Now there’s a title that just slips of the tongue. This book has been sculling around the house for more than 18 months in part because I didn’t feel I could really do it justice. I do not know any young men, or even older men, with Asperger Syndrome. All I know about, is autism, straight and complicated, and even then I would only ever claim to know a little bit about some aspects of autism.
Additionally, since I am an older woman in a long term partnership, I’m not qualified to consider early romantic emotions—can’t remember that far back. So that’s why it’s sat there all this while.
Then, just the other day, we experienced something new.
I walked my youngest son away from his class room. He was, as is quite common, railing at the world, his fists in the air, punching at the skies about all the many injustices of this world.
He was very loud.
People, other mums and dads and children in both directions, were privy to his opinions screamed to the clouds on high. It’s hard to use your ‘inside’ voice when you have just escaped to the outside, so I thought it best to head for the car at high speed, and beat a hasty retreat. I confirmed my sympathies with his plight—yes, backpacks on wheels may well be the work of the devil, but people are free to make their own choices and we must be careful not to hurt their feelings.
He seemed not to have noticed the two delightful little girls walking in front of us with the wheelie backpacks—pink. Nor did he notice their shy glances back at him, the giggles, the smiles. We gathered together at the curbside to cross the road. He pogoed on the spot. They watched. Marching over the road, stiff-legged Mario style, it was clear he would not let up any time soon. His curses, Spongebob mode, continued to flow. The girls stopped at their car and waved goodbye to my son, saying ‘see you tomorrow.’ Then he noticed them and when prompted, managed a reply.
It was a timely reminder.
Is my son about to have a relationship?
I doubt it.
Is he likely to have one in the future?
Undoubtedly. I’ll deal with that in time as well or badly as any other parent. But what about the person he forms a relationship with, if she happens to be a woman? Would this book help her? Should I give it to her now so she can read up in advance?
So with that rubric, lets see.
Reading this book reminded me of Cosmopolitan Magazine when I was a teen: straightforward, easy to understand language, brief and always with a positive spin at the end of each chapter which Rudy titled – on a positive note. For those paragraphs alone, I would give her a good score card, and many of them made me howl with laughter.
I also enjoyed the paragraphs labeled ‘his words,’ which are comments by AS men about the subject of the chapter. I don’t know if they’re quotes from real [anonymous] people, but I suspect they are.
Number 19 is a good example:- you will never change him, even if you can successfully change his behavior.
His words:- “Asperger’s is just another thing like restless leg syndrome.”
Then Rudy writes:- “The very things that drive you nuts might be inherently intertwined with the things that are most beguiling.”
Now isn’t that the truth. I wouldn’t necessarily agree with all that is written here but it is nonetheless valid, interesting and thought provoking.
And lastly, the illustrations by Emma Rios are, of course, quite simply delightful.