Do you or someone you know have Asperger's Syndrome? Do you know someone who is considered eccentric, has problems socializing with others, has problems with non-verbal communications such as eye contact or not catching verbal cues, tends to be a little clumsy or has an ability to intensely focus on areas of interest sometimes to the exclusion of anything else? Were you interested in the special effect guitars of the rock group KISS? Do you enjoy a really great read about the lives of others; one filled with overcoming adversity to succeed in life?
If you can answer yes to any of these questions, then this book is a must read.
The author is John Elder Robinson an adult with Asperger's Syndrome. John came from a troubled home with an alcoholic father and a mentally unstable mother. He was the inventor of KISS guitarist Ace Frehley's special effects guitars and a member of the R&D team at Milton Bradley. He is now a highly successful owner of a specialty car repair business in Massachusetts and is the brother of Augusten Burroughs, the author of Running with Scissors.
John sets out on his life's journey as a young child who is trying to make friends with those around him, but cannot seem to make the connection easily. In one incident, he tries petting a young classmate like he would a pet and cannot understand why this person does not like him. He then tries to show her how to play with a toy correctly. Needless to say he never made friends with this young girl.
Later in his teenage years, he develops a fine talent for practical jokes, including one incident involving a high voltage electrical tower, a mannequin, a telephone pole and highly flammable chemicals. During this same time period, he begins to hone his skills with things electronic, which eventually leads him to designing Ace Frehley's guitars and then to Milton Bradley.
Eventually he tires of the corporate life and decides to go into business for himself by repairing and restoring high-end imported cars, such as Bentleys and Land Rovers. Along the way, he falls in and out of love, sires a son and learns how to find his place in society.
All in all, this a fascinating look into the life of a remarkable man and a personal inspiration to me.