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

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

4.0 218
by John Elder Robison

ISBN-10: 0307395987

ISBN-13: 9780307395986

Pub. Date: 09/25/2007

Publisher: Crown Publishing Group


“As sweet and funny and sad and true and heartfelt a memoir as one could find.” —from the foreword by Augusten Burroughs

Ever since he was young, John Robison longed to connect with other people, but by the time he was a teenager, his odd habits—an inclination to blurt out non…  See more details below



“As sweet and funny and sad and true and heartfelt a memoir as one could find.” —from the foreword by Augusten Burroughs

Ever since he was young, John Robison 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, Augusten Burroughs, in them)—had earned him the label “social deviant.” It was not until he was forty that he was diagnosed with a form of autism called Asperger’s syndrome. That understanding transformed the way he saw himself—and the world. A born storyteller, Robison has written a moving, darkly funny memoir about a life that has taken him from developing exploding guitars for KISS to building a family of his own. It’s a strange, sly, indelible account—sometimes alien yet always deeply human.

Read More

Product Details

Crown Publishing Group
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.50(w) x 9.56(h) x 1.36(d)
Age Range:
14 - 18 Years

Table of Contents

Author's Note     ix
Foreword   Augusten Burroughs     xi
Prologue     1
A Little Misfit     7
A Permanent Playmate     19
Empathy     29
A Trickster Is Born     35
I Find a Porsche     43
The Nightmare Years     51
Assembly Required     59
The Dogs Begin to Fear Me     69
I Drop Out of High School     85
Collecting the Trash     95
The Flaming Washtub     101
I'm in Prison with the Band     113
The Big Time     125
The First Smoking Guitar     133
The Ferry to Detroit     143
One with the Machine     151
Rock and Roll All Night     155
A Real Job     171
A Visit from Management     181
Logic vs. Small Talk     189
Being Young Executives     195
Becoming Normal     207
I Get a Bear Cub     219
A Diagnosis at Forty     233
Montagoonians     241
Units One Through Three     247
Married Life     253
Winning at Basketball     259
My Life as a Train     265
Epilogue     273
Acknowledgments     283
Reading and Resources     285

Read More

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger's 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 218 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As a swim and triathlon coach for disabled kids, 'Look Me In the Eye', served as an eye opener for me. Reading John's story, of his uncontrollable, odd habits- nick-naming people he commonly was exposed to, blurting out at what could have been seen as the worst moments, avoiding eye contact at all costs, and digging holes, only to stick his younger brother into them, enabled me to better connect to my students and maybe from my work with them, I was able to better connect to the book. Being known as a "social deviant" though oddly intelligent, wasn't per say the correct classification for John, which one could conclude after reading the book. 'Look Me In the Eye - My Life With Asperger's' proved to be hysterically funny at times, though often a sense of dark humor, but was able to pull the strings to your emotions as well. The book follows John's life from his hilairious childhood to his diagnosis (which he didn't reach until the age of forty) with Asperger's sydrome (a form of autism) into his journey of creating a family of his own and following his dreams of building guitars for the band KISS. I really enjoyed this book, the connections which I was able to make to it, and its' ability to pull on my emotions yet make me laugh a few pages later. My only complaint is that the book drew out, and was a little bit slow and hard to get through in the middle pages. This book should definitely be read by anyone (like myself) whom works with disabled children, any parent, as well as any teacher. I've never read a book quite like this, and thus have no further recommendations but my overall rating of this book is excellent! Enjoy!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When I first learned that I had to read a nonfiction book as part of an English project, I was a little less than thrilled, as I generally do not enjoy nonfiction reading. However, I was actually a bit excited to read Look Me in the Eye, since I have an interest in the topic of psychological disorders. I thought that I would find the memoir of a man with Asperger's Syndrome to be quite interesting. As I read John Elder Robison's memoir, I realized that my prediction was correct. I was fascinated by the descriptions of his thought process, entertained by stories of his antics, and saddened by some of the recollections from his rough childhood. His memoir was truly an eye opener for me; it allowed me to get a taste of what it would be like to be inside the head of an Aspergian. Reading this memoir made me think about some of the things that the average person takes for granted, such as the abilities to hold conversations, make friends, and simply look people in the eye. People had the tendency to label Robison as a "misfit" when he was a child, because he did not posses the aforementioned abilities, though he eventually learned how to adapt to the norms of society. Nevertheless, he still felt eccentric throughout much of his life, up until the point of his diagnosis at the age of forty. Despite the fact that he had Asperger's, Robison was able to accomplish a variety of things in life that most "normal" people could only dream of doing. By the end of the book, I felt proud of him and his accomplishments and began to wonder if I've ever encountered an Aspergian. His memoir made me have a better appreciation for what I have now and a better understanding of people with disorders. I would definitely recommend Look Me in the Eye for anybody who has ever wondered what it would be like in the mind of someone with any kind of disorder. It's certainly an interesting read.
jdreher1 More than 1 year ago
I liked this book! I also read the authors brothers book....'Running with Scissors'....I suggest reading both!
Guest More than 1 year ago
An intimate and detailed emotional journey, `look me in the eye¿, is a well written, compassionate, deeply moving story that will have the reader laughing out loud on one page and on the verge of tears the next. Robison reveals what life was like growing up with an abusive, alcoholic father and his mentally ill mother. As a result of his inability to communicate appropriately, blurting out non sequiturs, and several other socially unacceptable behaviors, he was labeled a deviant. He found comfort with machinery. Dismantling and repairing various machines would lead to incredible employment opportunities, developing toys for Milton Bradley and guitars for the hard hitting rock group KISS and later for Pink Floyd. His life would be forever altered when, at the age of forty he was diagnosed with asperger¿s syndrome, a mild form of autism. Look Me In The Eye is much more than a memoir or biography-- Robison lifts the curtain and shines an unflinching light on life with asperger¿s syndrome. Well written and original, this heartfelt journey is a fascinating and entertaining read that will remain with the reader long after the book is returned to the shelf. Personally, I had only the briefest understanding of asperger's syndrome - however, this book has not only defined, with pinpoint accuracy the medical jargon, but the author allowed me a front row seat, with an unfiltered view of how his mind operates, the things that caused him difficulties and how he has learned to deal with each and made a comfortable life for himself and his family. Stunning! Happy Reading!
Guest More than 1 year ago
As a mother of an Aspergian, John's amazing recollect of childhood thought processes enlightened my understanding of my own child. Everyone must read this book!!!!
tinydancersmom More than 1 year ago
I like this book. People who do not have such disorders cannot understand how it feels. I think Mr. Robinson did a great job describing it while making the book funny, sad and entertaining all at the same time. I admire him for his courage.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am reading this book to become a better parent. I have just two chapters left! The book has achieved it's purpose for me -- to gain perspective and empathy for my 10 year old son who has Aspergers. I am trying to see the world as he sees it, so that I can help him navigate through his childhood and toward a life as a well adjusted, happy, productive adult with meaningful friendships and social connections. If my son did not have Aspergers, I would most likely not have purchased this book. For me, this book is helpful. This is the first e-book that I've purchased, and I am dismayed that there are no folios, and I cannot easily tell how long the book is and how far I have progressed. I had to scroll to the end of the book to figure out that I only have 2 chapters left!
Trinity9264 More than 1 year ago
I bought this book because my eleven year old son has Asperger's Syndrome. I read it and then I let him read it. I wanted him to see that someone could live a "normal" life with Asperger's. We talked about the similarities that he shared with Mr. Robson. This book gave me a real insight into the mind of an Asperger's person. I highly recommend it for anyone who has an Asperger child, sibling or spouse. I've read other books about AS but you get a better understanding when you read something written by an actual AS person.
southsidemke More than 1 year ago
Revealing account of what an Aspie goes through and thinks! Very helpful for anyone that has someone dear to them with Aspberger's. Would recommend highly, you may just find some of your own traits revealed!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Incredible book. Helped me me understand my niece. Very thought provoking. An amazing way to view the world -- the same world I live in, but from so differently.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book, and as a person with this disorder/condition it was nice to finally read a book that made me understand myself and the disorder a lot better
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
There are so many books on the subject of Aspergers but not many written from someone who actually has it, which is what I LOVED about this. I can read the manuals and guides, but they never discuss why my son, who's on the spectrum, does some of the things he does. I found myself relating to so much of what John Elder discusses in his book and saying, 'Wow, my son does that, too.' and realizing that so much of what my child does is because of his ASD and not because he is trying to be difficult. I am thankful for the author's decision (and his brother's)to share his story with us. He has led a remarkable life and I hope he continues to share his numerous gifts with the rest of us!!!
buryuntime More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed reading this book. It gave me an idea of what someone with Asperger's goes through and how they think. The book never once seemed slow and was very entertaining. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to know more about Aspergers and autism.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
John Elder Robison writes one of the most enlightening memoirs the psychological community has seen in many a day. I have Asperger's myself, and when I first read this, I saw many parallels between myself and John Elder, including a substantial obstacle in interpersonal intetactions, a very pronounced inability to read and react to common social cues (e.g. eye contact, facial expressions, etc.) The key difference between the book and my own story is that I was raised with the proper diagnosis. Bearing that in mind, every school I ever attended did whatever it took to get me in contact with the world around me. I've come a long way since the day I discovered Iwas different from my peers. Nowadays, I have quite a few friends, and since we started college, we've stuck with each other through thick and thin, easy times and rough ones, and always been there for each other. Over time, I came to accept that I was different, and different is cool. John Elder, if you're reading this, I just want to thank you. Reading your memoir has really helped me get where I am today, and I've gotten to know myself way better. Plus, I like to read the funny, suspenseful, and entertaining stories interspersed throughout the book. Those made it difficult to put the book down! Keep up the good work!
Dorobo More than 1 year ago
The more I read of his life as an Aspergian the more often I think I find parts of him in myself. Imagine growing up with a different way of looking at life and not being able to explain yourself to others. His type of person wasn't even given a category in the DSM until he was out of school. His triumphal overcoming of the many disadvantages that he had are described, many of them not related to Asperger's. I don't want to say "his disease" because being different isn't always a disease. Early childhood can be terrible for those that don't react as the majority do nor understand what they are doing as well as why. Children learn how to react towards others from observing and copying others and maybe our society wants everyone to react the same way? How boring that would be. We all would be redundant, wouldn't we? At the same time, when someone asks you, "How are you?" they usually don't want to know but for an Aspergian, that isn't understood. So, they tell you and you politely run away and shun them. His unusual skills and intelligence helped him to survive but compassion and understanding from others finally helped him enjoy being alive. Read his life journey and marvel at his success.
DrKathyMarshack More than 1 year ago
Intense, funny, inspiring autobiography of a young man coming of age with Asperger's Syndrome. You can't possibly understand what goes on in the mind of someone with Asperger's Syndrome, if you are neuro-typical. The normal rules do not apply. But Robison describes the inner workings of his mind in a way that shows the incredible structure of an "Aspergian" mind. This is an excellent book for anyone trying to love and understand a loved one with Asperger's Syndrome.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So insightful...the characters are well-developed and intriguing. You leave this book with a deep respect for the author and his journey of self-awareness but also a desire to learn more about Asperger's. Very well written; I highly recommend!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What an entertaining book! Though I don't know anyone with Aspergers, I do know a child who is austic. How wonderful to learn about this condition from someone who has it. Mr. Robinson's story is so interesting, he's living an amazing life. Thank you for taking us with you as you toured with KISS, to GA to your grandparents farm, on the many trips with Cubby, for introducing us to your parents and brother and for educating us about Aspergers. I'll read "Running with Scissors", next. This book is for anyone who enjoys a good, interesting read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My step-daughter has Asbergers and I found this book not only highly entertaining but helpful in understanding how her mind works. I was happyto see that people with Asbergers can learn to overcome this disability and live a happy, successful life.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As the parent of a 10 year old with Asperger Syndrome, I found great comfort in Robison's book. I felt myself celebrating all of my child's differences and the book helped me see things in a different light. I enjoyed Robison's storytelling, I laughed out loud at many of his antics, and learned a lot about the way my child's mind works. It was an easy read, both entertaining and educational. I was amazed at the similarities between the author and my own child. I highly recommend this book for anyone, and especially those who know someone with Asperger Syndrome.
Rachel Hochman More than 1 year ago
I have just finished this book and I cant wait to read "Running with scissors." I enjoyed this book and it really took you in to the way a person with Autism acts. At some points the things that were going on in the book made me go " whats going on" but then I had to stop and remined who wrote the book. The book is deffinatly a book you want to read about, learn or try and understand alittle more about Aspergers Syndrome.
SkepticalOptimist More than 1 year ago
Superbly written and fascinating story of a heartbreaking situation. It's not often that people with this disorder are able to express themselves so meaningfully. A book that was very difficult to put down!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I bought this book because my husband has undiagnosed Aspergers. I thought it would help to understand an 'Aspergian' from the inside. I wasn't disappointed. But not only for the insights. This book was interesting, entertaining, informative, and really enjoyable. I had not read Running with Scissors, but now I must. We should all take the time to know the Robison family and then try to learn about and understand the human frailities each of us has in our own lives. This is an inspiring memoir although the author might just humbly say say 'woof'.
Guest More than 1 year ago
One never know what others deal with every day. Robison's insightful book gives the reader vignettes into the daily stresses he was afflicted with as a sufferer of Aspergers. He is an entertaining writer, and the book educated me while giving me a laugh. I'm not one for delving into other's issues, but seeing how smart and successful Aspergian Robison is, I've resolved to be more tolerant, meanwhile I'll hope he writes another tome to make me laugh.
Guest More than 1 year ago
'Look Me in the Eye' is a fabulous book. Once you get started you can't stop. John E. Robison's storytelling and point of view is great! It is rare to find a writer who can really make you feel varied emotions, and yet entertained. John E. Robison shows you that there is no diagnosis/disease that can interfere with what you want to do. This is must read book!