An invaluable guide for those dealing with autism and an inspiring affirmation of every individual’s contribution to “the...

READ REVIEW

IN A DIFFERENT KEY

THE STORY OF AUTISM

How autism has been transformed over the past century into “a threat that stalk[s] the nation,” giving pause to prospective parents.

ABC correspondent Donvan and ABC TV news producer Zucker have covered autism since 2000, when they created the TV series Echoes of Autism. They begin their chronicle in the mid-1930s, when the parents of Donald Triplett consulted with Leo Kanner, head of the Child Psychiatry Department at Johns Hopkins University. They hoped to find help dealing with their 5-year-old son's strange behavior. At that time, the doctor coined the name autism to describe Donald's affliction. Kanner was fascinated by Donald’s cluster of symptoms, but he considered his condition to be untreatable and recommended placement in an institution. The authors explain that until the 1960s, it was still the norm to place children with epilepsy, cerebral palsy, autism, and other intellectual disabilities in what were, in effect, “human warehouses.” To make matters worse, Kanner, in an opinion seconded by renowned child psychiatrist Bruno Bettelheim, attributed the condition to rejection by “refrigerator mothers,” who failed to nurture their children. Parents who sought to keep their children at home were denied community support, and their children could not attend public schools. Ultimately, Donald’s parents rejected Kanner's advice, and he graduated college and became a valued member of his community. In the 1970s, as an offshoot of the civil rights struggle, the rights of the disabled to education and other community services were finally recognized. Today, the definition of autism includes children with minimal language skills and highly verbal college graduates with poor interpersonal skills. How best to serve this diverse community is still hotly debated. In this compelling, well-researched book, the authors weave together the heroic search by parents for treatment and services for their children with the personal stories of a fascinating cast of characters.

An invaluable guide for those dealing with autism and an inspiring affirmation of every individual’s contribution to “the fabric of humanity.”

Pub Date: Jan. 19, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-307-98567-5

Page Count: 608

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

The book would have benefited from a tighter structure, but it’s inspiring and relatable for readers with depression.

THE HILARIOUS WORLD OF DEPRESSION

The creator and host of the titular podcast recounts his lifelong struggles with depression.

With the increasing success of his podcast, Moe, a longtime radio personality and author whose books include The Deleted E-Mails of Hillary Clinton: A Parody (2015), was encouraged to open up further about his own battles with depression and delve deeper into characteristics of the disease itself. Moe writes about how he has struggled with depression throughout his life, and he recounts similar experiences from the various people he has interviewed in the past, many of whom are high-profile entertainers and writers—e.g. Dick Cavett and Andy Richter, novelist John Green. The narrative unfolds in a fairly linear fashion, and the author relates his family’s long history with depression and substance abuse. His father was an alcoholic, and one of his brothers was a drug addict. Moe tracks how he came to recognize his own signs of depression while in middle school, as he experienced the travails of OCD and social anxiety. These early chapters alternate with brief thematic “According to THWoD” sections that expand on his experiences, providing relevant anecdotal stories from some of his podcast guests. In this early section of the book, the author sometimes rambles. Though his experiences as an adolescent are accessible, he provides too many long examples, overstating his message, and some of the humor feels forced. What may sound naturally breezy in his podcast interviews doesn’t always strike the same note on the written page. The narrative gains considerable momentum when Moe shifts into his adult years and the challenges of balancing family and career while also confronting the devastating loss of his brother from suicide. As he grieved, he writes, his depression caused him to experience “a salad of regret, anger, confusion, and horror.” Here, the author focuses more attention on the origins and evolution of his series, stories that prove compelling as well.

The book would have benefited from a tighter structure, but it’s inspiring and relatable for readers with depression.

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-20928-3

Page Count: 304

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more