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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

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  65,404 ratings  ·  4,278 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 September 25th 2007 by Crown
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Average rating 3.90  · 
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 ·  65,404 ratings  ·  4,278 reviews

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Jul 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
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,
Dec 10, 2008 rated it did not like it
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
Feb 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing
John Robison was full of playful life as a young kid. But, just like me, he had an uphill road to climb in life. And it took him forty years to grow up. It took me a heckuva lot longer!

He just couldn’t communicate, you see. Asperger’s sufferers can’t read other people’s signs. And like him, though a bit more communicative, I had no concept of good and evil.

Sure, I knew enough to be good. My parents had inculcated goodness deep within my bones. Only I had no concrete idea of its opposite. And eve
Apr 11, 2008 rated it liked it
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
Jan 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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/Wolf 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
C.G. Drews
Jul 07, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 02, 2008 rated it liked it
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 rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Oct 07, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people who have AS, people who love them and professionals who work with/help Aspies
I finished this book last week. At first I wasn't sure I'd like the book, b/c I wasn't sure I liked the author! He described a lot of what I considered to be mean spirited pranks he'd play on people, including on his little brother- who was going through his own trials and tribulations. . .Then as I read on I got to truly appreciate and admire this remarkable man. He tells a great story, honestly sharing his struggles and joys. I was relieved in many parts of the book, to learn that he was able ...more
Sarah Jane
Jan 04, 2009 rated it it was ok
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
Nov 07, 2007 rated it it was ok
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
Nov 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. It was insightful, witty, and entertaining. I'm sending it on to a friend whose son has Asperger's. I'm watching Running with Scissors again as there were many references to it in the book. ...more
Jeanette (Ms. Feisty)
2.5 stars

Augusten Burroughs's older brother is an Aspie. This is his autobiography. He has the Aspergian tendency to wax verbose ad tedium about a single subject, so prepare to grow old and shriveled whilst he rhapsodizes about his triumphs in electronics.

Far more interesting are the parts about growing up with Asperger syndrome in an era when it had not yet been identified as a condition. He was treated like a freak, a defective, a troublemaker. "What is WRONG with you?" was the common refrain
Danyelle Leafty
Jun 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: book-faire-books
"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
Books Ring Mah Bell
Jul 13, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
May 25, 2016 rated it did not like it
I really wanted to like this book. I was reading it for a class and had to compare it to other accounts of people with Asperger's. However, not only did I dislike it due to the poor writing, but also because it really didn't seem to agree with Robison's assessment of Asperger's. A lot of what he attributes to the condition (dangerous pranks, manipulation, lying) seems less to do with him being an Aspie than him just being a jerk. I couldn't see the humor in his interactions or his pranks, (Like ...more
Feb 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Elizabeth R.
Jan 10, 2013 rated it liked it
Reviewing this book will be a complex affair; I gave it four stars but I wouldn't say I "liked" or "enjoyed" it. It was certainly educational, about Aspies yes, but also about humanity in general. The book often made me angry, however, with its characteristic habits (which I find among "normal" men as well as Aspies) of blowing off anything that he personally wasn't interested in or good at as unimportant... and by chronically lumping all "normal" people as possessing certain characteristics. Ma ...more
Sep 12, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
Petra X living life blissfully,not through books!
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.
Jun 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
I'd been tempted to give Robison 3 stars, wished I could give 3.5 but then ultimately settled on 4 because his story is so uplifting, if not always well-told. The problem is not in his ability to tell it, but the genre. Memoirists focus on details and scenes from their lives that they want to convey without giving us enough context or background to appreciate what we're reading. This has always bothered me. However, as a long-time fan of Augusten Burroughs, his brother famous for "Dry" and "Runn ...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.
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
Sep 21, 2007 rated it really liked it
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
ღ Carol jinx~☆~☔
Oct 29, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir, dysfunctional
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.
Asperger's is not a disease. It's a way of being. There is no cure, nor is there a need for one.

I've read quite a bit of Augusten Burroughs -- for the most part when his various books first came out -- so although I have a pretty good mental picture of the neglect and chaos that surrounded his childhood, I really couldn't remember that he even had an older brother. I suppose that's understandable since Burroughs and John Elder Robison, author of Look Me in the Eye, were born eight years apa
Morninglight Mama
Jan 16, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: memoir, nonfiction
I really wanted to like this one, and I did appreciate the first-person account of growing up with Asperger's, long before it was even a recognized condition. But for several chapters, I just wasn't interested in the long, hyper-detailed descriptions of Robison's interests and experiences in trains, electronics, etc. And for several other chapters, I just couldn't see the humor in the ways he chose to interact with others, with his "pranks" (many of which were incredibly dangerous, which he dism ...more
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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

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“I don't really understsand why it's considered normal to stare at someone's eyeballs” 26 likes
“As a functional Aspergian adult, one thing troubles me deeply about those kids who end up behind the second door. Many descriptions of autism and Asperger’s describe people like me as “not wanting contact with others” or “preferring to play alone.” I can’t speak for other kids, but 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 played by myself because I was a failure at playing with others. I was alone as a result of my own limitations, and being alone was one of the bitterest disappointments of my young life.” 17 likes
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