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

Front Cover
Other Press, 2007 - Biography & Autobiography - 463 pages
1 Review
Watch an interview with DJ on CNN

Listen to Ralph Savarese's interview on NPR's "The Diane Rehm Show"

Visit the book's website:

"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.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

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

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

A controversial therapy for autism, facilitated communication (FC) first gained attention in the early 1990s but was discredited because of the indeterminable influence of the facilitator. It most ... Read full review

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

It's one those books that make you cry while reading! <3


Severe and Profound
Have You Tried In Vitro? or Whats in a Name?

15 other sections not shown

Common terms and phrases

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.

Bibliographic information