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

Front Cover
Crown Publishers, 2007 - Biography & Autobiography - 288 pages
17 Reviews
Ever since he was small, John Robison had 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 in them)—had earned him the label “social deviant.” No guidance came from his mother, who conversed with light fixtures, or his father, who spent evenings pickling himself in sherry. It was no wonder he gravitated to machines, which could, at least, be counted on.

After fleeing his parents and dropping out of high school, his savant-like ability to visualize electronic circuits landed him a gig with KISS, for whom he created their legendary fire-breathing guitars. Later, he drifted into a “real” job, as an engineer for a major toy company. But the higher Robison rose in the company, the more he had to pretend to be “normal” and do what he simply couldn’t: communicate. It wasn’t worth the paycheck.
It was not until he was forty that an insightful therapist told him he had the form of autism called Asperger’s syndrome. That understanding transformed the way Robison saw himself—and the world.

Look Me in the Eye is the moving, darkly funny story of growing up with Asperger’s at a time when the diagnosis simply didn’t exist. A born storyteller, Robison takes you inside the head of a boy whom teachers and other adults regarded as “defective,” who could not avail himself of KISS’s endless supply of groupies, and who still has a peculiar aversion to using people’s given names (he calls his wife “Unit Two”). He also provides a fascinating reverse angle on the younger brother he left at the mercy of their nutty parents—the boy who would later change his name to Augusten Burroughs and write the bestselling memoir Running with Scissors.

Ultimately, this is the story of Robison’s journey from his world into ours, and his new life as a husband, father, and successful small business owner—repairing his beloved high-end automobiles. It’s a strange, sly, indelible account—sometimes alien, yet always deeply human.

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

Different Viewpoint

User Review  - mrsmorales - Overstock.com

This book was great. Very descriptive insight into the life of as Aspergian man. Many of the quirks and responses that he describes in his book I have experienced firsthand with both my husband and ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - okrysmastree - LibraryThing

I love this book! The dry, sometimes-disturbing humor is spot-on, the descriptions vivid and almost technicolor in their realness. A truly inspiring story, told in an engaging, involving way. It led ... Read full review

Other editions - View all

About the author (2007)

John Elder Robison grew up in the 1960s, before the diagnosis of Asperger's syndrome existed. Today he has claimed his spot on the autism spectrum; he blogs for Psychology Today and is an adjunct professor at Elms College in Chicopee, Massachusetts. John serves on the Science Board of Autism Speaks and on the Public Review Board for the National Institutes of Health, where he considers research to improve the lives of autistic people and their families. He is also currently involved in autism research and programs at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Mass General Hospital, two teaching hospitals of the Harvard Medical School.

When he's not writing, speaking, or involved in studies, John can be found at Robison Service, the automobile company he founded twenty-five years ago. Robison Service has established a reputation as a leading independent restorer and customizer of BMW, Mercedes, Land Rover, Porsche, Rolls-Royce, and Bentley automobiles. Visit John's company at www.robisonservice.com.

John lives in western Massachusetts among family, friends, animals, and machines.

Bibliographic information