Catherine's Reviews > Not Even Wrong: Adventures in Autism

Not Even Wrong by Paul  Collins
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's review
Oct 03, 09

bookshelves: 2009, mainstream-us, medicine, mental-illness
Read in October, 2009

Not Even Wrong is not quite the book I thought it would be when I ordered it from the library. The story of Collins' son, Morgan, diagnosed as autistic just before his third birthday, the book is also the autobiography of Collins' adjustment to his son's condition, and his attempt (along with his wife) to work a path through the world for their family. There's much about this approach that I appreciated: Collins' realizes he probably places on the spectrum himself, albeit at an extremely high-functioning point, and comes to understand the prevalence of autistic behaviors in his family line; as a historian of literature, he's also particularly well suited to delve into accounts of individuals in the past who were very likely autistic before autism was understood. Still, there's a sense in which this isn't Morgan's story - and perhaps in good measure it never can be. Yet that's what I wanted more of - to understand how Morgan learned to navigate the world; to gain some appreciation for his particular ordering of the universe; to explore the tension between honoring him as fully human just as he is, and his parents' want to give him basic tools of verbal communication and sociability.

I'm glad to have read the book, and yet feel curiously ambivalent about it. I wonder if this will change as I read the other stack of books about autism and Asperger's in my pile.
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