Monday, October 24, 2011

Not Even Wrong

Paul Collins's Sixpence House and Not Even Wrong use autobiography
as a framework for thoughtful and entertaining digressions. I almost
said scholarly, but Collins wants to reintroduce knowledge, not
prove a theory.
Collins wrote Sixpence House first,  but I read it second. The narrative
centers around his family's (himself, wife, and baby son) adventure of
moving to the used book capital of the world. Auster belongs to the
relatively small group (seemingly getting smaller all the time) of
people who read non-fiction and enjoy the feel of a real book in
their hands. Baby Morgan provides moments of charm, or if you
have a child with autism and read Not Even Wrong first,
moments of "oh." Like "oh, I remember
when my little one was absolutely entranced by curtains."
For in Not Even Wrong Morgan is diagnosed with autism.
Not Even Wrong is a marvelous book. I have never yet read
a book about a family and their reaction to the autism diagnosis.
I am not sure I can.
Instead of doing that, Collins places the events of his family life
within his research life of the wild child, which to his surprise,
turns out to be something of a history of how children with autism
have been (mis) understood in the past.
Not Even Wrong refers to an answer so remote from the question
that it can't even be understood as a mistake. And that is often how
I feel when talking with my son. We are simply not even starting at
the same place. I look for clues to our divergences all the time and
Collins provides quite a few. Collins has given us two enjoyable journeys
 in mind, space and time by a man who's found the interesting spots
and is willing to share.

-Spectrum Mom

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