I received this book for free as part of the Blogging for Books Program. If we’re friends on Goodreads, then you know I’ve been struggling to get through this 500+ page abridged history of what we now know as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) for quite a while. As I describe later on in the post, this book is very information dense, which I greatly appreciate. That being said, each chapter, each group of five pages contained so much important information that I could only absorb so much in one sitting. If you are a proud non-fiction book enthusiast like myself, you need to pick up In a Different Key.
History books have a bad rep in the literary world. Often I’m told that history books lack a clear story or series of events. They may be “very important books about nothing.” On one hand, I see what these people are getting at. If you’re reading a book about an important historical event or war, the “story” is more apparent making the book an easier read. On the other hand, books about science or a particular person may lack a clear beginning, middle with a bunch of plot twists and end with some resolution. This book about the history of an area of science breaks apart that misconception.
I love this book. Yes, it took me a few months to finish in its entirety and I loved it. The more that I read In a Different Key, the more I felt my compassion for these individuals growing. I have been fascinated by ASD since I first learned of it many years ago and had my own experience with an individual with ASD. This book enriched my understanding of what we now call Autism Spectrum Disorder and how we, as a society, have come to this point where we so openly discuss it.
(More on the blog: Book Review: Legend by Eric Blehm)
Like I mentioned earlier, the text of this book is just over 500 pages (it’s around 600 with the inclusion of sources and notes). I have been fascinated by Autism Spectrum Disorder or ASD for years, but would be lying if I said I wasn’t at least marginally intimidated by the length of this book. This book begins before ‘autism’ was a widely accepted term in the scientific community. In a Different Key is broken down into larger sections that are then further broken down into chapters – the division helped me navigate such a long, informative book. Donvan and Zucker then delve into each chapter of content in the best way possible, in my opinion – through stories. They tell the stories of the first official diagnosis of Autism, of the struggle of parents faced from doctors and psychologists, of the vastly changing landscape of Autism organizations and, most importantly, of the individuals with ASD who decided it was time to advocate for themselves.
(More on the blog: Why It’s Important to Read)
Thanks for checking out my latest book review – it’s been a while since I’ve last done one. Do you like them? Want to see more of them? Currently, I’m already half-way through my current read and am always looking for recommendations. Let me know your answers to these questions + what you’re reading down below in the comments!
What book are you currently reading?