Reasonable People: A Memoir of Autism & Adoption : on the Meaning of Family and the Politics of Neurological Difference

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Other Press, 2007 - Biography & Autobiography - 463 pages
21 Reviews
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"Why would someone adopt a badly abused, nonspeaking, six-year-old from foster care?" So the author was asked at the outset of his adoption-as-a-first-resort adventure. Part love story, part political manifesto about "living with conviction in a cynical time," the memoir traces the development of DJ, a boy written off as profoundly retarded and now, six years later, earning all "A's" at a regular school. Neither a typical saga of autism nor simply a challenge to expert opinion, Reasonable People illuminates the belated emergence of a self in language. And it does so using DJ's own words, expressed through the once discredited but now resurgent technique of facilitated communication. In this emotional page-turner, DJ reconnects with the sister from whom he was separated, begins to type independently, and explores his experience of disability, poverty, abandonment, and sexual abuse. "Try to remember my life," he says on his talking computer, and remember he does in the most extraordinarily perceptive and lyrical way.

Asking difficult questions about the nature of family, the demise of social obligation, and the meaning of neurological difference, Savarese argues for a reasonable commitment to human possibility and caring.

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This was quite an interesting and educational read. - Goodreads
I found it difficult to read at times. - Goodreads
Also, don't read the introduction. - Goodreads
I almost didn't read the book after reading the intro. - Goodreads

Review: Reasonable People

User Review  - Cassandra - Goodreads

I can't decide if this book should be rated a three star or a four star read. 1 - It was REALLY hard to read. The topic was heartbreaking and I couldn't read more than a chapter or two in one sitting ... Read full review

Review: Reasonable People

User Review  - Jill - Goodreads

Savarese explores so many diverse topics in this book. It's not just about his family's experience with autism and all that goes with that - special education programs in school, facilitated ... Read full review


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About the author (2007)

Ralph James Savarese

Poet, essayist, translator, and scholar, Ralph James Savarese teaches American literature and creative writing at Grinnell College. He lives in Grinnell, Iowa.

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