Wednesday, July 28, 2010

MindBlind by Jennifer Roy

There are lots of books these days written from the point of view of an Aspie. (That's someone with Asperger's Syndrome, like myself.)

The most famous is the mega-seller "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time" and this year brings the moving "Mockingbird," about an Aspie dealing with the murder of her brother.

I recently read another Aspie-narrated book, "MindBlind," which is a little different than either of the above. While it does cover some big moments in a young guy's life, it's more of a slice-of-life story. This gives the reader a chance to experience regular, everyday stuff as filtered through a very different brain.

All Aspie's are not alike. In fact their brains function in all sorts of ways. Nathaniel Clark, the hero of MindBlind, is the sort that gets perfect SAT scores. But, like a lot of Aspies, he can't quite figure out how the non-standardized test world works. But what's interesting about Nathaniel is that he's so close to getting it. He's so close to just passing as a normal, but very smart, kid.

But, of course, that raises the stakes. If you're going to make friends -- you might lose them. If you're going to fall in love -- you might get your heart broken. If you're going to try to pass as normal -- you WILL get laughed at when you slip up. And, of course, Nathaniel slips up.

As an Aspie, I can tell you that the author Jennifer Roy gets a lot of details right. For example, just like Nathaniel, I've never seen the big deal about whether your clothes are right-side out or not. Some parts of his life -- like playing in a teen rock band -- were completely alien to me, though.

In many ways, this book is more about those details than any sort of big plot device. There's no mystery, no world at stake. Just this weird genius guy trying to make sure the world sees the genius part of him and not so much the weird part.
(I'd compare it to the Newbery winner "It's Like This Cat," but I'm not sure that many people read that classic slice-of-life book anymore.)

MindBlind will be published this fall by Marshall Cavendish.

Full disclosure: I received a free review copy of MindBlind from the publisher after meeting the author at a book festival.

1 comment :

Sarah Stevenson said...

I'll have to look for this one. It sounds like it's got some similarities to another recent release, HARMONIC FEEDBACK by Tara Kelly--also about a (possibly) Asperger's kid who has music as an outlet.