I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.
View all my reviews