This will be a brief post, I hope, on a topic which has consumed the Autistic community on Twitter in the last few days.
Judith Newman’s, “To Siri with love”, a book written about one of her two sons, Gus, who is autistic has caused quite the furores with its, and I’m being polite here, rather curious attempts at humour and it’s undeniable portrayal of an author who doesn’t understand her son and has little respect for him.
The author failed to get her autistic sons permission to delve into his private affairs before writing the book. On the other hand she deemed her neurotypical son sufficiently intelligent to obtain his okay first.
That’s okay then.
I won’t bore you with passages from the book but, generally, the author thinks about Gus in sexual situations, wonders if he has feelings and worries about the fact she’s an older parent who won’t be about to sort out any of his issues as they develop so, to avoid one set of problems, she can always have a forcible vasectomy performed upon him when he reaches 18 in a few years time!.
Oh, and she admits she didn’t write the book for it to be read by an autistic audience. (Just a gullible NT one that might take some of her writing as being a good idea)
I’ve not read it all.
I’ve read passages. I’ve skimmed much of what is, actually, a poorly written book and one that has probably only been published due to the surfeit of interest in Autism. The growing “popularity’ of the condition has led to the publication of some excruciatingly bad writing, much by NTs, who believe they know how and what we think but, I’m sorry to say, I doubt there will be less published in future years! .
Several far more erudite bloggers have ripped the book to pieces in their scathing reviews. I am not here to give a blow by blow account but simply to say three things.
1. The book is offensive to Gus and offensive to Autism.
2. The book is badly written. It is not a skilful work and in another time may well have not found a publisher.
3. The genuine words of someone who is Autistic will always outweigh the NT attempt to describe us. Publishing houses should only accept books like Siri from actually autistic authors. My opinion only.
So that’s it.
I’m not telling you to avoid it, not read it..we live in a free society and you spend your money as you want. I’m not advocating a boycott.
It’s just a poor book.
The worlds full of poor books.
Does it really need another ? Siriously ?.