Thursday, May 22, 2008

finished reading

Over the past few days I finished reading Jacob have I Loved and Look Me in the Eye. Reports:

Jacob have I Loved is a coming of age novel, a sort of modern Jacob & Esau (hence the title) story. It's well written, but since I think the target audience is adolescents, I didn't really connect with the story too much. It did make me think about parenting issues, though, and the importance of making sure each of your children feel loved and valued for who they are.

Look Me in the Eye is about the author's experiences growing up with undiagnosed Asperger's Syndrome. He didn't find out about it until he was in his late 30s or so, I believe. Socially he struggled, and had to deal with so many negative assessments of his personality and behavior throughout his growing up years. He did have real genius for electronics and computers, though, and had a number of adventures developing cool stuff like rocket-shooting guitars and smoking guitars as well as the lighting effects for KISS on tour. I heard about this book on NPR quite a while ago and requested it at the library. My main motivation was to get a better understanding of Asperger's, as David's friend and computer programmer has Asperger's, too. Reading the book was really insightful into what it must be like to live in his mind. It was well written and the stories were enjoyable, but near the end I was just done looking at the world through his eyes. People with Asperger's have a hard time seeing others' points of view and are typically self-centered as a result, and I was tired of the "Me me me" focus of the book. Though, of course, I guess that's the point of most biopic writing. I did finish it, though, and would recommend it to anyone interested or curious. I'm looking forward to reading some of the writings of his younger brother, Augusten Burroughs, starting with Running with Scissors . Their parents had quite a variety of problems, so if nothing else you come away with renewed gratitude for your own, less traumatic childhoods. (Assuming you had such a childhood. I was fortunate enough to.)

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