A breezy, upbeat memoir from a 22-year-old Canadian autism advocate and stand-up comic.
Diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder at age 5, McCreary is quite unlike the stereotypical Aspie (a term he uses interchangeably with autistic person, person on the spectrum, and similar phrases): hopeless at math but extroverted, verbose, and in love with performing. He repeatedly emphasizes that ASD manifests differently in everyone—indeed, his younger brother, also autistic, is in many ways his polar opposite. He recounts his journey to his dream of becoming a professional comedian, including triumphs and humiliations, family, teachers, friends, and enemies, all in a wry, self-deprecating voice peppered with innumerable pop-culture references and relentless optimism. Along the way, he provides an intimate glimpse of one autistic person’s inner life, highlighting common experiences, explaining widespread coping mechanisms, and demolishing popular misconceptions. Some readers might yearn for his advantages of economic means, supportive community, and excellent, well-funded special needs programs in the public schools; still, he acknowledges his struggles with living independently and that some persons with ASD may never achieve that. Nonetheless, the hard-won lessons he shares—be understanding, don’t judge, live for the moment, never give up, and “shut up and listen”—are worthwhile for autistic and neurotypical alike.
“I didn’t want to be inspirational; I just wanted to be funny.” Happily he manages to be both. (Memoir. 12-18)