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Publishers WeeklyComparative literature professor Calinescu (Five Faces of Modernity: Modernism, Avant-garde, Decadence, Kitsch, Postmodernism) steps back from academia with this memoir of parenthood, a tribute to his late, autistic son Matthew, "a being apart... not a university professor of course, but a professor all the same, a shy, discreet, taciturn teacher of angelic wisdom and of the ineffable." Diagnosed with autism as a child and with epilepsy as a teen, much regarding Matthew's behavior and health remained a mystery even after diagnosis, a situation many parents will recognize, especially those with children on the autism spectrum. Calinescu explores the history of autism and Asperger's syndrome, discussing medical literature and his own memories with equal comfort and grace. Calinescu is a keen witness, and his 25 years of observation have produced a loving exploration of autism's causes and effects, its impact on the individual and the family, the unexpected ways it complicates daily life and the differences that make an autistic individual stand out. Beyond the appeal to parents, teachers and caregivers of special needs individuals, Colinescu's story offers vivid lessons in acceptance: "All people are different, and the degree of difference does not matter."
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