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Jackie Schuld Art Therapy Blog

Sometimes It’s Hard to Get Through an Autistic Book

Last night I decided to start reading, “Funny, You Don’t Look Autistic.” A client of mine mentioned it as one of their favorite autism books, and that made me order it that day.


I’m always on the hunt for good autism books. It’s not just because I’m autistic or because my therapy practice specializes in late-identified autism. It’s because there aren’t many that I genuinely love and connect with.


First of all, I’m wanting to read these books for more clarity and understanding of autism. I don’t read books to “get lost” in them. I hardly ever read fiction. Call it one of my autistic quirks. I want to learn from what I read.


So when I pick up any autistic book, I’m wanting to learn. Trouble is, that’s not necessarily the primary concern of the author. Many autistic writers prefer to write from their personal experiences in a memoir format. Sometimes I feel I have to wade through long, personal, and unrelatable stories to get to the information I want. I often find myself bored and struggling to finish a book. This is no dig on the authors, it’s just my personal reading preferences.


I took a risk when I bought, “Funny, You Don’t Look Autistic.” It’s another memoir, in which the author Michael McCreary makes it clear he is not trying to provide an educational book about autism. However, my client’s recommendation helped me to forge ahead.


Even though the entire book is about his life experiences, I felt compelled to keep reading.


What was different?


Well first, his stories were short.


He also interspersed his stories with clear, direct language about autism. He assumed that whoever was reading his book knew nothing about autism. I liked his explanations and found underlying aspects that I wanted to reference with clients or people unfamiliar with autism.


He also kept his book on a clear trajectory. He made his way through a different period of his life in each chapter. I could tell we were moving at a good clip. Other autistic memoirs leave me wondering, “How long are we going to stay in this period of their life?”


I think the number one thing that kept me reading though was the book design. It is one of the most beautifully spaced books. I have a thing about space between letters, space between words, space between lines, and margin space when I read. If there’s not enough space, I will refuse to read a book. It’s simply too hard on my eyes. Mind you, I have above-average vision, I think it’s just my autistic mind liking some space.


“Funny, You Don’t Look Autistic” has copious amounts of space. Furthermore, each chapter is broken up with big, bold headlines. To make it even better, the chapters aren’t that long. I love me a short chapter. It keeps my mind going, “Just one more chapter.” My mind kept doing that last night until I finished the book in one reading.


What surprises me now as I reflect on the book is how much I relate to McCreary, even though he was diagnosed at age 5. I wasn’t diagnosed until my mid-30s. And yet, I could relate to his questioning mind throughout his childhood, his desire for justice, his ineffective ways of trying to make things “right” and more.


It’s a great, smooth read for anyone looking for a quick, entertaining read about autism.

 

Thank you for reading. If you’d like to read more, sign up for my FUNletter or check out my book Grief is a Mess.

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