Right now I’m reading Following Ezra: What One Father Learned About Gumby, Otters, Autism, and Love From His Extraordinary Son, by Tom Fields-Meyer.
Fields-Meyer’s experience writing for People (among other publications) is evident in his warm, conversational writing voice. He faces the challenges of raising his autistic son with patience and optimism, and appreciates Ezra for who he is, rather than grieving for the child that wasn’t.
As I read Following Ezra, I often find myself thinking about Daniel Stefanski’s How to Talk to an Autistic Kid.
While his book isn’t exactly a memoir, Daniel has created a clear and accessible window into his mind. He explains some of the things autistic people do that can be frustrating for neurotypical people, such as getting stuck on a conversational topic or failing to interpret body language, and gives practical advice for addressing these situations.
While the world can still be a frustrating place for people with autism and their families, it’s encouraging to see this much support. A few years ago I read the memoir of a man who grew up with autism before it was commonly diagnosed –
Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger’s by John Elder Robison.
Robison describes how many people reacted negatively to his “Aspergian” mindset and behavior, mistaking them for character flaws. But his differences ultimately led him to a career and a life that he loved; and after his diagnosis at the age of 40, he came to see them in a more positive light.
(Side note – Robison is the older brother of Augusten Burroughs, whose memoir Running with Scissors also covers their childhood.)
Of course, these are just a few people’s stories. The autism spectrum is a huge topic, and the library has a lot of information about it. If you’re interested in learning more, don’t hesitate to visit or give us a call.