Nerdy, shy and socially inappropriate: a user guide to an Asperger life is a book by Cynthia Kim writer of the blog Musings of an Aspie. Unlike other books I’ve read recently on Aspergers, this one was like sitting down with one of the understanding friends I’d so like to have handy in real life. So much of it tallies with my experiences growing up undiagnosed, although it seems that Cynthia had a family environment more tolerant of the differences she displayed. (I think my family mostly wanted me to be happy, and couldn’t quite appreciate that I could be happy *and* different. And solitary. And bookish. And so on.)
One of the major characteristics of many post diagnosis books appears to be a feeling of woe – in my recently arrived post diagnosis pack, there’s a diagram of the transition phases including denial, anger, sadness and so on. What if you don’t feel anything negative? For Cynthia, and for me, the autism (or aspergers) diagnosis clicks into place, and sheds light on things we’d never understood. This is a positive thing, and I’ve not a lot of time for people trying to tell me I should think otherwise.
Of course there are differences between my experiences and the authors. We aren’t one and the same person, despite the many similarities, not least the martial arts interest. But this book is a personal memoir, as well as a practical guide, and it never feels exclusive. It’s never telling me my experience of me is wrong, if you see what I mean, just that our experiences might be different.
There are also lots of factual/ informative sections which were particularly interesting. And hints and tips on how to manage various of the challenges that come along with this different way of processing life. I’m going back to reread the chapter on Executive Function, and then I might be handing it out to various other people I know struggling with those aspects.
All in all, I can’t recommend this book highly enough, particularly to anyone diagnosed in adulthood, or just wanting to understand the aspergers experience. I would say that I found it particularly useful covering the female experience, but I don’t think it’s written in such a way that men would get nothing from it. (Not being a man, I can’t really tell you that definitively though.) (I have felt that some books written by male authors are exclusionary – there are aspects of life that they just gloss over.)
So, go buy it. Preferably from the nice affiliate links at the top of the post. Thank you. (Disclosure: book was received for review from JKP books.)
If you’d like to read more of my personal experience of diagnosis, my post So, autism, is a good place to start.
And if you’re interested in books about adult women and autism, you might also enjoy Pretending to be normal.