A valuable addition to the growing literature on this neurological condition.

ELIJAH’S CUP

A FAMILY’S JOURNEY INTO THE CULTURE AND COMMUNITY OF HIGH-FUNCTIONING AUTISM AND ASPERGER’S SYNDROME

This insightful memoir by the mother of a boy with a high-functioning form of autism includes a history of the disorder, a look at present-day activists, and psychological profiles of well-known people the author believes were autistic.

Paradiz (German Studies/Bard Coll.) views autism not as a mental illness but as a way of life with its own deep culture. While eloquently chronicling day-to-day experiences from her son Elijah’s birth to age 12, she also records her struggle to understand the nature of autism and the unique way in which autistic people experience the world. By chance, she hires as caretaker for her son a woman with Asperger’s Syndrome who recognizes that Elijah has the same condition and helps Paradiz cope with it. Her research leads her to the revelatory writings of two articulate, high-functioning autistic women, Donna Williams and Temple Grandin. When Paradiz learns that autism has a genetic component, she scrutinizes her family tree and concludes that her grandmother, her father, and she herself possess shadow traits that constitute what geneticists call “broader autism phenotype”: intense preoccupations, a preference for solitary activities, a need for sameness in certain aspects of life. Searching for historical role models for her son, who develops a consuming interest in television, especially comedy and animated cartoons, she finds autistic traits in Einstein, whose language development was delayed and whose visual thinking was extraordinary, and in Andy Warhol, another visual thinker whose social interactions were often bizarre; similarly, while perusing a biography of Andy Kaufman, she sees signs of autism in the comedian’s childhood obsession with television performances. Not everyone will accept Paradiz’s view that these individuals’ talents and idiosyncrasies can be explained by autism, but her descriptions of her son’s world and of the autism activists she comes to know are perceptive and enlightening.

A valuable addition to the growing literature on this neurological condition.

Pub Date: April 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-7432-0445-X

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Free Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2002

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

UNTAMED

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

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?

more