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Episodes: My Life as I See It

Episodes: My Life as I See It

3.0 2
by Blaze Ginsberg

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EPISODES is a memoir like no other. Debut writer, Blaze Ginsberg, offers a unique perspective on his life as a highly-functioning autistic 21 year old. Inspired by the format of the Internet Movie Database, Blaze organizes his life events as a collection of episodes. Some episodes are still running, some are in syndication, and some have sadly come to an end. With


EPISODES is a memoir like no other. Debut writer, Blaze Ginsberg, offers a unique perspective on his life as a highly-functioning autistic 21 year old. Inspired by the format of the Internet Movie Database, Blaze organizes his life events as a collection of episodes. Some episodes are still running, some are in syndication, and some have sadly come to an end. With an innovative style and approach that is all its own, EPISODES reinvents the traditional memoir; and it will inspire young readers to see the world as they've never seen it before.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“This memoir is like nothing else you’ve ever read. . . Blaze gives readers and writers of all ages an innovative approach to memoir . . . and, for those who live or work with students with diverse learning strategies, he gives us a privileged passport to a dynamic and complex inner life.”Shelf Awareness

“Hey, have you seen the one about the guy making sense of his life through television?  I sat on my sofa all night and couldn’t take my eyes off it.  It’s got a pace and an energy I haven’t seen for seasons.  Check it out, it’s one of the best things on, a great, great show.” —Daniel Handler

This book provides memorable insight into the author’s distinctive mind and spirit.” —Booklist

“The format for Blaze’s tale is unique and suits the story.” —VOYA

“A singular reading experience that gives insight into an equally singular way of processing and reflecting on life.”—Publishers Weekly

“Blaze is brave. Blaze is bold. Blaze blazes his own literary path with humor and pathos. Blaze has a capacity to translate the often untranslatable differences of human beings . . . A triumph!” —Jamie Lee Curtis


Each passage functions as a minimalist gateway into his passions, dreams, fears and desires.” —Kirkus Reviews


“Most importantly, Ginsberg give readers a unique glimpse into an adolescent mind that is simply wired differently.” —School Library Journal

 “Major props to Blaze Ginsberg for his tour de force memoir, EPISODES. The creative format, combined with the author’s total honesty, allows easy access to his differently wired brain. Thank you, Blaze, for letting us in.” —Ellen Hopkins, bestselling author of Crank and Tweak

“I’m always happy to see examples of courage, intelligence, wit, and talent, but to find all these qualities in a single book is amazing. Blaze Ginsberg is my new hero. I don’t know any other writer more brave or honest, and how can you say anything better about a guy and his work than that?"  

Terry Trueman, author of the Printz Honor book, Stuck in Neutral


“The categories ‘autobiography’ and ‘memoir’ don't fully express what this book is all about. EPISODES has all of the deep and human mystery of a novel. Here is a map to a strange and wonderful world.” —Ron Koertge, author of Stoner and Spaz


“It’s a privilege and a delight to be able to see the world through the eyes of Blaze Ginsberg. EPISODES is fascinating, funny, poignant, frustrating, enlightening, unique.” —A. M. Jenkins, Printz Honor recipient for Repossessed


“Blaze Ginsberg’s memoir, EPISODES, is a deep, brilliant, unapologetic, and unbelievably fascinating tour through the mind of a young so-called ‘special needs’ student, told with heartbreaking honesty and the kind of humor for which no adjectives currently exist. However the teenage author has been labeled by his local school system, what makes him special on the page are the gripping and absolutely original details of his own condition, and by extension, the human condition.  I cannot think of a recent book I loved more than this one. EPISODES is like nothing you will ever read. It is truly an inspiring, beautiful, life-changing, and life-affirming work of art.” —Jerry Stahl, author of Permanent Midnight


"Refreshing." —Jenny, age 16

Publishers Weekly
Ginsberg's mother wrote about parenting a highly functioning autistic child in Raising Blaze (2003), and in this autobiography Blaze tells his own story. Inspired by the format of the Internet Movie Database, Ginsberg organizes his life as a progression of television series, such as “Thanksgiving Special 2002” and “Freshman Senior Year 1.” Each series has a release date and cast list (“Amber: friend. Played herself in 2002's My Freshman Year as a girlfriend [not romantic] of mine”) and is further subdivided into episodes, each with their own summaries, quotes, soundtracks and trivia. Despite the inherently cerebral nature of the book's structure, the episodes paint a vivid picture of Blaze's thought processes (“This year was something unforgettable and legendary beyond conceivable knowledge because it really changed the way school had been for me for the past ten years”), life experiences and preoccupations, such as his crush on Hilary Duff or obsession with the year 1994 (“There is something about the numbers in the year 1994 that draws me to them”). A singular reading experience that gives insight into an equally singular way of processing and reflecting on life. Ages 12–up. (Sept.)
VOYA - Ed Goldberg
Blaze Ginsberg, a highly functional autistic teen recounts life from his freshman year at Surrey School (for children who do not thrive in public school) at age fifteen through the beginning of college at age twenty-one. In the book's introduction, his mother Debra, who wrote Raising Blaze (HarperCollins, 2002) to describe life rearing a "different" child, states that Blaze takes some important events of his life, and in this book, makes them into several television series with himself as the recurring character. The series concentrates on school, holidays, and work. Blaze has obsessions, primarily with Hilary Duff, recycling trucks, buses, and getting a girlfriend, and he writes plainly about them as well as his resistance to change and difficulties with teachers and with several jobs. He evaluates girls as potential girlfriends, immediately asking for their phone numbers. Many do not return his phone calls. If he dislikes something, he banishes it for years. He comments on school buses that he likes and dislikes. Each series has a cast listing and each episode has a summary, notes, soundtrack listing (some of which are obscure), goofs, and quotes. The format for Blaze's tale is unique and suits the story. Although the book gives readers a sense of the difficulties that Blaze faces and his achievements are admirable, the story and writing are not compelling. There is much repetition, and many of the situations are not interesting. It is a good telescope into the life of an autistic teen and is worthwhile from that perspective; however, it will be a difficult sell for discretionary reading. Reviewer: Ed Goldberg
Kirkus Reviews
Crushes, obsessions, friendships, family, Grand Theft Auto, Thanksgiving and Hilary Duff form the topics of just a few of the stories in the memoir of Blaze Ginsberg, high-functioning autistic son of writer Debra Ginsberg. The author repackages the stories from his life into "episodes," IMDB-like entries complete with cast, plot synopses, quotes, notes, trivia and soundtracks. Instead of organizing his life chronologically, Blaze categorizes it by life events, such as his hilariously lovable crush on Duff from 2004 to 2006, during which he single-handedly purchased every album, saw every film and simultaneously most likely drove his entire network of friends and family crazy over it. Though original, this format isn't so easy to follow. Many of the vignettes that make up the episodes are choppy and leave too much information to imagination, and even the most sophisticated teen reader will be left with questions. They will, however, come to understand Blaze, as each passage functions as a minimalist gateway into his passions, dreams, fears and desires. (Memoir. 12 & up)
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—Blaze Ginsberg allows glimpses into his life as a teen diagnosed with high functioning autism in this unusual autobiography. An introduction by his mother explains that Blaze had problems coping in elementary and middle school. When he entered a specialized high school, for the first time in his life, he finally fit in and was able to connect with other kids. Blaze's recollections begin with his high school years and, rather than compiling chapters, he writes as if the events of his life were episodes in a television series complete with cast members, guest stars, quotes and soundtrack listings. These episodes are brief and, on their own, baffling, but listeners who complete the journey with Blaze will come to see a complete mosaic of a life lived, as Blaze describes, "with a shorter wire than others." Humor is found in Blaze's fixation on peculiar things: the recycling truck, an encyclopedic knowledge of busses, and Hilary Duff. Narrator MacLeod Andrews does a remarkable job of bringing cohesion to the snippets of Blaze's life. He accurately chronicles frustration, impatience, joy, and desire. While the odd format may limit teen appeal, those that do finish will be rewarded with an understanding of a young man struggling with typical teen yearnings for acceptance, friendship, and love.—Tricia Melgaard, Centennial Middle School, Broken Arrow, OK

Product Details

Roaring Brook Press
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.82(w) x 8.56(h) x 1.01(d)
850L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

my freshman year of high school 1 (2002)


series: 2002–2003 release date: SEPTEMBER 3, 2002



blaze ginsberg: himself

courtney: friend

Friend of mine and for a short time, a possible girlfriend. I met her in the summer of 2002. Is an only child. Left our school, Surrey, in the summer of 2003 because she hated it and was throwing tantrums about it like Dudley Dursley from Harry Potter. Also had a lot of crying cases in My Freshman Year of High School. Liked Marvin Gaye and pretty much agreed with me about everything. If there was anything I did not like, she did not like it either.

amber: friend

Played herself in 2002’s My Freshman Year as a girlfriend (not romantic) of mine. Later played herself in the series Blaze, Courtney, and Amber. Claims she rescued me on my tenth birthday in 1997 when I ran away from home.* In September 2002 I reunited with her and we became buddies instantly. Is very sensitive to how people approach her.

wendy: teacher

Was one of my teachers at Surrey. She and her boyfriend went to high school with my uncle Bo, and they are still friends with him. She is pretty strict with her students and does not have a high tolerance level for bad behavior. One day in class she made us put our heads down like we were in kindergarten because of our bad behavior.

mr. kent: english teacher

Mr. K is also serious with his students about their behavior and whatnot. Mr. K really goes into detail when reading a story, like when we read The Body by Stephen King. I asked Mr. K why a character was crying over something small in the book and Mr. K told me it was because he (the character) never cried when his brother died. Mr. K got me interested in reading certain books like The Perks of Being a Wallflower. He is very into literature.

ms. kennedy: speech therapist

Speech therapist at Surrey. Very nice and caring, and she always wants everything to be the best it can be. She and I met when I was having a problem with another teacher one day and we became friends from there.

jane: occupational therapist

The Surrey School occupational therapist. Was very close to me. I liked her from very early on because of her personality. She really liked the stories I wrote when we were working together. She also had kind of a low tolerance level for bad/insubordinate behavior.

dr. r: counselor

various friends: themselves

series summary

My first year at The Surrey School (a.k.a. My Freshman Year of High School) may be number 1 in my top two best school years to ever exist in human civilization (for me that is). The Surrey School is a special school for kids with learning differences/those who are not able to function in a regular school. The classes are very small (only about ten kids per class) and there are only about 100 kids altogether in the school. I was at The Surrey School for many reasons, but mostly because middle school was a total disaster. In my other schools before this there were very few teachers who cared and were willing to work with people like me.

At Surrey, things really made a big turnaround from the way school used to be. This year was something unforgettable and legendary beyond conceivable knowledge because it really changed the way school had been for me for the past ten years. Prior to this year, I never really liked school too much, and most of the time I didn’t really want to be there. Freshman year changed everything. Even though I had teacher issues and got sent out/was in trouble a lot, this was a good year because I was slowly starting to become a grown-up, hanging out with homies, talking to girls, and thinking about my future. Also this was a good year because I was starting to interact with other people more than I had in the past. Although I didn’t realize it at the time, the ten years of school before Surrey were kind of depressing because I was really too much inside my own self and not relating to other people. So even though my interactions with people during my freshman year at Surrey were sometimes negative, at least I was having interactions.

Episode List

Episode 1 Season 1

title: PILOT air date: SEPTEMBER 3, 2002


It is my first day of high school and it is somewhat nerve-racking. I enter the school before class starts. I see Courtney but turn away from her because I am feeling shy. Later on I report to class. My day starts off with Physical Science. I am a bit spacey because I have not had to sit and listen in class for quite some time. It ends all right. After that I report to Math and I need a VTO (voluntary time out) because I am antsy and need to walk around. I am allowed ten minutes and then I go back. The teacher has an aide named Rebecca; I work with her on the math. Later I go to class for RL (reading/language). It is not too great because I have been struggling with the teacher since the summer session. (I had taken Summer School at Surrey in June as a trial period to see if I would be able to go there or not). Then it is time for English. I feel a bit anxious (or, as I call it, “tight”) because it’s still the first day of school, but nonetheless it’s fi ne. Then I go to lunch. After lunch, I report to PE. We play football, run laps, and it is pretty fun. Later I report to Tutorial and it is fun, although I do not do any of my homework which is what tutorial is for.


me: “Can I get a VTO, please?” (Teacher writes one up)

me: (seeing that the VTO paper says “Student Referral”): “What? I’m in trouble?”

teacher: “Oh no, that’s just what it says. It’s fine, it’s a VTO.”


A VTO is when you get ten minutes to leave class and walk around the school or sit on the bench to chill yourself out. You get one VTO per class per week. If you abuse the privilege, by staying out of class for too long, you get sent to the offi ce and get your VTOs temporarily suspended.

soundtrack listing

“Bird of Beauty” by Stevie Wonder (Fulfillingness’ First Finale 1974)

This song plays because it goes really well with running laps. I like the way it makes me feel.


Meet the Author

Blaze has been writing short stories, poems, and songs since the age of nine. In 2006, he began writing his own book, a memoir that covers his years in high school and his first steps toward adulthood. Inspired by Internet episode guides such as imdb.com and TV.com, his memoir, EPISODES, describes his life as a series of TV shows in which he’s appeared. Blaze puts it this way: “I started watching PBS kids’ shows on TV when I was three years old and liked them very much from the start. They gave me my true voice out there in the world. I would imitate actions and situations I saw on the shows. Sometimes I let the shows speak for me when I didn’t know how to say things myself. So the TV shows were like a stand-in for me.” Blaze currently lives and attends college in San Diego.

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Episodes: My Life As I See It 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Blaze Ginsberg is a unique individual. In his book, he discusses his life as a high-functioning autistic teenager. Blaze's novel is also unique in the way that it is formatted. He views his life as a group of episodes, much like a television series. Different things are important to Blaze - who he talked to during the day, trying to find a girlfriend, going to his college classes. Some of the episodes are in syndication, some have ended, and others are on-going. The Thanksgiving episode appears once a year. The characters (Blaze's family) remain the same, but the story is always a little different. Guest stars will occasionally make an appearance, and Blaze is quick to give them credit. To some, it might seem that the episodes are disjointed, but to Blaze, it all makes sense. I will be honest, it was difficult for me to start this book. I was one of those readers who felt Blaze's plot was disjointed, but now I understand the workings of his mind. A typical book has chapters, a continuous plot, a definitive ending. Blaze's novel has all of these things, but they are developed and executed differently. Once I realized this, I was able to enjoy the novel that much more. I'm glad I read Blaze's book, and I congratulate him for having the courage to write it in the first place.