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Version Twelve

The Library

So there are books, of course, and I might even read them. Reading books is hard, though, because I want to say All The Things about every book I read. That's what this page is about. I'm going to list books I have read (that deal with autism; I'm also reading Your Movie Sucks by Roger Ebert right now for some comic relief, but I won't talk about that here), and then link down the page where I write about the experience.

(A quick note: Brown uses the term "Aspie" to refer to persons (including herself) who are autistic, and the term "non-spectrum" to refer to persons who are not autistic. This is not well-explained; I think she has assumed that if you're in her target audience, you know what an "Aspie" is, but this book's title was quite simply the first time I had ever heard of or seen this term. I could plausibly use it to describe myself, but it would feel for me that I was co-opting someone else.)

I found the Brown book (though I keep calling it the Green Book, because the cover is green) when I was early for work one day and stopped in at The Urbana Free Library, decided I ought to look for books on autism, and found the call number 616.85882. (Those of you who read The Official Preppy Handbook in 1980 may remember that a hallmark of a Preppy is a slip of paper with only a call number on it. This is me; I do this, because you never know what you'll find on the shelf that isn't the exact book you went in search of.) I don't remember if I found the book that sent me to that call number in the first place, but I did find another book, which will likely be next on my list. I also saw this, and I hesitated, because, well, I'm not the target audience, on account of I'm the wrong gender. (Not the first time.) But I decided that it's a book and I'll read what I damn well please, and so out of the library it went with me.

I am fairly certain that Debi Brown would be horrified to learn that her book, specifically this book (as she may have others), was literally My First Autism Book, the first book I read having to do with autism after I got my diagnosis. I say that because this book, as she makes great pains to make clear, is not a book about autism. Oh, but it is! Yes, Part 2 of the book is basically a sex-ed book, and that was more or less uninteresting (I'll get to that), but Part 1 spoke to me, because so much of what she said about herself and other autistic women was so very, very familiar (despite the easily observable fact that I am not now nor have I ever been an autistic woman). There were pages it was hard to get through (and I pity anyone sitting around me) because of the number of times I said aloud, "OMG that's me." What follows is I am sure an incomplete list of these and similar moments, arranged more or less chronologically through the book.

There is probably gobs more that I could try to convey from this book, but it would be so much easier if you just read it yourself, which I would recommend you do, even if you're afraid of usurping the target audience. It's a book; it won't judge you or bite your hand off if it thinks you're not an autistic female and have no business learning its secrets. You do have a business learning from it; I certainly did.