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Look Me In The Eye: My Life With Asperger's
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Look Me In The Eye: My Life With Asperger's

3.9  ·  Rating Details ·  50,233 Ratings  ·  3,637 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 ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published February 7th 2008 by Ebury Press (first published September 25th 2007)
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Barbara They are both amazing books to read and I read them back to back to get a jist of the brothers' parallel but very different lives.
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Jul 18, 2011 Lyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Asperger’s Syndrome is a form of autism that affects social interaction, communication skills and may also cause physical clumsiness. For example, it may prevent a person from displaying emotion and may cause them to make inappropriate or odd comments.

The author Robison had it undiagnosed for most of his life.

Robison is also the older brother of Running with Scissors author Augusten Burroughs. One interesting element of this book is that Robison describes some of the same events as Burroughs,
Apr 11, 2008 Lucy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
In a day when a cure is expected for nearly every ailment, flaw or disorder, I was struck by John Elder Robinson's assertion that those with Asperger's Syndrome, a neurobiological disorder on the autism spectrum that the author lived with undiagnosed until he was forty, needs no cure - only understanding.

John Elder Robinson starts his story with his earliest memories -a failed attempt to make friends in a sandbox and meanders through his shame at being called a deviant and a psychopath because h
Dec 10, 2008 Anastacia rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one.
I am interested in the Asperger's continuum, so when I heard about this memoir - written by Augusten Burroughs's brother - I added it to my Amazon wish list. The title leads one to believe that the book is about the author's life with Asperger's, but that's a little misleading. The book is about his life in general and very little is devoted to how Asperger's influenced his life at all ages. I wanted to read a memoir about growing up within a dysfunctional family and also having a condition that ...more
Jan 20, 2008 Tressa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Aspies and the families and friends who love them
“Look me in the eyes, young man!”
“Nobody trusts a man who won’t look them in the eye.”
“You look like a criminal.”
“I’ve read about people like you. They have no expression because they have no feeling. Some of the worst murderers in history were sociopaths.”

These are just some of the things John Elder Robison heard as a young boy, decades before a friend handed him a book about Asperger’s Syndrome and told him, "This book describes you exactly." Hearing these predictions made Robison withdraw eve
Melissa ♥ Dog Lover ♥ Martin

I had no idea John Robison was Augusten Burrough's brother! He gives the foreword in the book.

This is a really sad story of a boy's childhood. He had family with troubles, kids and people that were mean. They didn't know he had something like he had and people didn't understand most of that stuff back then. They don't even understand it now. A lot of people are just mean.


Just because someone has any kind of mental or medical issue doesn't mean there is something wrong with them. They are not m
Jul 02, 2008 Celeste rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people dealing with autism
Shelves: 2008
I bought this book on a whim (so that my order would get free shipping from I was quickly horrified to learn that the author is the real-life brother of Augusten Burroughs, author of Running with Scissors. I did not enjoy that memoir at all. Go read my review of it so see what exactly I hated, if you're so curious. But I decided that I would try not to hold Robison's family against him and read his book.

I have to admit, given my son's placement on the autism spectrum, books that app
Before I read John Elder Robison's LOOK ME IN THE EYE: MY LIFE WITH ASPERGER'S, I knew enough about the syndrome and about my brother to mentally peel off the Asperger's label that my mother stuck on my late brother. Nevertheless, I wanted access to the interior of someone with Asperger's. Yes, I was well aware of the fact that it's not a "one-size-fits-all" syndrome and that looking at people and experiences through Robison's eyes wouldn't enable me to prove the unprovable. Having no interest i ...more
Oct 07, 2007 Kimberly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: autism
very funny book! describes bits and pieces of Asperger's, but it is not a book about Asperger's. It is a very funny life story of someone who understands that there are social mores, but has to eventually learn to do them and even as an adult remind himself to follow them. I say that it is funny because he is very light hearted about his trials and tribulations.
One thing he mentions about asperger's is the autistic spectrum, and that with his strong memories of himself as a child, he strongly fe
Cait (Paper Fury)
OKAY THIS WAS GLORIOUS. I'm always nervous of memoirs and, particularly, adult books...because I am Peter Pan, okay?? I am not growing into adult books. Return me to the children's aisle ASAP. *ahem* BUT! This was so easy to read and funny and engaging and interesting and I basically did not want to put it down. I was doing the whole "oh one more chapter and I'll go to, just one more...just one more." Addictive = yes.

Also it's by someone with Asperger's so you know all his memories and
Nov 07, 2007 Helena rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Haven't read Augusten Burroughs' books so didn't feel a connection on that level.

Sorry the author had a crappy childhood (like a lot of kids w/alcoholic parents) and that he had a tough time socially (like a lot of kids) but this guy has had a way more successful life than almost anyone I know ...

Not 1 but 3 amazingly successful lucrative careers, not 1 but 2 deep and meaningful long-term relationships, a great kid, a beautiful house ...

Am I supposed to feel sorry for this guy because he's a
Hmm, it's hard to write this review because I don't want to sound mean-spirited at any point. I did enjoy this book quite a lot, although sometimes I wasn't sure if he was being funny/sarcastic or completely serious. (I tend to think the latter.) I worked exclusivly with an adolescent with Asperger's for about six months and it was an exhausting experience. While Robinson insists he has feelings (and they can be hurt) (which is a good thing to remind people without experience with autism spectru ...more
Sep 12, 2007 Emily rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the best books I've read all year - and the cover is fantastic too. I've been reading the author's blog ( and find myself wanting to read the book again. It's really one guy's story about trying to get through life - but he happens to be Augusten Burrough's brother, he worked for KISS for several years and he has Asperger's - well-written, clever and funny in so many ways.
Feb 23, 2008 Steven rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've been looking for a book like this since summer when my 10-year-old was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome. I was confused about what his future prospects were. What could I expect? Would he be living with me the rest of his life? Could he be productive in society? Since that time I have heard of other Aspergians who have been successful to varying degrees but have never talked to one about their experiences. "Look me in the eye" gives that viewpoint in rich detail from a man who not only ha ...more
Dec 12, 2012 Diane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A thoughtful and entertaining memoir of someone who has Asperger's, but he wasn't diagnosed until he was 40. Before then, John knew there was something wrong with him, but he didn't know what. When he was young he wanted to make friends and be part of a team, but he had trouble talking to other kids. He couldn't understand social cues and didn't understand when other people got mad at him for asking inappropriate questions or smiling at the wrong times. Worst of all, John would often look at the ...more
Sep 21, 2007 Maya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir-2008
I was just saying the other day that it's interesting to read the family connection between John Elder Robison and his more well-known writing sibling; you can see a literary resemblance between John and his brother. Reading this book is like reading Augusten, if Augusten had Asperger's, if that makes any sense.

Aside from being highly entertaining in its own right as a memoir, I found this highly educational as an inside glimpse into the mind of someone with Asperger's. The most striking thing I
Books Ring Mah Bell
Jul 13, 2008 Books Ring Mah Bell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memo-auto-bio
I really enjoyed this book. Several times I laughed out loud, and then was stumped how to answer my son's question, "What's so funny, Momma?"

"Well, son, he sent a blow up doll to his crappy teacher."
"You see, Sam, he shot a snake that was slithering around outside his hotel room."

No, none of those would do.

While I loved reading the many misadventures of Robison, I also felt a great deal of sorrow; for his troubled childhood and for how misunderstood he was as a person with Asperger's.

The tru
Danyelle Leafty
"Look me in the eye," is something John Robinson grew up hearing. He was constantly told that he would end up as a criminal, him having shifty eyes and all, and what did he have to hide?

Unfortunately for John, Asperger's Syndrome wasn't widely known when he was growing up. In his time, the only autism that was "seen" was the extreme cases, the ones that were locked away in worlds of their own, that couldn't function in society at all.

I was drawn to this book for a few reasons. The first being th
Sarah Jane
I was expecting this memoir to be an astonishing insight into Asperger's syndrome, a glimpse into the mind of the author. Instead, what I got was a bunch of semi-interesting stories about this dude's life, with the Asperger's aspect as almost an afterthought. Other reviews I've read have called Robison a "born storyteller" but I personally didn't find this to be all that engrossing. You'd think that one would be able to make touring with Kiss into a enjoyable story...but the writing was so robot ...more
This book was a bit odd. It wasn't really about Asperger's as much as it was the story of Robison's life thus far - he wasn't diagnosed with any type of autistic disorder until he was in his later 30s. There were parts that were quite interesting, but nothing seemed really cohesive. Not bad, exactly, just not great.

****4/15 - This book was so unmemorable to me, I accidentally rebought it when it was the Kindle Deal of the Day. Crap.
Petra Eggs
I did a whole bloody review and it disappeared.
When I stop being cross about it I will write a proper one. Maybe.
I wish there was an automatic save function as there is on some blogging sites.
Hate hate hate losing a review.
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
The older brother of author Augusten Burroughs, John Elder Robison grew up in a dysfunctional household with an abusive, drunken father and an insane mother - and undiagnosed Asperger's. He details his life growing up and handling a conditon he didn't know he had until 1990 - several years after the condition was identified and named. Asperger's is on the spectrum of Autism.

Despite higher-than-average intelligence and a liking for practical jokes, John Elder's childhood was lonely and unpleasant
Patricia Puddle
I loved this book. It's the true story of a boy named John Robison's struggle to connect with people. He wonders why he isn't like other kids and why they don't hang around with him. When he's a teenager, he is always dismantling things like radios and burying his little brother in holes in the ground. All this has him looked upon as weirdo. His mother speaks to light fixtures and his farther is always drunk in the evenings, so John's only friends seem to be the machines he tinkers with - least ...more
ღ Carol jinx~☆~
This is a very interesting book. Too bad he wasn't diagnosed at a younger age and he wouldn't have had to discover everything for himself. It makes me want to be more understanding of people with this and other syndromes. If
there is supposedly 1 out of 150 people with this syndrome, I think I know some and will be less critical of their behavior.
Feb 17, 2010 Jeremy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: autism
I should not have read the foreword to this book, which was written by Augusten Burroughs. I hated the movie Running with Scissors, though I have to confess I haven’t read the book. Maybe I should give him the benefit of the doubt, but I have an automatic negative reaction to Augusten Burroughs based on that movie (and a quick look at the book reviews on Goodreads indicates I’m probably not the only one). So, this book is by Burrough’s older brother (their last names are different because August ...more
Jun 25, 2008 Rachel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Rachel by: Emily Liebling
This was such a fascinating book - the author has Aspergers, and this autobiography offers great insight into the way his mind(and those of other Aspergians)works and processes things. For example, he attemps to explain why he might react with a smile when told that someone has died. He also goes into detail about his expertise on niche subjects, his startling intelligence, and he gives us an idea of why his brain might work that way, and how it has both evolved and devolved over the years.

Sep 03, 2012 Jenben8426 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club, adult
John Robison always wanted to feel like he belonged. That he was loved and that he could become something. But he also knew that he was a bit odd and couldn't figure out why others saw him in such a weird way. It wasn't until age 40 when a kind friend who happened to be a psychologist tipped him to the fact that he had Aspergers--a diagnosis on the autistic spectrum. In John's memoir he discusses his life, his feelings, his take on the world as he tries to make it from being "weird" to "eccentri ...more
I've read a few books about Asperger's syndrome and recently when I seen this one in my local library I was interested.

It tells the story of John Elder Robison, someone who was diagnosed as adult. It begins with his childhood, moving on to his time with the band KISS to getting a job as an engineer. It also covers his diagnosis, his married life and becoming a parent.

My first thought once I finished this was disappointed. It started off well and I was very much interested. Some of the struggle
Brittany Murray
Jul 12, 2014 Brittany Murray rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned, stopt-reading
I hate to have to give this book one star as I was very excited to read it. I actually did not finish this book which is saying a lot because I've only put down one other book in my 24 years of life. As a person with Aspergers, I found this book highly offensive. The author does not seem to have ASD at all. I think that he fits the description that he was called in the book of psycho or sociopath much more than any ASD. He has just a few of the traits of someone with Aspergers but with all disor ...more
Tracy Murray
Jul 11, 2010 Tracy Murray rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my second educational book in the last couple of months. I normally avoid fiction like the plague. I read for escape, not for knowledge. I'm glad I made the effort again with this book.

There were so many parts of the narrative that as I read it I thought, "I know this person".

"I can't speak for other kids, bit I'd like to be very clear about my own feelings: I did not ever want to be alone. And all those child psychologists who said "John prefers to play by himself" were dead wrong. I p
Lori Anderson
I had personal reasons for seeking this book out, but I also was interested because John Elder Robison is Augusten Burrough's brother, and I have read and loved everything Augusten has written. In fact, I emailed Burroughs once telling him how much I enjoyed one of his books and was delighted when he wrote back, and I had a brief back-and-forth with him. I was star-struck.

Reading "Look Me In the Eye" answered a lot of questions for me about what it's like to live with Asperger's Syndrome. I foun
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Trade Book #3 - Lit. Circles - Jodi Rodriguez 3 10 Dec 15, 2015 09:25PM  
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  • The Mind Tree: A Miraculous Child Breaks The Silence Of Autism
  • A Parent's Guide to Asperger Syndrome and High-Functioning Autism, First Edition: How to Meet the Challenges and Help Your Child Thrive
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  • Reasonable People
I was born in rural Georgia, where my dad worked as a country preacher. I was kind of a misfit growing up. In fact, the bigger I got, the more misfit I became. At age 8, I got a little brother, and he was a misfit too. I dropped out of school in 10th grade, and never looked back. My brother dropped out a few years later, following in my footsteps.

I've had a number of careers . . . I designed sound
More about John Elder Robison...

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“I don't really understsand why it's considered normal to stare at someone's eyeballs” 14 likes
“I used to fear barking dogs. I would cringe and say to myself, 'Nice doggie please don't bite me I'll just go away,' but by that night I could look at them and think, I am your worst nightmare. Come closer and I will impale you upon my stick. The more I firmly visualized it, the more the dogs believed it. Now the tables had turned. Now the dogs feared me.” 9 likes
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