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How to Be Autistic

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  328 ratings  ·  49 reviews
An urgent, funny, shocking, and impassioned memoir by the winner of the Spectrum Art Prize 2018, How To Be Autistic by Charlotte Amelia Poe presents the rarely shown point of view of someone living with autism.

Poe’s voice is confident, moving and often funny, as they reveal to us a very personal account of autism, mental illness, gender and sexual identity.

As we follow Cha
Paperback, 160 pages
Published January 14th 2020 by Myriad Editions
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Average rating 3.93  · 
Rating details
 ·  328 ratings  ·  49 reviews

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Tyler J Gray
I read this via Scribd and i'm going to have to get my own copy at some point!

This autobiography of growing up (unknowingly) autistic is amazing. So heartfelt, honest and raw. I related to some of it. It can sometimes be depressing and I cried reading it but it's also full of hope and happiness (just keep reading) and I also kept bouncing (from happiness) while reading it.

I honestly wish everyone would read this, whether you are autistic or not. It's for everyone. You'll either see yourself and/
Jodie (jodie.loves.books)
Nov 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2019
This book is beautiful. It means so much to me and I think I’m really going to struggle to put my thoughts into words.

So firstly, I hardly ever read non-fiction so this was a little bit out of my comfort zone but Charlotte’s writing style is so raw and true and flows so well that I absolutely raced through this.

I’m currently 19 years old and I’m on a 2 year waiting list for an Asperger’s diagnosis. I’ve showed symptoms of Autism as well as having anxiety my whole life and yet I’ve only recently
Kaitlyn Schnobrich
I’m not really quite sure where to begin. I loved being able to see life through the eyes of Charolette, their voice, and what it means to be autistic. Having an immediate family member being fairly recently diagnosed with autism, reading this is the start of my journey to have a better relationship and outlook of autism. And although—as a neurotypical myself—I will never truly understand the brain of someone who has autism, she touched on and explained other mental illnesses that I can certainl ...more
Oct 12, 2019 rated it it was ok
I found this a rather empty book. Kind if like reading a teen MySpace blog entry. It doesn't really express much in the way of what autism is. It is more than anxiety and I feel this book could have done much more to explain that. ...more
Oct 07, 2019 rated it liked it
I was searching for more primary sources on autism and stumbled upon this little book (didn't read any reviews, just dove right in). As much as I appreciate the efforts of the author in creating this piece (and the video that helped them win an award and motivate them to write this), it's still too unstructured for me.

It's a memoir of a relatively short life (the author just a couple of years older than me) and a whole decade is completely skipped (so we don't learn anything about the years of s
Feb 24, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: memoir, autism
Everything the author says about autism in this book is factually correct, but the book doesn't express the information about autism in a clear way. However, it would be fine to include in a list of books about autism and written by autistic people: some people might find it helpful. For me, it doesn't really work as a description of being autistic because the author jumps around the topic too much, and it's grasp what they're saying. As well as that, it doesn't work well as a memoir, because th ...more
Alan Teder
Often Disturbing but Ultimately Uplifting
Review of the Myriad Editions paperback edition (UK Sept 2019/N.Am. Jan. 2020)
"I chose the title because I thought it was funny. There's no one way to be autistic, there are millions. Every autistic person is their own person with their own identity, and I wanted to get that message across. My experience is my experience. It might not have been yours. But we might have shared some of it." - How to be Autistic pg. 127

Charlotte Amelia Poe won the inaugu
5 Stars

"I know rallying autistic people is like herding cats, we're all so unique, but that's what makes us amazing, we have an entire spectrum to draw from and each of us had a different voice."

This memoir was beautiful. Charlotte Amelia Poe managed to make me laugh, cry, and taught me so much more about what it means to be an autistic person. They have clearly had great difficulties in their life because they were never diagnosed at a young age or understood; the trauma and pain of school tha
Amber ☁️ (bookswithamb)
Apr 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
“We are exploded planets and we are all miracles. We have no way of knowing how many times a black hole has had to explode before we came along, before the stars aligned just right for us to exist.”

First and foremost, How to be Autistic is a memoir about the childhood and further experiences of somebody with autism, but it’s also a breathtakingly honest exploration of sexuality, gender, identity and mental health. It is hard hitting stories from school, interlaced with thought provoking poetry.
Laura Lamb
Sep 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I read this book in pretty much one sitting. It’s so damn powerful, and I don’t think words I write here could do it justice in any way. What I can say is this: I genuinely feel privileged to have been allowed inside Charlotte’s world and brain. I guarantee that anyone who reads this will not come out unchanged. Thank you, cosmic human, for surviving, for writing this book, and look, here you are, absolutely bloody thriving ✨ if you haven’t already, R E A D this book 📖
Contrary Reader
Sep 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is like The Bell Jar for autism. How to stand in someone else’s shoes and understand how they see and relate to the world. I applaud Charlotte for her honesty and openness- for baring herself to us. An important read that should go a long way towards promoting compassion and understanding. Why on Earth the Autism Quotient test isn’t used, I really don’t know
Hannah Wingfield
Jan 05, 2021 rated it liked it
Mixed feelings about this one... On one hand, I think it's great books like this (about autism, by autistic people) exist, and this was an enjoyable read. Also, props to the author for having the guts to put this very personal work out there for us all to see. I really enjoyed the chapters on the author's special interests too (e.g. body modification and fan fiction). But... the structure and depth of the book felt more like a series of blog posts than an actual book (which made it easy to read, ...more
Jan 13, 2021 rated it really liked it
A painful but honest account of a young woman living with undiagnosed autism. I read it quickly from behind my fingers, pained on her behalf at her stories of struggling through a school system that refused to understand her.

‘I wanted to show the side of autism that you don’t find in books and on Facebook. My story is about survival, fear and, finally, hope. There will be parts that make you want to cover your eyes, but I beg you to read on, because if I can change just one person’s perceptions
Sally Abram
May 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Very interesting read. A good insight into what living with autism is really like and the daily struggles. A subject close to my heart so was interestong to read from an autistic perspective
Jadey (the Bookish)
An honest portrayal of one afab* person's life experience of being autistic without (until their 20's) being diagnosed.

Being myself a self-diagnosed autistic woman, I would warn that the first half of chapters may be quite triggering for other autistic women. It's hard that this is a memoir, because of the conversation about what is censorisation about a life experience, but I wish a lot of the beginning chapters weren't ended with sentences such as 'the worst is yet to come' or phrases in that
Claire The Bristol Reader
Oct 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
How can neurotypical people learn about autism? How can autistic people get advice and support?

Well, neurotypical people talk, make programmes, and teach us about autism. It's ridiculous when you stop and think about it. Here, Charlotte writes about her experiences growing up, her diagnosis aged 21, and her triumph as an artist.

Thank you Charlotte for sharing your story and advice in such a refreshing and inspirational way.

This is a relatively short book - I wanted more, and I hope Charlotte
Jan 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was way too real. This book felt way too much like the inside of my head, and I would 100% recommend it to autistics who want to feel a little less alone, as well as neurotypical & other allistic folks who want to start to understand our experiences of the world.
Emma Bradford
Oct 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Amazing and raw book, autism isn’t talked about enough. Especially by people with autism.
Emily Minness
Apr 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
“How To Be Autistic” is a wonderful little book, in which the author - Charlotte Amelia Poe- reflects on her life thus far, providing an interesting look at life throughout the eyes of someone with autism. Charlotte reflects on many of her milestones, such as her school years, attending college, her relationships with friends and family, the strive to achieve her diagnosis, and her journey to writing this very book.

This book is so easy to digest, and I consumed it in one sitting. It’s prose is
Janel Atlas
Jul 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I read this book in one sitting.

While I've been aware of autism for a long time, I have only recently started reading and trying to understand more about what it can be like for some people who are autistic. Someone I'm close to recently shared that they think they are on the spectrum, and reading Poe's book felt very familiar and helped me to listen to another representation of what it can be like to be neurodivergent and miss getting a diagnosis for a very long time.

Reviewers who are griping
Sierra Slaugh
Aug 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Holy wow. I have never found a book that has been so accurate to my experience as an autistic person. I was so touched during every part of this book. Every aspect resonated with me, some sections stronger than others. I never would have imagined people would have struggled with their dental hygiene as kids or have persistent stomach aches. I felt seen in a way that I have never felt before. This book sparked something in me. The inspiration to tell my own story. The urge to tell my mom thank yo ...more
Genevieve Poku
Jan 20, 2021 rated it really liked it
I learnt a lot whilst reading this book and I think this memoir is soo strong and brave. To be misunderstood and rejected for so long and to feel like your battling against the world and yourself and you not know where to turn to ...well saying it seems ‘rough’ is probably the understatement of the year. Yet, to slowly continue to push through AND write a book about it (that will help so many, and teach so many) is applaudable.

Autism is highly stigmatised and portrayed as quite a severe and neg
Kelly Lou
Apr 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a mind blowing read! Jam packed with valuable information and insights. Autism is very close to my heart as a mum to two autistic children and convinced I’m also on the spectrum myself I related to Charlotte so much throughout this book on different levels for different reasons. Motivating and uplifting.... yes there are negatives to autism but believe me there are more positives by far! Everybody should pick this up and dive in. 💋
Erin Wickson
Oct 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book changed my perspective on a lot of things about myself, even though in society, I would be seen as “neurotypical”.
Charlotte’s voice is so clear and inspiring and I feel honoured to have their words in my thoughts now as I type this. I will carry this book with me for a long, long time and will be recommending it to friends - we should talk about the way we feel, we should advocate for each other and always listen to what our body is saying - life is too damn important!
Thank you for t
Jun 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have Asperger’s and found so much in this book to relate to. Beautifully written and inspiring. Particularly enjoyed the sections about isolating feelings and fandom, as those are both things that I struggle with and find solace in (respectively) in my own life.
Sarah Hughes
Interesting read and I could definitely relate to some parts. Was important for the author to write her story. But would have loved to have found out more about her diagnosis and her acceptance and adapting to her diagnosis.
rachael lenon
Oct 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read this now!

Life changing for me, a possibly neurotypical mum (although not 100% sure of that now).A mum of two truly beautiful and infinitely brave autistic girls. Thank you Charlotte.
Liza Taylor
Nov 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I am in absolute love with this book 😍😍😍 And its author 😬😅🤩 Reading it was like coming home to my soul after it had been adrift at sea. Just amazing, legit my book of the year. A lot of what Charlotte wrote resonated strongly with me, they're a fucking amazing writer!! ...more
The poetry in this book is really one of the best parts.
Candice Lamb
May 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Nice to read a book about autism written by someone who is autistic. It was beautifully written
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