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Atypical: Life with Asperger's in 20 1/3 Chapters

3.67  ·  Rating Details  ·  382 Ratings  ·  58 Reviews
The poignant, funny, and truly unique observations of a young writer diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome.

"Please be forewarned that you are about to read the observations and life lessons of someone who entertains himself by farting in public and conversing in gibberish with his cats."

Thus begins the charming, insightful, and memorable story of Jesse Saperstein. Diagno
Paperback, 240 pages
Published April 6th 2010 by TarcherPerigee (first published 2010)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,405)
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Apr 15, 2010 Kate added it
Shelves: 2010
John Elder Robison's Look Me in the Eye wasn't a masterpiece of literature or anything, but what made it work for me is that the author didn't really ask for sympathy. He seemed comfortable with who he is, had learned to capably exploit a societal niche, and was even in an ostensibly successful relationship. He is unapologetic about his less desirable qualities while acknowledging that to find a place in the world, one has to make compromises--in his case, he had to grapple with his lack of soci ...more
I have dedicated a large portion of my life to working with individuals on the autistic spectrum. From severely disabling autism to more mild forms of Asperger's, there is much to be said for this community. Stories need to be told and the issues surrounding this psychological disorder should be discussed. This book, while an excellent outlet for the author, I'm sure, fails to address many of the issues that I've come across in my experiences. However, I say this from a strictly academic perspec ...more
Sep 30, 2010 Karen rated it really liked it
Aren't we all atypical in one form or another? This is Jesse's world of living with and understanding how he thinks and functions under the banner of mild autism: Asperger's Syndrome. There are some great, laugh-out-loud passages as well as poignant observations that will hopefully give me pause when I meet someone who looks at the world with very different eyes. What is "normal," "appropriate," acceptable" anyway? Jesse's world makes perfect sense to him. The frustrations come when he has to fu ...more
Jill Wagner
Sep 22, 2011 Jill Wagner rated it it was ok
I am sympathetic towards Aspergers, but I thought that Saperstein was so annoying that I couldn't even finish this book. I don't like his attitude towards women AT ALL. I do like that he can look back on and analyze his past behavior.
Kim Perry
Sep 12, 2012 Kim Perry rated it liked it
I love reading about people who have Asperger's Syndrome. I just find every book I come across about the subject so interesting and this one doesn't disappoint. I really loved the raw emotion and pure honesty of this author and found myself easily relating to his descriptions of what it's like growing up with this mild form of Autism.

Best part of his story was talking about how easy it was for him to slip back into childhood tendencies when he didn't want to face the realities of his present da
Oct 05, 2014 Wendy rated it liked it
I rated this book 3 stars only because from my English teacher's perspective it is not especially well organized. However, as a parent of a 30 year old with ASD, I am glad that Jesse wrote this book. I know it isn't easy to sacrifice your privacy and that of your family. I have struggled with how, when, how much to share. But it is important to raise awareness so that all of us can give individuals with invisible disabilities such as ASD a chance. I don't agree with orher reviewers who have been ...more
May 15, 2010 Djdee rated it it was amazing
This was such an interesting book.I could certainly hear the authors voice and felt like he was sitting beside me telling me his story.If you know someone with Asperger's this book would certainly help you to know how the person thinks and feels even though I realize
asperger's is a large spectrum.Highlt reccommend it.
Very readable. A good balance of humor and seriousness. The author`s tendency to stereotype and judge women (and then bemoan his lack of a girlfriend) was frustrating, especially considering how self-aware he was in other areas and of other prejudices. Overall, worth reading, but not a book I`d read again. ...more
BR Kyle
Apr 14, 2016 BR Kyle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel-research
Ambiguous Pieces - Book Review

Aspects I Enjoyed:
~Book Cover: I love the Book Cover, the deeper symbolism wasn't obvious to me until I reached the end of the novel. Jesse has a yearly habit of sending out Christmas cards with long letters attached to them to everyone he knows, which I think is sweet (especially since he's Jewish). However when I was thinking about the book and how it's a little short for a memoir novel, it dawned on me, it's like he's sending out a Christmas letter to all of us
Sep 03, 2014 Susan rated it liked it
Shelves: autism-spectrum
If you've met one person with autism, you've met one person with autism. So the saying goes. Saperstein gives a peek into his Atypical: Life with Asperger's in 20 1/3 Chapters and it is not very pretty. He is not a happy guy. More than self-pitying, he sounds quite bitter. He lists his faults and shortcomings, including poor hygiene, that he consciously chooses to flaunt sometimes. Then he wonders why he struggles for acceptance. He is angry a lot, and often takes it out on himself. Pretty scary ...more
Feb 12, 2014 Snogged rated it liked it
Atypical: Life With Asperger's in 20 1/3 Chapters covers a number of different experiences faced by Jesse Saperstein during his lifetime. The book was readable, funny in parts, and serious in others. I loved Jesse's fascination with Halloween and enjoyed his chapter on his Appalachian Trail hike. In fact, I would easily read a whole book on that hiking trip and would love to see Saperstein write it. I did struggle with Jesse's opinions of women and the way he treats them. I know this is probably ...more
Oct 20, 2015 Deanne rated it did not like it
While occasionally humorous and insightful, for the most part the author spends 223 pages blaming his Asperger's Syndrome for his truly obnoxious personality.
May 12, 2010 Eileen rated it it was amazing
A meaningful significant, personal Asperger's perspective, by local author. A quick read, and in some parts, hysterically funny. Great book!
Oz Barton
Nov 11, 2014 Oz Barton rated it really liked it
Relatable on more than one level. The author's only 2 years older than I am so in addition to the psychological relatability there were also many mentions of specific movies/objects from his childhood that were also a part of mine — Talkboy, SNES, Nickelodeon Slime, the Disney renaissance, etc. Maybe that seems a little shallow but it isn't because these things are important. Jesse is hilarious and would be the most dedicated pen-pal ever.

Basically for me this book falls under Holden Caulfield's
Sasha Boersma
Quite a ridiculous, but enjoyable, personal account of living with Asperger's. While proving that everyone's experiences with Asperger's (now autism) is unique (as while I could relate to some bits, most of the recount is his life and his interpretations), it's still a great read of someone so candid and reflective of their life through the lense of this condition.

Two passages that really jumped out at me are recorded here so I remember them for a later reference, but also because they are so po
Lori Anderson
Oct 27, 2011 Lori Anderson rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone interested in autism and Aspergers
Shelves: memoir
I'm really impressed with Jesse Saperstein. Diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome (a mild form of autism, and one of the most misunderstood), he write his memoirs to not only tell his story but share his insight into how the community at large observes Asperger's.

For those who don't know, Asperger's Syndrome is a mild form of autism, but shouldn't be discounted. Symptoms range from inability to read social cues, repetitive actions, intense interests or fascinations in certain things, inappropriate
Alex Templeton
May 29, 2010 Alex Templeton rated it liked it
Full disclosure: I have met the author of this book, as we share a good friend (the Karl who is mentioned a couple of times). I was also predisposed to liking this book because I am, as I have mentioned a couple times in my review here, teaching a group of students with AS this year. That being said, I honestly enjoyed reading this book. It seemed an honest portrait to me of where my early-adolescent students might be in fifteen years from now. They will have accomplished some great things, as S ...more
Apr 20, 2015 Martin rated it really liked it
Shelves: fun-reading
An enlightening read, both for the average person and anyone who's considering working directly with individuals who have Autism/Asperger's. Though the book has it's problematic moments, its themes of going above tolerance and embracing those who aren't neurotypical makes it worth checking out! (Plus, Jesse is a super nice guy.)
Carol C
Feb 10, 2015 Carol C rated it liked it
I doubt I can be objective about this memoir. The writing was a bit scattered. I do feel it's important to listen to the perspectives of adults on the autism spectrum. In a few parts, I felt I could have been reading something written by my own son.
Maria E
Feb 13, 2015 Maria E rated it it was amazing
This book shouldn't be funny because it relates the struggles of a young man with Aspergers. But it IS funny and it does make you think about the kids you knew in high school who were weird and seemed to be from another planet. You know, the ones who were always made fun of? Written from Jesse's point of view, the reader will realize what some of these "weird" kids go through and their desperate attempts to fit in.It is an eye opening book and it made me realize, too, that we all have some stran ...more
Laurie Neuwirth
Aug 15, 2010 Laurie Neuwirth rated it really liked it
Discover the strengths someone with Asperger's can bring to the table -- Saperstein states a person should hope someone with AS finds a lost wallet as he or she generally has more integrity and honesty than a "neurotypical" person. Persistence is another quality -- evidenced by Saperstein's completion of hiking the entire Appalachian Trail. Honesty, humor and good writing made this a fast read for me - as well as offering insight into the world of someone living with Asperger's - especially as s ...more
Sep 08, 2010 VJ rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people who have AS or would like to know more about AS.
No matter how odd he is, Jesse Saperstein can laugh at himself. I'm particularly taken with his explanations of popular culture. His descriptions of his personal quirks, how some have been overcome and others simply adapted to, are howling good laughs in some instances, painfully touching reads in others.

While similar, every person with Asperger's is unique. There may be a little bit of Asperger's in many of us. We would all do well to get past tolerating quirkiness to accepting it and recognizi
Aug 23, 2014 Ilona rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Awesome view of Asperger's from an insiders point of view!! poignant funny and heart rendering at the same time! Love this book!
Andrea Hickman Walker
Jesse Saperstein was born in the same year as me. Around the same time, Asperger's Syndrome (AS) became recognised as a legitimate form of high-functioning autism. Previously, people with AS slipped through the cracks and were generally considered to have personality disorders. Usually, the individual was too high-functioning to be considered disabled, but too disabled to be considered 'normal'. Jesse was diagnosed at the age of fourteen. This book tells the story of his struggles growing up, th ...more
Aug 09, 2014 Mike rated it it was amazing
A fascinating look into the world of Asperger's
May 15, 2012 Georgi rated it really liked it
I read this book because it interested me. Having a child and husband with Asperger's has made my life very interesting. Saperstein has done a really good job at giving his view of life through the eyes of person with Asperger's. I was able to relate a lot of his experiences with my son's experiences. I really hope others will take the opportunity to read this book and get a little more understanding of the unique individuals that make up the Asperger's community.
Jonathan Karmel
Jan 17, 2012 Jonathan Karmel rated it really liked it
Great autobiographical account about what it is like for a young person (from New York State) to confront and attempt to overcome the difficulties of having Asperger's. I liked the very honest and sincere, yet humorous style. His contempt for the advice "just be yourself" resonated with me. Many of us need to better understand others in order to improve our interpersonal relatiohships. Often, "just be yourself" is crappy advice.
Sep 29, 2011 Brittany rated it it was amazing
Jesse Saperstein combines a great sense of humor with challenges many of us may never understand. His wit and experiences combine to make a highly entertaining, informative, and educational book. I loved this book and will reread it many times! I am lucky that I will soon have the opportunity to meet Mr. Saperstein and I am excited to learn even more from him! I am looking forward to future books from him!
Jan 12, 2013 Aspen rated it it was amazing
I am really enjoying this book. The author has a style of writing that appeals to me. I have read some Aspergers accounts that just don't ring true, but Jesse's does.

My problem is that he sometimes will go off and begin describing something that will be or may have been, and I get really confused, thinking he is being truthful, when it is just imaginings.

I would recommend this book though. It's a fun read.
Perhaps I shouldn't say anything negative about Jesse Saperstein's book Atypical or he might figure out who I am and PERSEVERATE on getting even for the rest of his life. Really, Atypical is a powerful book. What Jesse says AND how he says it illuminate the AS riddled personality perfectly. It
It's easy to read between the lines and understand what makes Jesse tick.
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