RAISING CUBBY by John Elder Robison


A Father and Son's Adventures with Asperger's, Trains, Tractors, and High Explosives
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A father reflects on the “tumultuous father-son journey” that he and his son have shared.

In this alternately funny and moving memoir, a follow-up to his 2007 best-seller, Look Me in the Eye, Robison (Be Different, 2012, etc.) discusses how he dealt with the joys and challenges of fatherhood. As he relates, these were exacerbated by his own social inadequacies and those of his son, both of whom are Aspergian and suffer from “blindness to the nonverbal signals of others.” The author reveals his thought processes as he struggled to share his painfully arrived-at social insights with his son in order to help him navigate a fulfilling life. Though his early life was rocky, Robison became a successful electrical engineer. Although he had not completed high school, he worked on sound and lighting effects for Kiss and other top rock bands of the 1970s. Later, he designed computer games before opening his own business restoring and servicing high-end European cars. When his son was born in 1990, fatherhood proved to be more of a challenge. Beginning with his efforts to understand why his baby was crying, he describes the trial-and-error problem-solving approach that he used to compensate for his inability to intuit social signals. In 2007, his 17-year-old son, who had a basement chemistry lab, was arrested for “possessing explosives with intent to harm people or property.” Although he was ultimately exonerated, Robison believes that targeting his son was an example of political grandstanding by the prosecution and a failure of the justice system.

A warmhearted, appealing account by a masterful storyteller.

Pub Date: March 12th, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-307-88484-8
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Crown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 2012

Kirkus Interview
John Elder Robison
author of SWITCHED ON
March 14, 2016

In 2007, John Elder Robison wrote the international bestseller Look Me in the Eye, a memoir about growing up with Asperger’s syndrome. Amid the blaze of publicity that followed, he received a unique invitation: would John like to take part in a study led by one of the world’s foremost neuroscientists, who would use an experimental new brain therapy known as TMS, or transcranial magnetic stimulation, in an effort to understand and then address the issues at the heart of autism? Switched On is the extraordinary story of what happened next. It has long been assumed that people living with autism are born with the diminished ability to read the emotions of others, even as they feel emotion deeply. But what if we’ve been wrong all this time? What if that “missing” emotional insight was there all along, locked away and inaccessible in the mind? “A fascinating companion to the previous memoirs by this masterful storyteller,” our reviewer writes. View video >


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