g-na's Reviews > Animals in Translation: Using the Mysteries of Autism to Decode Animal Behavior

Animals in Translation by Temple Grandin
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's review
Feb 11, 12

bookshelves: biology-zoology, memoirs-and-biographies

Considering one of my favourite subjects is animal behaviour, I was looking forward to reading this book. Unfortunately, it didn't live up to my expectations.

Grandin is an autistic woman with a Ph.D. in Animal Science, so I thought this book might have a somewhat scientific bent to it. Instead, it is written in a conversational tone, poor grammar and all. That aside, it has some other major problems: Namely, despite the book being about the similarities in behaviour between animals and autistic people, the author never defines or explains autism. She occasionally refers to autistic people perceiving the world in a particular way, but the reader is left wondering what exactly autism is.

In addition, all of Grandin's information about autistic people comes from her own experiences. Not that her experiences aren't valid, but we have no idea if they are typical. And she also paints a big line and places autistic people on one side, and non-autistics on the other, and infers that non-autistics just can't see what autistics do, and that's just not always the case; I notice some of the things she says "only autistics" do, and as far as I know, I'm not autistic.

In general, there is some interesting information in here, and there are bits worth paying attention to. However, had it been written "right," it could have been a great book.
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