In October of 2012, I talked about Nina Amir’s wonderfully succinct how-to book, aptly called How To Blog a Book. One of my blog followers commented on the post; she asked a question and stated that she thought blogging her memoir might be the way to go.
Jeannie Davide-Rivera (you may have seen her as Aspie writer in the comments) said she was going to do it. And she did.
Twirling Naked in the Streets and No One Noticed (Growing Up With Undiagnosed Autism) is Jeannie’s story from her earliest memories to her life today. And what an interesting, compelling, and often heart-wrenching story it is.
Though I’ve worked with autistic middle schoolers, these were kids on the far end of the spectrum and I must admit, I had little success at communication and often had little understanding of their world. Having known them, I thought this was the most common face of autism.
But those who have been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome are also living with the challenges of autism. And it’s a number that’s growing daily.
Twirling Naked in the Streets was an eye-opening read for me. From Jeannie’s earliest memories of childhood as a somewhat happy, free-to-be-me (yet definitely quirky and particular) preschooler to her journey as an adult who finally understood the years of depression, years of job-hopping, the years of trying to be like everyone else (and miserably failing), I learned something about Asperger’s on every page.
And I thought of all the people out there–the ones with Asperger’s, or Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, or addictive behaviors or any number of mental health challenges–who struggle daily to fit in a neuro-typical world. Maybe it’s the middle-aged cashier you speak to at the grocery store, or the young mom sitting next to you at the park, or the teenage boy in your neighborhood who works as a dog-sitter. Lord knows, life is hard. But perhaps it’s just a little bit harder when your brain doesn’t work quite like other people’s brains.
I’m so glad Jeannie sent me a copy of her book. I’m glad for her success as a writer, of course, but I’m also very glad to know a little more about the face of autism. If you want to know more, visit her blog (where she blogged her book!).
Jeannie’s world changed for the better when she read a book about an autistic character and realized she was reading about herself. I wonder who will read her book and find himself or herself in the pages? Who will write their success story because one person was brave enough to share her journey?
Well done, Jeannie, and thank you!