I heard Mr Schultz interviewed on the radio, NPR naturally, and couldn't leave the car until it was over. I tuned in as he was describing having taughI heard Mr Schultz interviewed on the radio, NPR naturally, and couldn't leave the car until it was over. I tuned in as he was describing having taught himself to read at the age of 11, using comic books. I and, much more so, my son are dyslexic and comic books are his salvation. So much of what he said resonated with me and the traits and tendencies I see in my son. I ordered the book the minute I walked into the house.
I have seen, in some of the other reviews, complaints that the book is too short, too unfocused, not detailed enough, etc. But I would argue that that that is both deliberate and part of it's inherent beauty. He did not write it to be a comprehensive explication of what is life as a dyslexic. I believe his purpose was to help people understand, not just intellectually, but emotionally and physically, how the dyslexic mind is different.
I would argue that the book is very deliberately constructed in a way that both reflects the natural, instinctual processes his brain goes through, and self-consciously builds on and reinforces especially those peculiarities of a dyslexic mind. Note the layout of the front cover - read in the "normal" order, it says, "My Pulitzer Philip Prize Dyslexia Winner Schultz" - and his passage about deliberately making wrong turns when driving because that is how his mind works best.
No amount of anecdotes about life with dyslexia could really let a non dyslexic person understand, and there are many other book that offer great detail on the subject. He uses the form and flow of the narrative to reinforce and expand the central emotional concept of the book: a dyslexic mind works in an entirely different way from a normal mind. A convoluted, tortured, difficult way that offers an unexpected and complex result with a unique beauty that could only have been produced by that very process. His is less a memoir than an embodiment of dyslexia in prose.
My only complaint - and I do not blame him, as from his perspective he could surely see it no other way - is that, despite the fact that much of the point of the book is the inherent value he has found in the results of the way his mind works, he persists in describing the wrongness of dyslexia and how it causes the brain not to process "correctly." It doesn't have to be seen that way. It is neither right nor wrong, it is simply different, and requires a different teaching method from the current standard.
As he so clearly knows, words - and especially words which label people or place on them a relative value - are incredibly powerful and leave a lasting mark, and we must take great care in applying them to our children. I will never tell my son his brain doesn't work correctly. Instead, we talk about how his brain works differently from most and how that may causes him some problems but it also gives him some benefits that others can never have. Like being very tall or very short, dyslexia is simply a trait that must be embraced and used to one's advantage. ...more
I really wanted to love these books. I like a good liberal rant against the erosion of civil liberties***This is a review of the series as a whole****
I really wanted to love these books. I like a good liberal rant against the erosion of civil liberties and the corporate takeover of the world as much as the next person, actually probably quite a lot more. But when the author writes nonsense comparing something to "a chrysalis emerging from it's cocoon," it's pretty indicative of the level of the writing an the quality of the research in the books. (For those not up on their butterfly science, that's like comparing something to a chicken egg hatching out from it's goose egg.)
Aside from those problems, the characters and the motivations just aren't believable. Even as a borderline conspiracy theorist myself, I don't think the real motivation of the "vast machine" is control, nor is it so transparently evil. It's all about the bottom line, about capitalism at the expense of compassion. And there is way too much money out there to be made by corporations and special interests for such a singular system of control to succeed. That doesn't make reality any less threatening to our civil liberties, it just makes the books easier to dismiss as reactionary drivel. Sad to say, I think the mainstream movie "Enemy of the State" made all his points much better than he did....more