The Girl with the Curly Hair: Asperger's and Me - Alis Rowe
This is an usual book for me to review in that it is really, rather niche. In it, author Alis Rowe self-reflects on her own experiences of life as someone with an autism spectrum condition, considering how it has impacted her at each stage in her life, how it affects her daily routine and how it alters her understanding of other people, what they think, feel and do.
The book forms part of Rowe's, 'The Curly Hair Project', in which she seeks to promote a wider, social understanding of autism and all that it entails. In particular, the project provides advice as to how support individuals with autism and Asperger's.
Image sourced from here.
I think it unlikely that many people would buy this book without a particular interest in the subject. Certainly, it cannot be bought in most mainstream bookshops and would not appear at the top of most people's 'to read' lists. I bought this book as a matter of personal and professional interest, with both a desire and a need to gain a better understanding of people's experiences of Asperger's.
It is unfortunate that, as with many mental health or cognitive differences, much of the literature surrounding autism is written by 'experts' who, even at their best, can only report what others have told them to be the case. This book is therefore a rare gem in that it illustrates not just what people with Asperger's might do, but how they might think, feel and understand a situation.
The resounding star-feature of this book is its honesty. Rowe's own writing style is left relatively unhampered, making it plain and easy to understand. She reflects unashamedly on her true feelings about various situations, identifying her thought processes and explaining them in a way that clearly lays out how a person with an autism spectrum condition might see things differently.
Whilst the book is most likely to appeal to a relatively small audience, I truly believe that it is a book everyone would benefit from reading: for some, the ability to identify oneself in Rowe's experiences could be something of a revelation whilst, for others, gaining an insight into how she sees the world sheds something of a light on our own lives.
Fancy a read? Click here.