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Dispatches from Ray’s Planet: A Journey through Autism

Dispatches from Ray’s Planet: A Journey through Autism 2023-11-05

Book Type
  1. Paperback
  2. Digital
Author
Claire Finlayson
As a child, Claire's big brother Ray was bright and inquisitive, but as the two became teenagers, Ray struggled to acquire the social skills that came more easily to others. Claire tried to help, pointing out, after Ray’s many “bloopers,” what he should or shouldn’t have said or done. Ray insisted that he wasn't the problem – "On my planet..." he would explain, there were no social climbers, no subtle hints or subliminal messages to miss, and the telling of little white lies would be a capital offence. At sixteen, sitting with him in the high school cafeteria, Claire vowed to find Ray's planet.

After graduation, Ray took a job as a letter carrier with Canada Post, but after thirty-three years on the job he was fired, blew his appeal, and spiraled into a suicidal depression. Claire didn’t know he was in trouble until he reached out to her by email. Thus began a remarkable written correspondence that pulled back the curtain on an inner life Claire couldn’t have imagined. Where in-person interactions plunged him into hot water, Ray’s writing revealed a compassionate, funny, sad man who showed extraordinary insight into his way of navigating the world. Ray was fifty when Claire realized he might have Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), but by then, having survived without a diagnosis his whole life, Ray was reluctant to have a label pinned on him and resisted Claire’s efforts to fix him by trying, in all sincerity, to make him more like her.

Dispatches from Ray's Planet draws on Ray and Claire's correspondence to tell the story of two siblings from two very different planets. There are thousands of Rays in our world. In this collective memoir, Claire and Ray share their journey with the hope that others can also learn that we all perceive the world in different ways, and that "different" does not necessarily mean "wrong."


Claire Finlayson is full-time writer with a passion for creative non-fiction. She serves as the vice-president on the board of director for the Sunshine Coast Festival of the Written Arts. Dispatches from Ray's Planet, seven years in the making, is her first book.

2020
Caitlyn Press
240 pp.
Author
VictorR
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