An autistic man shares dating lessons and advice.
In this often moving memoir and advice book, dedicated to his “soul mate,” debut author Scarantino shares his unique perspective as a person with a disability trying to find love. His frustration is palpable in the book’s touching, succinct introduction, in which he reflects on the time before he was in a steady relationship: “I look at guys everywhere with their girlfriends and wonder if that’ll ever be me,” he writes. Yet borne from his exasperation, loneliness, and trial-and-error searching came illumination on the do’s and don’ts of dating with autism. In straightforward, declarative text that’s devoid of decoration or extraneous exposition, the 20-something author combines stories of personal encounters with sage advice about dealing with shyness and depression, differentiating between flirting and platonic friendliness, managing others’ perceptions of autistic people, and understanding inappropriate behaviors and social cues. Scarantino admits that he made errors during his first relationship in college, which he says was hastily initiated: “I bought her some things that some boyfriends wouldn’t buy for their girlfriends right away,” he notes. He counsels readers seeking romance to look for someone who “will love you for you,” and he also talks about proactively managing one’s own hypersensitivity (or marked indifference) regarding sexual conversations or interpersonal contact. Overall, Scarantino bares his soul with integrity and humor throughout this book. Along the way, he encourages readers to approach dating, both online and in person, with careful confidence and to appreciate both good and bad experiences, as “You never know where they can lead you.” Although some of the commentary is repetitive, the author’s heartfelt guidance is consistently well-intentioned, and this book will make an essential addition to autism-related libraries.
Earnest and realistic romantic advice for readers on the autism spectrum.