Look Me In The Eyes By: John Elder Robinson Discussion...

Plot:Ever since he was small, John Robison had longed to connect with other people, but by the time he was a teenager, his odd habits—an inclination to blurt out non sequiturs, avoid eye contact, dismantle radios, and dig five-foot holes (and stick his younger brother in them)—had earned him the label “social deviant.” No guidance came from his mother, who conversed with light fixtures, or his father, who spent evenings pickling himself in sherry. It was no wonder he gravitated to machines, which could, at least, be counted on.

After fleeing his parents and dropping out of high school, his savant-like ability to visualize electronic circuits landed him a gig with KISS, for whom he created their legendary fire-breathing guitars. Later, he drifted into a “real” job, as an engineer for a major toy company. But the higher Robison rose in the company, the more he had to pretend to be “normal” and do what he simply couldn’t: communicate. It wasn’t worth the paycheck.

It was not until he was forty that an insightful therapist told him he had the form of autism called Asperger’s syndrome. That understanding transformed the way Robison saw himself—and the world.

Look Me in the Eye is the moving, darkly funny story of growing up with Asperger’s at a time when the diagnosis simply didn’t exist. A born storyteller, Robison takes you inside the head of a boy whom teachers and other adults regarded as “defective,” who could not avail himself of KISS’s endless supply of groupies, and who still has a peculiar aversion to using people’s given names (he calls his wife “Unit Two”). He also provides a fascinating reverse angle on the younger brother he left at the mercy of their nutty parents—the boy who would later change his name to Augusten Burroughs and write the bestselling memoir Running with Scissors.

Ultimately, this is the story of Robison’s journey from his world into ours, and his new life as a husband, father, and successful small business owner—repairing his beloved high-end automobiles. It’s a strange, sly, indelible account—sometimes alien, yet always deeply human. (Goodreads) 

My Thoughts: 

  • This man is a Genius!
  • Smart men can even be from something so debilitating as a disease on the autistic spectrum
    • While social interactions aren't his strong suit, he is able to thrive in this world and get on with his life, something we all can learn from 
  • His sense of humor, while almost a dry as a Britt's makes you laugh beyond compare!
  • Through this memoir i have seen aspects of life that i would have never seen without this mans incredibly different angle on the world.
    • Take things slow and enjoy them, John speaks of these events in his life that have changed him in so many ways but he didn't realize it at the time. As a college student entering my first year of university I would love to slow down and Cheerish the times and events that occur during my time at University.
    • Jump at any opportunity given to you... This is impacting John when he gets a chance to work with the band KISS and build custom stage guitars for a few years.  I know you I and the man next door have all heard that you can't go wrong with taking chances, but to me the ideas of failure scared me so much in Highschool that i did not want to chance anything, whether it be school grades, a date with a new girl or opening up to my friends. But in this journey taken by John I have seen the side of life that could be exhilarating, mind blowing and comforting I myself would like us all to be able to experience that at some point in our lives. 
    • The world can be simplistic... 
      • Either calling your friends or family members Snort, or varmint based on some common characteristics or just for fun,  we can look at the world in a simpler way and come together to create something great...

Favorite Quotes:

John Elder gets his hands on a post hole digger and he begins to dig holes in the yard where he gladly sets his brother in a hole about 5ft deep and remarks "'Real Varmints live in holes. And a real Varmint wouldn't have gotten stuck like you did. You must be a retarded Varmint.'"(75) to his little brother who is screaming in the hole...

I Understand on this platform I usually would review a novel but I am choosing to discus this one with you guys! I may have photos up from meeting Robinson this coming weekend at my university convocation...


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