This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is all about books dealing with tough subjects. I’ve read a number of truly remarkable books dealing with the kinds of issues usually filed under ‘tough’ – addiction, suicide, grief, terminal illness and so on. Instead of filling my top ten list with a range of tough issues, I’m focusing on one – autism.
I have a nephew with Asperger’s. Some things are particularly tough for him – playground politics, kids not playing by the rules and soon, all the crap that goes with being a teenager. Some people might not consider autism a ‘tough’ issue but I say cast your mind back to when you were little. In the world of kids where any differences are noted (loudly), it’s survival of the fittest. And that can be really hard.
Of course being a teenager is a different type of tough. So much of it is in the fine detail – sidelong glances, notes passed in class, ‘he said/ she said’ and knowing that wearing your collar/ your jumper/ your socks just so is cool and all the other ways is not. Navigating all this shit makes me stress for my kids, let alone for my nephew who will have to work a bit harder on ‘getting it right’.
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion has proved a break-out hit in Australia and now the world (the title of this post is a quote from this fabulous book). Asperger’s and love are the main themes – The Rosie Project will make you think differently about both.
Autism has been the subject of a number of novels and memoirs. I’ll start my list with the books I’ve read (and one movie) that are really, really good –
1. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
2. Mozart and the Whale by Jerry Newport
3. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon
4. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
5. Look Me in the Eye by John Elder Robison
6. Adam starring Hugh Dancy and Rose Byrne
And to those in my TBR stack –
7. Raising Cubby by John Elder Robinson
8. Born on a Blue Day by Daniel Tammet
9. Colin Fischer by Ashley Miller
10. Marcelo in the Real World by Franciso X. Stork
STOP PRESS! And this – Boomer and Me by Jo Case.
It’s also worth mentioning Kathy Lette’s The Boy Who Fell to Earth. It’s certainly on-topic but I didn’t enjoy it so it seems disingenuous to include it in my top ten.