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Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger’s by John Elder Robison

Updated: Jul 7

Look Me in the Eye is a moving, darkly funny memoir of growing up with Asperger's at a time when the diagnosis simply didn't exist.

Ever since he was young, John Robison longed to connect with other people, but by the time he was a teenager, his odd habits—an inclination to blurt out non sequiturs, avoid eye contact, dismantle radios, and dig five-foot holes (and stick his younger brother, Augusten Burroughs, in them)—had earned him the label “social deviant.” It was not until he was forty that he was diagnosed with a form of autism called Asperger’s syndrome. That understanding transformed the way he saw himself—and the world.

a young boy with his eyes squeezed shut

Discussion Questions

  1. As a child growing up without a diagnosis, Robison was sometimes called “deviant.” How might his interactions with others been different if he had been diagnosed with Asperger’s? How does a label affect how we treat someone or see ourselves?

  2. How would you describe Robison’s childhood? How did his parents contribute to the loneliness he felt?

  3. Robison chooses new names for his family. What do the names reveal about his family dynamic? Why do you think he sometimes avoids people’s given names?

  4. How has Robison’s memoir changed your understanding of those living with Asperger’s?


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