Customer Reviews for

Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger's

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

Perfect Insight

I am a school teacher and have been around autism all of my life. My uncle has autism. 'Look Me In The Eye' gives you insight of the life of a boy and a man living with autism. John Elder Robison seems at the upper (higher functioning) end of the autism spectrum. M...
I am a school teacher and have been around autism all of my life. My uncle has autism. 'Look Me In The Eye' gives you insight of the life of a boy and a man living with autism. John Elder Robison seems at the upper (higher functioning) end of the autism spectrum. Mr. Robison's way of telling his life story is phenomenal. I had trouble putting the book down. The insight that he gives about someone with autism is great. If you know anyone with autism or are in a profession that may have to deal with autism, this is definitely a book to read.

posted by JennyD525 on April 7, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

A Book That Makes You Smile and Cry

People with Aspergers see the world differently than you and me. I read a memoir, called Look Me in the Eye by John Elder Robinson. It is a great book, I would recommend to adult readers. The story is about a boy named John Elder Robison who lives his life not knowing h...
People with Aspergers see the world differently than you and me. I read a memoir, called Look Me in the Eye by John Elder Robinson. It is a great book, I would recommend to adult readers. The story is about a boy named John Elder Robison who lives his life not knowing he has Aspergers. John Elder struggles to socialize correctly and doesn't know why he can't make friends. As Entertainment Weekly newspaper says, "Growing up was a mystifying experience for John Elder Robison, a bright kid unable to grasp even the most basic social skills - a condition he later learned was a form of autism called Aspergers." Aspergers is a form of autism mostly affecting the person's social skills. I really liked the part where John is a little boy and decides to name his little brother "Varmint. I really did like this book but I would not recommend it to young readers. I don't think that this would be a good book for young readers because it is slow and not very action packed and some of the content, it could get boring for some readers.

posted by BaileyT7E on April 8, 2009

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  • Posted April 7, 2010

    Perfect Insight

    I am a school teacher and have been around autism all of my life. My uncle has autism. 'Look Me In The Eye' gives you insight of the life of a boy and a man living with autism. John Elder Robison seems at the upper (higher functioning) end of the autism spectrum. Mr. Robison's way of telling his life story is phenomenal. I had trouble putting the book down. The insight that he gives about someone with autism is great. If you know anyone with autism or are in a profession that may have to deal with autism, this is definitely a book to read.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 8, 2009

    A Book That Makes You Smile and Cry

    People with Aspergers see the world differently than you and me. I read a memoir, called Look Me in the Eye by John Elder Robinson. It is a great book, I would recommend to adult readers. The story is about a boy named John Elder Robison who lives his life not knowing he has Aspergers. John Elder struggles to socialize correctly and doesn't know why he can't make friends. As Entertainment Weekly newspaper says, "Growing up was a mystifying experience for John Elder Robison, a bright kid unable to grasp even the most basic social skills - a condition he later learned was a form of autism called Aspergers." Aspergers is a form of autism mostly affecting the person's social skills. I really liked the part where John is a little boy and decides to name his little brother "Varmint. I really did like this book but I would not recommend it to young readers. I don't think that this would be a good book for young readers because it is slow and not very action packed and some of the content, it could get boring for some readers.

    3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 10, 2009

    Highly Recommended

    This book is a quick read showing the internal struggles of someone with this disease as only someone on the "inside" can do. It was a great eye-opener for me, especially to hear what the author is thinking and the way information is "mis-translated" by his brain to our ears. I learned so much and it increased my patience when dealing with others. I applaud this man for writing about his experiences with wit and good humor and thank him for helping me to understand. If you are at all on the fence about reading this book, read it. You will be amazed.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2010

    Loved it!

    I had only heard of Asperger's and this book was my opportunity to learn more. I was drawn inside the mind of someone who has a very different way of thinking and looking at things. The narrator's train of thoughts, though hilarious at times, is always very logical. Some of his personal struggles are easy to relate to if you have ever been misunderstood by people around you.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 2009

    Highly Recommend!

    I am a mother of four and I don't have much time to spend on leisurely reading. However, this book caught my interest from the moment I began reading. It is written in the most human, wonderful fashion. It just drew me in. I do have a compelling interest to read the book as I see many Asperger's like traits in my father's side of the family (although undiagnosed) and it was eye-opening to read into the world of someone who has Asberger's and has developed a successful career despite the sometimes socially crippling aspects of the diagnosis. FANTASTIC READ!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 14, 2009

    As entertaining as it is informative

    This book is touching, funny, and informative. I picked it up at Sam's Club because it looked better than the fiction on the next shelf -- I was not disappointed. An enjoyable read that also gave me insight into the ups and downs of life with Aspergers.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 18, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    If only more people would read this...

    I picked this up out of curiousity after having read Daniel Tammett's book. I was by far NOT disappointed!

    John very candidly writes about living with undiagnosed Asperger's, and what it was like being on the autistic spectrum, but not being aware of it. It wasn't until later in life that a good friend suggested he might by an Aspergian, and he finally had a diagnosis.

    This opened by eyes to those people in our lives who might be eccentric or different, and that they might not be that way just because they're weird. They might genuinely not understand the outside world as I understand it, and maybe just need some patience on my part for us to understand each other.

    If you have a child who you suspect or know to be an Aspergian...read this book! It's proof that just because your child, or really any person, might be a bit different, it doesn't mean they can't make their way in the world.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 7, 2014

    My wife purchased this book in the hopes we could read it and he

    My wife purchased this book in the hopes we could read it and help figure out how to real/relate to our oldest son, whom we suspect is Aspergian. After having read the book, I will say that it was somewhat helpful.

    Robison is basically writing his autobiography with Look Me in the Eye, but he does deliver some side bars with respect to his condition that make me understand my son - and myself, since I saw elements of myself as well - much better.

    Saddled with being in a dysfunctional family in the time before Aspergers was well known, Robison attempts to get through childhood in something close to one piece. Given his alcoholic father and mentally unstable mother, this is not easy. His failures to find lasting friendships and his withdrawal from others in his age group is painful to read. He does go on to find acceptance in the form of his mechanical abilities which lead him to the local music scene in Massachusetts as well as touring gigs with April Wine and KISS. From there, he works at Milton Bradley and currently as an auto repairman for high-end vehicles like Land Rovers. In short, he has not let his Aspergers define his life.

    While he has made something of his life, Robison takes pains to show how he is handicapped, mostly in the realm of human relationships. His current wife is a great resource for him in this regard, as she has been teaching him those moments when an off-the-cuff, extraneous reply is OK and when it is not. She is also sensitive to his needs and is able to calm him when he is anxious.

    The book is by turns sad and heartwarming. To see how his life has been affected by this condition and to see what he's missed out on life because of it is heart-wrenching. I can see how elements of this condition have affected me and what it has cost me. Yet, I see the same thing happening to my own son and my wife and I try to do what we can, and yet....

    The fact that Robison HAS overcome Aspergers - he does not consider it a handicap, but rather just a part of who he is - gives me hope for my son as well. The fact that Aspergians can and do have tremendous powers of concentration and can master things that interest them means that raising such a child is not better or worse than a "normal" child - just different. That - I believe - is the real selling point for this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 14, 2013

    This book was an excellent story about the author's life struggl

    This book was an excellent story about the author's life struggles with Asperger's. It opened my eyes to how people with autism are treated so differently in society and are automatically labeled as "not normal". It portrayed a message that everyone should be treated equal and just because our minds cannot process things the same does not mean they should be labeled as any less than every other human being. I liked this book because it was written from the perspective of someone who has actually experienced the hardships of Asperger's instead of an outsider’s opinion on what autism is. It was more relatable and I felt more empathy for the main character because he described the events of his own life from his perspective. The writing style made it an easy read and I couldn’t put the book down. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone, especially people with a biased opinion about someone with Asperger’s because it changed my mind about how I view not only people with disabilities but other people in society as well.

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  • Posted February 20, 2013

    Look me in the Eye written by John Elder Robinson tracks the li

    Look me in the Eye written by John Elder Robinson tracks the life of a man suffering from a form of autism, Asperger’s syndrome. The unique aspect of this case is Robinson knew he was different from everyone else, but he did not know why or how. Robinson’s differences included random blurbs, dissembling household items, and digging five foot holes for his brother to go in. He lived his life in an unstable household where he soon escaped from and dropped out of school which would be the best thing he would do with his life. Going on to be a successful man in the music technology industry, working with Kiss and Pink Floyd and then running and operating his own car restoration business. He uncovered he had Asperger’s syndrome when we was thirty-nine years old
    This story is deeply moving because of the hardship Robinson faced as a young child, but is filled with comic relief as he tells his story with a sense of humor and childhood anecdotes of his brother and himself. The fact that Robinson did not know he had a mental disability is the most astonishing because he had no way of understanding why he had troubles communicating with people. He stuck out life a sore thumb, but he overcame it. The lesson he taught was if motivation and passion exist in life, anything is possible. Robinson was forced to jump major hurdles to be happy and successful. Because Asperger’s was not a diagnosis is this time period, he had no excuses for himself and he pushed through.
    The novel is passionate, yet funny, which is not an easy combination, so the book is always entertaining. There is never a dull moment and it’s hard not to like. Also, you learn a lot about what it is like growing up with a mental disability, increasing the interest level. The story makes you reflect on your own life because this man with Asperger’s syndrome is so successful and overpowering major obstacles in his life that would easily discourage anyone. You take a step back and become grateful for the brain power you have and stop taking life for granted.
    Look me in the Eye is a must read because of the courage and motivation it teaches through a child growing up not knowing why he cannot make friends. The anecdotes create a more personal connection level and allow the reader to judge their life for what it is worth and everything they have. The reader learns anything is possible, no matter the circumstances, if passion and motivation is involved.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2013

    Interesting

    Loved the picture on the cover of this book, in some ways it says it all. The author is obviously a very gifted man who expresses himself directly and in short sentences. An interesting discussion of fact and probably for this personal some emotion - however I would have liked to have greater insite into the thinking process itself - but that may not be possible. Worth reading to get another point of view.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2012

    Good read to help anyone understand Asperger's

    I particularly like this book because it is written by someone who actually has Asperger's and I can see from inside the real mind of someone how the brain is working, processing in ways that are different from the "norm".

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  • Posted January 5, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Must read for society.

    As a fan of author Augusten Burroughs’ memoir Running with Scissors, I’ve always had a fascination with learning more about him and his odd upbringing. In Running with Scissors he discusses his older brother who was a bit of an oddity as a child. Later in life it’s discovered that his brother, John Elder, has a form of autism better known as Asperger’s. Look Me In the Eye is John Elder’s memoir about his life with this disease and how he overcame its limitations to find success in life.

    Growing up in a childhood that would barely be considered habitable by most standards, John Elder Robinson traveled through childhood with a feeling of detachment and awkwardness. For all he knew, he just wanted to make the other kids like him. Unfortunately for him, however, the things that thought were completely acceptable happened to make the other kids view him as strange and awkward. Not letting this deter him, Robinson attempted to learn to change his behavior to suit his environment and view his social experiences objectively. These same analytical skills served him well later on in his life, as Robinson developed an aptitude for all things mechanical and eventually went on to design famous flaming guitars for KISS. After being diagnosed with Asperger’s at 40, Robinson looks back at his life with a new perspective and new insight into his life.

    As someone who has grown up with a learning disability, I can relate to Robison’s depiction of society and their views on individuals that are different from the “mainstream”. When I was a child, I found that at times I felt like I needed to respond to the social clues around me instead of instinctively being able to mesh with my peers. Additionally, I was amazed by the fantastic amount of emotion that Robison was able to convey in his writing, all with a diagnosis that apparently prevents him from being able to do just that. His descriptions of his despair, anger, and longing as a child, his pride and joy in succeeding in his professional life, and especially his amazement at finding love and beginning a family were all fantastic to read. It’s not that people with Asperger’s are incapable of feeling; the lack of the ability to express these emotions doesn’t mean that they don’t feel each and every one of them. Robison’s ability to tell us what he felt in all of these particular situations in amazing detail is testament to his awesome talents as a writer and the wonderful life he has lived thus far.

    The book is fabulously written, giving readers an insight into what it’s like for someone with Asperger’s. If you know someone who suffers from a form of autism I highly suggest giving this book a read; it might help you to understand what it’s like inside their mind, offering up a stronger relationship between you.

    Kimberly (Reflections of a Book Addict)

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  • Posted November 27, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Entertaining, but not entirely believable

    The attraction of this book to most people is the fact that John Elder Robison grew up with Asperger's syndrome back before such a syndrome was diagnosed. I recently recommended it to the father of someone with Asperger's to help him understand the perspective of his child (rather than the perspective of the doctors). Although I've heard this is one of the best books for getting a first-hand perspective, readers should be forewarned that his interpretations of childhood memories are tainted by his adult knowledge of the disease. In his childhood stories, he often described rationalities that a child (savant-like or not) is not mature enough to feel. However, that's just a caveat of memoirs. Also, although his stories of older-teen and adult life were funny and interesting, some of them were not so realistic. For instance, the idea that an intelligent man (even a coke-head) could repeatedly snort ceramic powder and think he was snorting coke is just preposterous. Even if he didn't notice that he wasn't getting the same "kick," I'm sure the ceramics would have had some noticeable negative effects. Then again, this may be an example of a true, but exaggerated, story. And I'm sure exaggeration is a caveat of memoirs as well.

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  • Posted May 5, 2010

    Very Enlightening

    Was told about this book as school, since I work with students that have Autism. What he talks about how his feeling makes the whole Autism spectrum so different.

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  • Posted February 21, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Look in the Mirror

    Been lonely all your life? Failed in your career because you are not a "team player"? People tell you that you are aloof, interested in "wierd" things," etc.? READ THIS BOOK!
    The middle of the book sags, but the revelations are worth it. Whether you or a family member or friend have been diagnosed or not, you will understand why you can't "look [them] in the eye", and be inspired to know that you are not alone.
    Aspergian non-team players may want to consider telling your employer that you are "en[dis]abled" with Asperger's, and ask if "team playing" is an essential function of your job.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2010

    Very Good Book

    The book really helps you see things from another viewpoint! Very interesting esp. if you have a child with aspergers or know someone with it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2009

    Great Book

    This is a good read. I acutally listened to the CD. It was very informative and gave interesting insight into the mind of someone who has Asberger's Syndrome.

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  • Posted August 29, 2009

    Funny and well written

    John Elder really did a good job turning his life with Asperger's into a funny, touching story. A great read for anyone with a connection to Asperger's. Made me understand my husband and son better!

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  • Posted July 30, 2009

    Must read this brilliant memoir!!

    In his enthralling memoir, John Elder Robison provides us with a captivating glimpse into how his unique, gifted mind works. Raised by an alcoholic, abusive father and a mentally-ill mother, he overcomes the many challenges of growing up with Asperger's. Socially awkward, he learns how to correctly respond to comments made in conversations. Mr. Robison also shares many insightful stories which are both humorous and poignant. Blessed with a special ability to sharply focus and learn quickly, along with an extraordinary talent for mechanics, he makes many amazing contributions to the areas of music and electronics. Today, he runs a very successful and productive small business restoring old cars. Mr. Robison has magnificently-written a brilliant, enlightening book that I absolutely LOVED for many reasons. Finding out the details of his various electronics projects was really interesting. Learning about his thought process during a conversation was quite fascinating. I also really enjoyed reading narrative from a different perspective. I don't have a connection to Asperger's or Autism, but if I do meet someone, I'll certainly understand what life is like for them. This book also served as an excellent reminder for me to stop and think before I judge the actions or behavior of someone else. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK!

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