Look Me in the Eye is a great read from start to finish. Parts of it were informative, explaining how an Aspergian thinks. But the bulk of the subject matter is a compelling story having little to do with Aspergers itself, narrated with a strong Aspergian voice. So, more often than not, he shows the reader how he thinks, rather than tells us.
Robison was not diagnosed with Aspergers until he was in his 40s. He writes, of reading about Aspergers:
Just reading those pages was a tremendous relief. All my life, I had felt like I didn't fit in. I had always felt like a fraud or, even worse, a sociopath waiting to be found out. But the book told a very different story. I was not a heartless killer waiting to harvest my first victim. I was normal, for what I am.This passage left a strong impression on me. My journey has caused me to think a lot about what the label means. I've blogged about what I think the label means in the objective sense, and others have chimed in about how they perceive the label - some positive, others negative. Often overlooked in the debate is what the label means for the individual with the condition. What I gather from the account of Robison and others is that with the label comes a sense of understanding and a sense of community and pride.
And so while others concern themselves with the negative stigma associated with the label, I'm struck by the importance of the label with respect to identity. Imagine if you were ethnically diverse or racially diverse (in a nonapparent way), and your parents never told you to spare you negative judgement by ignorant people? This is, in part, why I think it's harmful to dodge the label.
I thank Robison for his emotional honesty.