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How to Be Human

How to Be Human 2023-10-02


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V.I.P Member
VictorR submitted a new resource:

How to Be Human - An Autistic Man’s Guide to Life

As a child, Jory Fleming was wracked by uncontrollable tantrums, had no tolerance for people, and couldn’t manage the outside world. Slightly more than a decade later, he was bound for England, selected to attend one of the world’s premier universities.

How to Be Human explores life amid a world constructed for neurotypical brains when yours is not. But the miracle of this book is that instead of dwelling on Jory’s limitations, those who inhabit the neurotypical world will begin to...

Read more about this resource...
Chapter List:

Chapter 1: Diagnosis: Autism
Chapter 2: Brain Space
Chapter 3: Energy and Memory
Chapter 4: Emotional Distancing
Chapter 5: Language Barriers
Chapter 6: Language Disconnect
Chapter 7: Personality is a Choice
Chapter 8: Things That Matter
Chapter 9: One Word: LOVE

A Note on Sources
Review #39

If you’ve read my review on The Reason I Jump (The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism) you’ll know that the Q&A format is rather unorthodox for a memoir-type book and you either love it or you hate it, and personally, I’m not a fan.

This book, drawn from a series of conversations and interviews over the course of Jory’s two years at Oxford while he was reading for his MPhil as a Rhodes Scholar, it seems that Lyric settled on the Q&A style as the best way to present things, and as their own book description notes, it’s to help neurotypicals better understand what/how Jory thinks.

I read books on/of other autistics to better understand myself, and I found it rather boring at times to read this book because it seems like I’m reading about my thoughts – the book can get quite abstract and it kind of feels like reading a really drawn out introduction. It didn’t help that there wasn’t really a back story to help one better get a sense of him, though that’s not Jory’s fault as he notes he doesn’t remember much of his pre-college life. There were some stories at times, like talking about walking through the garden and sitting in the chapel at Worcester College (on a personal note, the Worcester College garden is quite lovely and if you get a chance to visit them while in Oxford, do so!), but they were far and few in between.

Something else that I found troubling about the book is that Jory comes across as a humble down to earth guy (downplaying his achievements and things he’s had to overcome while recognizing the many privileges that he’s had, such as a mom who gave up her career to homeschool and support him, including going to Oxford with him), while Lyric seems to be gushing over him (such as placing significant emphasis on him being the first Rhodes Scholar with an autism diagnosis and that he had a lot of media coverage over that, though as Jory points out, there’s likely been autistics in the past, just not diagnosed – and I would add that it’s possible that some were diagnosed, but chose not to disclose it).

This leads to the question – why was this book written? My speculation would be that someone saw the opportunity for a book with good sales and went for it.

I feel bad about the rating as Jory seems to be someone I share worldviews with and would probably want to befriend. But the book, as it stands, doesn't really do anything for me.

Rating: 3.5/6.0
How to be human, I do not know?
You tell me...
Hopefully u do not go through what I do
Trade places. I bet u find it easier
Because no matter what I wish I was not where I am right now
But have no choice
I feel bad about the rating as Jory seems to be someone I share worldviews with and would probably want to befriend. But the book, as it stands, doesn't really do anything for me.
An encouraging sign of a good review of the material itself. Usually, it's good to set personal feelings aside for the sake of assessment.

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