Read the review, skip the book.
In a Different Key: The Story of Autism actually contains 46 short chapters, grouped into “parts.” Since none of these chapters is really long enough for a review, though, I decided to review the book by Parts.
Part 1 contains six short chapters. As a whole, it focuses mostly on the childhood and adolescence of Donald Triplett – Leo Kanner’s “Case 1,” the first child described in his 1943 paper “Autistic Disturbances of Affective Contact” [pdf]. The authors’ telling of the story is engaging and clear; it makes a quick, entertaining read.
Nonetheless, it reminds me of nothing so much as those mass-market afterschool-special-esque novels that were so popular when I was in elementary and middle school. You may remember these. They had titles like Is My Sister Dying? (spoiler: yes, of kidney failure) and What’s Wrong With Daddy? (spoiler: Alzheimer’s). They were always told from the point of…
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