Brilliant Book Characters With Autism
Recently my friends and I were talking about autism and Asperger syndrome after we read ‘The Eye of the Sheep’ by Sofie Laguna for book club. I don’t know much about autism or Asperger syndrome, but I have learnt that no two people are the same – autistic or not.
There is a lot of stigma around anything that makes you ‘different’, whether it be autism, mental illness, a disability, a unique personality trait etc. Too often we want to label everything. But with labels come assumptions, and we all know why assumptions are bad. (Makes you an ass FYI.) ‘Aspergers’ and ‘autism’ are labels we’re quick to make assumptions about, when in reality, every single diagnosis is different. Because every person is different.
Imagine everyone you meet labelling you as one thing, then making assumptions about based on that one thing. For example, I'm introduced to someone: “Here’s Isabel, she’s Bob’s sister.” I've been labelled 'Bob's sister', and from then on people only ever call me ‘Bob’s sister’. Bob’s a jerk. Why would I want to be defined by him? I'm my own person! There is lots of interesting things to know about me besides being Bob's sister. (P.S. Bob isn’t real – I just got swept up in that scenario. Point is: we shouldn’t define people by one label.)
That’s why I love books that give an insight into another person’s life, emotions and their perspective on the world around them. They challenge your thinking and your misconceptions. And here are 5 fictional book that do just that, through their brilliant characters with autism:
1. The Rosie Project
by Graeme Simsion
If you haven't read this, oh my word are you missing out! If you can read it without falling in love with Don, I'll eat my hat. If you can read it without laughing, I'll eat my hat and yours.
Must note: he's an Aussie author. We love Aussie authors.
2. House Rules
by Jodi Picoult
Jodi Picoult has a way of capturing raw emotion through words. This book is no different. You'll be challenged, you might cry but you'll be better for it.
3. The Eye of the Sheep
by Sofie Laguna
Wow. This book is amazing. This is the book that sparked this post. It's written in a really unconventional way. The style speaks just as much as the words. Plus, she's an Aussie author. Always good to support the Aussies.
(It's a fantastic book club book FYI. Highly recommended. It makes for very interesting discussion.)
4. Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time
by Mark Haddon
Told by 15-year-old Christopher John Francis Boone, who describes himself as "a mathematician with some behavioural difficulties", as he tries to find out who killed Wellington, his neighbour's dog. It's laugh out loud funny, while giving an insight into what it would be like to be a parent with an autistic child.
5. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
I should add there’s a discussion as to whether or not Lisbeth Salander is autistic. Some think she is, some think she isn't. I think she is and by not labelling it, Larsson was making the point that it shouldn't define her. Lisbeth's behaviour and personality hint that she is – she has a brilliant and intelligent mind – but whether you think she did or didn't, she is a fantastic character that hasn't been treated fairly or kindly by the world. Larsson was definitely making a point about that.