The audiobook was recommended to me in Spotify, so I put a pin in the audiobook for Never Let Me Go (my wife insists the book is better than the movie, which I couldn’t get into, but the audiobook is a slog too) and started on this one, seeing it was short. It being short was its only saving grace, I must say. I mean, this woman punched a man for blowing a whistle too much. I kinda lost all interest in her viewpoint after she revealed that early on in the book.
On top of that, there’s not much in the way of structure here. It’s just her ramblings that are loosely tied into the DSM-V’s diagnostic criteria for autism, mainly, most of which seems centered on her belief that she should be free to be a whistler-puncher autist if that’s what she identifies as. Like if you took the ABA approach of trying to sand down the rough edges of an autistic child until they’re more “normal” and went in the complete opposite direction, saying “fuck them, lean into your autism and change for nobody.” It’s not exactly a helpful way of looking at things either, nor are any of her tips particularly helpful.
If you’re after a brief, workmanlike summation of autism, maybe this can help some with that, if you skip everything else. But that’s precisely what I would do: skip everything else. She’s just not a very likable person. I’m not saying it’s because she’s autistic. I’m saying it’s because that’s the personality she’s cultivated, clearly by choice from how she talks throughout the book. Just a stubborn refusal to do anything but give into whatever it is she wants to do, even if that’s punching a man for whistling too much. Oh, and she shows a peculiar lack of expertise when it comes to things relating to autism given how she talks about it at points, suggesting people can be more or less autistic, or higher or lower functioning, ignoring that it’s high or low support needs now. She spends plenty of time talking about the controversy surrounding Asperger, as well as the debate about whether it’s “autistic person” or “person with autism,” yet these other issues seem lost on her. Strange.
So, yeah, I read this because I’ve legit had the title of the book said to me aloud upon telling somebody I was autistic, but I wish that darn title hadn’t hooked me in.