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Born on a Blue Day: A Memoir of Asperger's and an Extraordinary Mind

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'Born On A Blue Day' is a fascinating and touching memoir from real-life Rain Man, Daniel Tammet, who has the extremely rare condition Savant Syndrome. 'Born On A Blue Day' is a fascinating and touching memoir from real-life Rain Man, Daniel Tammet, who has the extremely rare condition Savant Syndrome.


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'Born On A Blue Day' is a fascinating and touching memoir from real-life Rain Man, Daniel Tammet, who has the extremely rare condition Savant Syndrome. 'Born On A Blue Day' is a fascinating and touching memoir from real-life Rain Man, Daniel Tammet, who has the extremely rare condition Savant Syndrome.

30 review for Born on a Blue Day: A Memoir of Asperger's and an Extraordinary Mind

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sun

    The problem with autobiography is that extraordinary people are not necessary good writers. Daniel Tammet has an extraordinary mind - he can visualise numbers, recite pi to record-breaking decimal places and learn languages with astounding ease*. This is linked to his Asperger's and also to epilepsy. Although a novel human story, this does not provide much insight into how Tammet's brain works and why other brains are not like his. I expected his unique cognition would be illuminated through pre The problem with autobiography is that extraordinary people are not necessary good writers. Daniel Tammet has an extraordinary mind - he can visualise numbers, recite pi to record-breaking decimal places and learn languages with astounding ease*. This is linked to his Asperger's and also to epilepsy. Although a novel human story, this does not provide much insight into how Tammet's brain works and why other brains are not like his. I expected his unique cognition would be illuminated through precise examples and that these would shed more light on cognitive psychology. Instead, this is a human interest story and can be only enjoyed as such. *It is interesting that Tammet's rapid language learning is attributed to his uncanny ability to learn and apply rules but no mention is made of his lack of social inhibition, which is a huge stumbling block for adult language learners.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. With a full title (in the States) of Born on a Blue Day: Inside the Extraordinary Mind of an Autistic Savant, Daniel Tammet's memoir might seem intimidating. Yet the text itself is anything but--the chapters are relatively short, his sentences are easy to follow, and (aside from the first chapter, "Blue Nines and Red Words") it is told in straightforward chronology. Tammet is 28 years old; he's been diagnosed as both a savant and autistic, which means that he can remember nearly everything he's r With a full title (in the States) of Born on a Blue Day: Inside the Extraordinary Mind of an Autistic Savant, Daniel Tammet's memoir might seem intimidating. Yet the text itself is anything but--the chapters are relatively short, his sentences are easy to follow, and (aside from the first chapter, "Blue Nines and Red Words") it is told in straightforward chronology. Tammet is 28 years old; he's been diagnosed as both a savant and autistic, which means that he can remember nearly everything he's read, including massive amounts of numbers, but that he spent most of his life feeling like an outsider unsure of how to interact with other people. I first learned of the memoir both through a book review somewhere else and a special on TV about him--in which, among other things, he learned to speak Icelandic fluently in one week. He sees words and numbers as colors and textures, with different characters having different sizes and shapes. I would love to say that it is a brilliant memoir, but to be honest, there were few points where it lived up to the dust jacket's "triumphant and uplifting" description. True, he has been incredibly successful in spite of his autism-related limitations (he runs a successful online language learning business, and is considered one of the most socially functional autistic cases ever studied--as a result, he's a scientist's wet dream to studying the brain, savantism, and autism). While the text is quite informative into how his mind works and what his life has been like, there were large chunks where I felt disconnected from the text. This sense of distance was a result of two elements. First, in the entire book--though most noticeably in the first few chapters--it seems like Tammet and his editors just can't seem to decide what exactly they want this memoir to do. Tammet swings from describing how he sees the world (fairly passionately and intricately) to listing off events of his childhood, to offering somewhat stilted advice to those with autism and their friends and family. Since the advice frequently takes the form of a paragraph awkwardly tacked on at the end of a chapter, I felt like it wasn't really organically grown from the text. Secondly, in many cases, Tammet is simply listing and recounting events. The most engaging passages are where he discusses how he sees certain letters and words, how he learned Icelandic, how he memorized over 22,500 numbers of pi for a public recital, the ins and outs of his relationship, and when he meets Kim Peek (on whom Dustin Hoffman's Rain Man is based). In short, when he's writing about things that matter to him, it's an incredibly engaging memoir. But so much of his recounting has the air of something he's telling us because he expects it's what we're interested in--and that he'd kind of bored by it. As a result, the rest of the memoir is consumed by an almost list-like, fairly dispassionate chronology of his experiences in grade school, secondary school, teaching abroad, etc. In some ways, this second "problem" seems a result of the first: the focus of the text seems torn. The shorter early chapters seem to exacerbate the problem by skipping rather quickly through things--many of them things Tammet does not remember but his parents do, which could account for his lack of energy when discussing them. His is a fascinating mind and experience, and the book is definitely worth reading if you're interested in how the brain works, how autism or savantism work, and particularly how Tammet sees numbers, letters, etc. (he includes illustrations of what some letters and numbers look like to him, which are cool). It does provide a lot of insight into how someone with Asperger's syndrome (considered a milder, more social form of autism) functions and thinks. (The UK title, Born on a Blue Day: A Memoir of Asperger's and an Extraordinary Mind, actually seems more representative of the text itself.) Otherwise, this is one story where the condensed version of the TV special might actually be preferable, as the stilted style in portions of this text rob it of its due.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Lena

    Daniel Tammet first became known to the world for such feats as setting the world record for memorizing the most digits of PI (22,514) and learning to speak Icelandic in a week. Tammet is a high-functioning autistic savant who also has synesthesia, a neurological mixing of the senses that allows him to see numbers in shapes and colors. Tammet's autobiography provides a fascinating glimpse into the inner world of a man who experiences life very differently from the rest of us. As he discusses gro Daniel Tammet first became known to the world for such feats as setting the world record for memorizing the most digits of PI (22,514) and learning to speak Icelandic in a week. Tammet is a high-functioning autistic savant who also has synesthesia, a neurological mixing of the senses that allows him to see numbers in shapes and colors. Tammet's autobiography provides a fascinating glimpse into the inner world of a man who experiences life very differently from the rest of us. As he discusses growing up as the eldest of nine children, Tammet writes in great detail about what life is like for a person who experiences numbers as a landscape he can walk within and yet can be easily overwhelmed by the normal stimulus of modern life. There is a certain detached air to Tammet's prose, but his writing is extremely lucid and I found his unique perspective on the world both engaging and inspiring.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Silk

    Ok, I'm not sure what to do about the star system, but I loved this book so much that it's a five for me. It's non-fiction, and I wouldn't say exactly that it's poetically written, or great literature, but I found it amazing. For one thing, forget the sexy title, the really interesting stuff in here is about this man's struggles, or may I even go so far as to be politically incorrect and say "deficits." How he copes with those differences is much more intriguing than his savant aptitudes. I real Ok, I'm not sure what to do about the star system, but I loved this book so much that it's a five for me. It's non-fiction, and I wouldn't say exactly that it's poetically written, or great literature, but I found it amazing. For one thing, forget the sexy title, the really interesting stuff in here is about this man's struggles, or may I even go so far as to be politically incorrect and say "deficits." How he copes with those differences is much more intriguing than his savant aptitudes. I realize that people are getting more interested in hearing about autism currently, for which I am very thankful, but this book works for anyone who doesn't "fit in" or is going through the struggle of adolescence. How Daniel describes feeling like the odd one out in his family, being puzzled about how to make friends, being the proverbial square peg in a round hole are really universal themes. I don't downplay the autism aspect though, for anyone who wants to understand better what it's like to be in the shoes of someone who toils with the challenge of autism, either as an individual or a caretaker, this book really helps break it down very personally and clearly. Frequently, one of the more difficult characteristics of autism is the strain to communicate, not only with speech but also in writing. Daniel is able to articulate so beautifully what goes on in his head and compare it with neuro typical experiences that I am doubly impressed. It really sheds a light for those of us who can't relate, and puts into words what other autistic individuals feel but can't express. I think other parents of kids with aspergers or high functioning autism are going to find great hope in these pages. No, he still can't drive, and his life isn't easy, but it's definitely blessed; he lives independently, and by focusing on his strengths rather than problems he is financially independent with his own web business, has a healthy adult romantic relationship, and tries hard to advocate for others with autism by taking advantage of educational opportunities even though it's hard for him. It's a simple, quick read without a lot of scientific jargon to slow it down. I didn't just enjoy this book, I thank him for it. By the way, I haven't taken the time to write a review, but another book that I really liked with similar themes is John Elder Robison's Look Me In the Eye.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Modern Hermeneut

    The author of this autobiography is a gay, Christian, epileptic, synesthete with a photographic memory. Unfortunately, he also has Asperger's, so instead of serving up a boldly self-satirizing confessional, he subjects us to a robotic catalogue of chronologically ordered facts about his life, wholly devoid of emotional connection, thematic unity, narrative tension, and moral value. There is virtually nothing here that would interest a non-autistic person. To give you an idea of what I mean, consi The author of this autobiography is a gay, Christian, epileptic, synesthete with a photographic memory. Unfortunately, he also has Asperger's, so instead of serving up a boldly self-satirizing confessional, he subjects us to a robotic catalogue of chronologically ordered facts about his life, wholly devoid of emotional connection, thematic unity, narrative tension, and moral value. There is virtually nothing here that would interest a non-autistic person. To give you an idea of what I mean, consider that Tammet devotes three full pages to describing (proudly, and in excruciating detail) his unique permutation on the card game Solitaire; and yet he is happy to squeeze into a single, short paragraph the stories of how he and his boyfriend first met one another's respective parents. Tammet's profound social and emotional deficits are matched only by the embarrassing artlessness of his prose. I can say, without exaggeration, that I have never read a more stilted and unsophisticated published work in my entire life. The fact that this volume ever saw the light of day -- and the fact that it apparently hoodwinked some professional critics (all of whom should be ashamed of themselves) -- is a testament to the current craze for neurological novelty of the cheapest variety. Like Kim Meek (the real-life inspiration for "Rain Man"), who also makes an appearance in the book, Daniel Tammet's "abilities" are notable only for their grotesque other-ness and not for their practical utility or moral virtue. He is nothing more than a freakshow, who has benefited from a diseased strain of Western liberalism that embraces "differentness" even at the expense of normative values like empathy, humility, and humor. If you think I'm going too far, I invite you to read page 82 on which the author recounts how he hit a little girl (one of the precious few people in the book whose name he fails to remember) with no good reason and without a hint of remorse. One has the impression that Tammet's life is littered with such victims of his pathology, even as his relatives and teachers bend over backwards to accommodate him.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Velvetink

    Daniel Tammet is a savant who sees numbers as shapes, colors, and textures, and who can perform unbelievable feats of calculation in his head. In 2004 he became something of a celebrity in England when he memorized and recited the first 22,000 digits of pi, setting a new world record. The cover is a bit misleading with the tagline, "inside the extraordinary mind of an autistic savant". The author is not, in fact, autistic, and never was. He suffered from epilepsy & seizures during early childhood Daniel Tammet is a savant who sees numbers as shapes, colors, and textures, and who can perform unbelievable feats of calculation in his head. In 2004 he became something of a celebrity in England when he memorized and recited the first 22,000 digits of pi, setting a new world record. The cover is a bit misleading with the tagline, "inside the extraordinary mind of an autistic savant". The author is not, in fact, autistic, and never was. He suffered from epilepsy & seizures during early childhood which doctors and scientists believe caused his savantism. This becomes immediately clear upon reading the first pages of the book. He does have Asperger's syndrome, but although Asperger's is considered to be loosely related to autism (or more accurately on the spectrum), it is certainly not the same. It is a much milder disorder, much less debilitating, and much more common. It is fairly common for someone with Asperger's to lead a more or less normal life and fairly common for many to go undiagnosed until much later in life…. Several major Silicon Valley CEOs have been diagnosed with it & many more well known people of note have been retroactively diagnosed as having it. There was an article on Wired a while back entitled “The Geek Syndrome”, which seems to cover Asperger's pretty well, at a layman's level, so I'm not going to detail it further here. Long story short, I consider this tagline disingenuous on the part of the publisher. I found this book rather interesting. It is well-written and engaging, and the main character (the author himself) is interesting to get to know. But I began to worry that the entire book would be a loose collection of examples of synesthesia. For an example, Tammet sees the number “1″ as a very bright white, the number “11″ is friendly, and “5″ is loud like a clap of thunder. Scientists are particularly interested in his ability to see numbers as landscapes with color and texture and Tammet is currently helping them with their studies. I wonder at the outcome of this as no two people think alike and worry that his way of seeing numbers etc will be interpreted as some kind of bible within the scientific community. Tammet’s input is important but like statistics he is only one not the majority. While there is the assumption that synaesthesia is rare I don’t believe it is “that” rare and believe that many people have some degree of it in various ways. I myself see words in images or moods as I read them and I know many others that do – and many folk who do gravitate towards the arts in some form. Ditto many musicians report seeing music in ways that the rest of us don’t experience. I have to admit I can’t do much maths these days without anti-depressants (& I’d rather not take them) - I now have a mental block for it ~ although in primary school I was pretty good & developed my own math system based on what I now know to be a binary system, until the nun’s beat it out of me,(hence the mental block)…. Anyhow that’s probably TMI - but relevant to me, so when I came to Tammet’s chapter on pi and more detailed maths I just skipped it. Maths geeks though will love it – I guess to give him his due what he can do is nothing short of amazing and his ability is compared to the ‘Rainman”, Kim Peek, who Tammet later met & continues to remain friends with. The subsequent chapters begin a more chronological journey through the author's life. Tammet had a very difficult education. He was bullied by his classmates because of his “weirdness” and compulsive behaviour. He was socially withdrawn and preferred his own company. His parents were accepting and supporting of him and he credits their help with getting him through difficult periods. Tammet gives this advice to parents of children suffering from epilepsy or autism: “Give your children the self-belief to hold on to their dreams, because they are the things that shape each person’s future”. (Something all parents should try to do). Tammet is creating his own language, strongly influenced by the vowel and image-rich languages of northern Europe. (He already speaks French, German, Spanish, Lithuanian, Icelandic and Esperanto.) The vocabulary of his language - "Mänti", meaning a type of tree - reflects the relationships between different things. The word "ema", for instance, translates as "mother", and "ela" is what a mother creates: "life". "Päike" is "sun", and "päive" is what the sun creates: "day". Tammet hopes to launch Mänti in academic circles later this year, his own personal exploration of the power of words and their inter-relationship.His website, Optimnem sells foreign language courses. Personally I found the idea of his "Mänti" language a bit pointless and silly when he can already speak multiple languages and there exists already Esperanto., but whatever rocks his boat. Some other reviews I’ve read find difficulty in the fact that he is homosexual and Christian but there will always be naysayers and haters out there. In the ¾ quarter section of the book the narrative drifts a bit during his discussion of how he sees God & that could be my own bias in not being particularly interested one way or the other - and while I appreciate why he included it (to show he does have empathy and feelings etc), his openness on his sexuality and beliefs have probably caused him more derision than acceptance in some religious sectors. He does delve into religious matters more deeply on his blog. Overall I’d recommend “Born on a Blue Day” to anyone interested in the workings of the human mind (particularly if you love maths). Daniel Tammet is an interesting guy. Exceptional in some areas and pretty normal in others. I feel the most positive thing is the overriding sense you get from Tammet’s life is that you cannot hurl everyone into the same basket based on stereotypical medical categories like “savant” or “asperger’s”. While he is awesome calculating pi he does the dishes just like us. *library borrow

  7. 5 out of 5

    Alex Givant

    Interesting peek into savant mind (some pages of his school experience remind me The Last Samurai). Would I like to be a savant? Hell no! Would I like to have some of his superpowers (like remembering stuff and learning new languages in week? Hell yes! Interesting peek into savant mind (some pages of his school experience remind me The Last Samurai). Would I like to be a savant? Hell no! Would I like to have some of his superpowers (like remembering stuff and learning new languages in week? Hell yes!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ms.pegasus

    If you have read BORN ON A BLUE DAY by Daniel Tammet, chances are you either know someone with Asperger's Syndrome or have seen the author profiled on television. However, I hope that in time, its readership expands: If you fall into neither of these categories, please consider reading this book. Asperger's is considered to be on the autism spectrum. Its designation as a syndrome reflects the current thinking that it is a cluster of symptoms including difficulty interpreting social cues and diff If you have read BORN ON A BLUE DAY by Daniel Tammet, chances are you either know someone with Asperger's Syndrome or have seen the author profiled on television. However, I hope that in time, its readership expands: If you fall into neither of these categories, please consider reading this book. Asperger's is considered to be on the autism spectrum. Its designation as a syndrome reflects the current thinking that it is a cluster of symptoms including difficulty interpreting social cues and difficulty with emotional processing. However, any individual with Asperger's is a complex product of both personality and the syndrome. This book was not written in order define Asperger's. Instead, try to remember what it was like when you were a child as Tammet tells his story. There is the emotional response to the mere sound of a word, before cognizance of definition (the roots of onomatopoeia). There is the ability to create metaphor that neurologists call synesthstic experience. Anyone who ever spent a childhood intrigued by solving mathematical puzzles will relate to Tammet's childhood enthusiasm for numbers and codes. Tammet's interests are varied. He speaks of gravitating toward chess because the focus is on the moves and the game, not interacting with other people. He also loves the quiet that envelopes the game room, allowing him to block out distractions. He attributes a particular aptitude for proofreading to his ability to focus on details rather than processing holistically. He speaks of obsessive phases. One time he was fascinated with the tactile sensation of chestnuts and collected so many, his parents were afraid the floor would give way and demanded he keep his collection in the yard. Then, suddenly one day he moved on to a new interest. Those who have previously heard of Tammet will recall that he is a mathematical savant. He sees numbers in his mind as shapes and colors. This in turn enables him to process complex mathematical problems effortlessly: Identifying prime numbers, multiplication, probability and permutations. One of his most treasured experiences is meeting Kim Peek, the inspiration for the Rainman character in the film. Kim articulates one of the central themes of the book: “You don't have to be disabled to be different, because everybody's different.” This is a candid view of an extraordinary person's way of thinking. NOTE: I read this book in 2010, but wanted to add it after recently reading NOT EVEN WRONG, another book about autism. Anyone interested in a deeper discussion of synesthesia should take a look at V.S. Ramachandran's book, THE TELL-TALE BRAIN.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Gabrielle Dubois

    A unique and singular vision of a man "different" who let us see inside inside his brain... well a tiny part of his huge brain! A unique and singular vision of a man "different" who let us see inside inside his brain... well a tiny part of his huge brain!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jülie ☼♄ 

    I read this book in 2008 pre my Goodreads days so didn't write a full review of it, but I agree with the many positive reviews of my friends here. This is a must read book and one which has stayed with me. I have since loaned it many times to friends. I loved this book and I love this extraordinary young man with his determination and grit. Highly recommend this one ...all the stars 5*s I read this book in 2008 pre my Goodreads days so didn't write a full review of it, but I agree with the many positive reviews of my friends here. This is a must read book and one which has stayed with me. I have since loaned it many times to friends. I loved this book and I love this extraordinary young man with his determination and grit. Highly recommend this one ...all the stars 5*s

  11. 4 out of 5

    Adam

    I think I was expecting something different when I picked up this book and even after I had seen part of the movie that was made about Daniel Tammet's life. I was hoping for more detail pertaining to how he sees numbers, people, letters, languages, etc. differently from other people. More about synesthesia. Maybe more amazing stories and exercises demonstrating his ability to work out math problems or logic puzzles quicker than a person who is not a savant. Instead, most of the book is a slow sl I think I was expecting something different when I picked up this book and even after I had seen part of the movie that was made about Daniel Tammet's life. I was hoping for more detail pertaining to how he sees numbers, people, letters, languages, etc. differently from other people. More about synesthesia. Maybe more amazing stories and exercises demonstrating his ability to work out math problems or logic puzzles quicker than a person who is not a savant. Instead, most of the book is a slow slog through a detail rich account of some rather mundane experiences. I understand that the main point behind the book is that those experiences likely considered trivial by non autistic persons, are anything but ordinary for someone with Aspergers. However, it became dull for me to wade through three pages about how the author reacted to his partner's pet cat(for example). Had I paid more attention and approached the book with a different frame of mind, I may have liked it considerably more than I did. Unfortunately, this look at the day to day experiences of a person with Aspergers just wasn't all that interesting to me. I've read several articles and stories about people with Aspergers because it is a topic that I find fascinating. This just isn't at the top of my list for information or insight into Asperger's.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Lindsay

    Daniel Tammet is an autistic savant whose special talents include lightning-fast calculation (including calendrical calculation --- telling on what day of the week any given date will fall), amazing facility with languages (he currently speaks ten, and has even made up his own language) and a near-perfect memory for facts and figures (he's the current European record-holder for reciting pi to the greatest number of digits). He's also a synesthete, which helps him considerably in performing these Daniel Tammet is an autistic savant whose special talents include lightning-fast calculation (including calendrical calculation --- telling on what day of the week any given date will fall), amazing facility with languages (he currently speaks ten, and has even made up his own language) and a near-perfect memory for facts and figures (he's the current European record-holder for reciting pi to the greatest number of digits). He's also a synesthete, which helps him considerably in performing these mathematical and mnemonic feats by giving each number its own distinctive color, shape and emotion. He describes memorizing pi as a walk through a dreamscape, with the differently colored hills and valleys corresponding to different stretches of digits. (My favorite turn of phrase in the whole book --- which admittedly is fairly artless, but I didn't mind that --- was when he compared memorizing pi to running a marathon in his head. I liked that because, given how he'd just described the experience, it was literally true.) The book starts out with a brief chapter describing how his synesthesia works, and then goes on to chronicle his life. Other reviewers have complained that a lot of these sections feel forced, like Tammet is himself bored by recounting the trivial details of his life, but feels like he has to in order to write this book. I agree to an extent --- it is clear that the book's heart is in the sections describing numbers, languages and his meeting with fellow savant Kim Peek --- but I also understand why he chose to include his life history. He speaks near the end of the book of wanting to work closely with neuroscientists to figure out how his mind works, and to help answer larger questions about synesthesia, savantism, learning, and the extent to which abilities like his may be latent in most people's brains. To me, his laying out every detail of his infancy and childhood looked like a necessary part of that cooperation. (Those sections also held some special interest for me, as another autistic person, because I could compare my development and experiences with his.) I also feel like I have to answer the reviewer below who called Tammet a sociopath. My impression as I was reading his book could not have been further from that! I got the impression that he was loving, kind, deeply humble, and authentically curious about other people and willing to let them into his life. Indeed, of all the (other) autistic people whose autobiographies I've read, Daniel Tammet is one of two I'd most like to meet (the other is Dawn Prince-Hughes), and he seems to me to have the warmest personality.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Rochelle

    Having two little brothers that fall on the Autistic Spectrum really made me empathize with Daniel Tammet and the struggles he faces every day just to function. I like that he never glamorized his eventual worldwide fame as one of the few savants that exist and are open enough to tell their stories to all of us so that we may better understand theirs. Anyone who is familiar with the inflection (or lack thereof) of an Autistic person will instantly feel at ease with Tammet's voice. He tells the s Having two little brothers that fall on the Autistic Spectrum really made me empathize with Daniel Tammet and the struggles he faces every day just to function. I like that he never glamorized his eventual worldwide fame as one of the few savants that exist and are open enough to tell their stories to all of us so that we may better understand theirs. Anyone who is familiar with the inflection (or lack thereof) of an Autistic person will instantly feel at ease with Tammet's voice. He tells the story of his life from birth to present day time in a matter-of-fact tone that simply tells a story and asks nothing from you the reader. He doesn't try to pull at one's heartstrings, but in his subtle way of expressing appreciation to his parents and his partner, Neil, he effortlessly manages to do so. This is a succinct, no-frills novel that is a perfect primer for anyone wanting to dip their toes into what the water's like for the life of a person on the Autism Spectrum.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kendra

    I enjoyed this book much more than I thought I was going to. I hate math and at the beginning when he was talking about numbers and how he sees them, I was wondering if I could get through the whole book. I also thought he spent a lot of time talking about his early life and wasn't for sure that I was going to enjoy the book. I am glad I stuck with it though, because it is such an inspiring story about someone who has overcome such odds. Not to mention that even though he has a type of Autism he I enjoyed this book much more than I thought I was going to. I hate math and at the beginning when he was talking about numbers and how he sees them, I was wondering if I could get through the whole book. I also thought he spent a lot of time talking about his early life and wasn't for sure that I was going to enjoy the book. I am glad I stuck with it though, because it is such an inspiring story about someone who has overcome such odds. Not to mention that even though he has a type of Autism he has managed to write an inspiring book that is very interesting and enjoyable to read. I thought it was admirable that instead of just staying the way he was and writing off his lack of social abilities to his Autism, he genuinely worked very hard at becoming a more social person and developing real relationships with people. I am in no way as extraordinary as Tammet, but I feel that I can relate to many of his feelings of anxiety in different situations. The fact that these anxious feelings are hard for me to overcome, whereas his are probably much worse and that he has persevered and done so much in spite of them is extraordinary to me. It really is an inspiring story that I encourage anyone and everyone to read.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Judy

    The process of learning is fascinating and Tammet is one of the few people who actually tries to describe how he thinks and learns. Several Goodreads reviewers comment on his writing style and overly descriptive passages. But that's good! If this had been edited, we wouldn't have the opportunity to see how his mind works. In one chapter, he describes his experiences with pi, an infinite and important number. In early 2004, he attempted and completed the record-breaking task of memorizing and reci The process of learning is fascinating and Tammet is one of the few people who actually tries to describe how he thinks and learns. Several Goodreads reviewers comment on his writing style and overly descriptive passages. But that's good! If this had been edited, we wouldn't have the opportunity to see how his mind works. In one chapter, he describes his experiences with pi, an infinite and important number. In early 2004, he attempted and completed the record-breaking task of memorizing and reciting 22,514 digits of pi without error in five hours and nine minutes. That's mind shattering. I couldn't do it; few people could. But Tammet has thinking qualities that most of us cannot even imagine. Because he sees numbers as having shapes and colors, he viewed the sequence as a beautiful landscape consisting of patterns, colors, and textures. For just a few minutes, I'd love to perceive pi his way.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Anca

    I have read a lot of medical literature regarding autism and Asperger's syndrome and these are the most revealing pages about it yet. I have read a lot of medical literature regarding autism and Asperger's syndrome and these are the most revealing pages about it yet.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Chrissie

    Interesting - actually more questions have arisen in my mind about autism than when I started the book. Three stars - which means I liked it. Well I quess I liked it, sort of. What it did give me is a real feeling for how the author sees life. He has both Asperger's syndrome and synaesthesia. Look them up in Wikipedia if you don't know the terms. There they are explained better than any explanation I could give! What makes this person unique is his ability to explain to us how his brain is worki Interesting - actually more questions have arisen in my mind about autism than when I started the book. Three stars - which means I liked it. Well I quess I liked it, sort of. What it did give me is a real feeling for how the author sees life. He has both Asperger's syndrome and synaesthesia. Look them up in Wikipedia if you don't know the terms. There they are explained better than any explanation I could give! What makes this person unique is his ability to explain to us how his brain is working. Most individuals with these syndromes cannot do this. Individuals with Asperger's sybdrome cannot function well socially. One feels this in the way the book is written - there is always a distance between the reader and the writer. There is something missing in the emotional connection between the book and the reader. I didn't like this, but one cannot blame the author for this since he is autistic. What the author did to remarkably well is get me to understand how he thinks! I can immediately relate to some of the ways he reacts to specific situations. I can understand how talking to himself when he is stressed gives him strength and security. I also understand how the constancy of numbers gives him security. They are so fixed and stable. On the other hand sometimes I am left totally out in the cold with no understanding and questions surround me. I don't understand how he can have difficulty with abstract concepts and yet feel religious. I can understand his proficiency with numbers because it is tied to his concrete, exact, logical way of looking at the world, but how can he be so good at learning languages which are not logically structured? Perhaps because he is able to see patterns which I do not see. Or maybe he suceeds because he uses visual images to aid him. I know I am not being clear here, but as I read the book so many questions arose that made me uncomfortable. OK, here is another one - how did he manage to go off to Lithuania by himself? It just doesn't fit with his other capabilities. But he did do it, and it is marvelous that he could. Still, I am left with question after question after question. This was upsetting.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Valerie

    How interesting, this book works in a number of ways, and fails in a few others. It's nearly as interesting for its failings as for its successes. It is, as promised, a glimpse into an "extraordinary mind," but it's not just all the things the author says about his experiences (the time he recited the digits of pi for a record setting length, the time he first overcame significant fear to fly on a plane, when he become public speaker counseling others on the minds of savants) there's also the wa How interesting, this book works in a number of ways, and fails in a few others. It's nearly as interesting for its failings as for its successes. It is, as promised, a glimpse into an "extraordinary mind," but it's not just all the things the author says about his experiences (the time he recited the digits of pi for a record setting length, the time he first overcame significant fear to fly on a plane, when he become public speaker counseling others on the minds of savants) there's also the way in which you feel you are reading the equivalent of a "paint by numbers" memoir. The autism of the author makes it difficult for him to truly empathize with emotional experiences that you or I would take for granted and that are also important to writing compellingly. He obviously had a staff of folks - his editors, his devoted lover (so interesting to read about the love affairs of an autistic man btw), and others to help coach this memoir out of him, he even makes note of places where these guides have helped him to understand how to reach out to his audience, but that's just it...and that's also the most fascinating and compelling part of the book, watching this man's mind wrap itself around the task of writing a memoir, a task that he himself admits is nearly alien to him, offers an astounding portrait of how life is experienced through the lens of autism. Like Beethoven, deafly but deftly composing the most beautiful music, the efforts of the author to write a memoir boogle the mind.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Martti

    An interesting read from an autistic person who doesn't register emotions and have social anxiety like the rest of us. A rare glimpse into a mind functioning very differently than your mind. I found it interesting how he described the inner workings of his visual mind, learned the 22 514 numbers of pi and how he has worked hard to overcome his drawbacks. An incredible journey no doubt. Surely Daniel is an extraordinary person and good with numbers like an accountant, but unfortunately the writin An interesting read from an autistic person who doesn't register emotions and have social anxiety like the rest of us. A rare glimpse into a mind functioning very differently than your mind. I found it interesting how he described the inner workings of his visual mind, learned the 22 514 numbers of pi and how he has worked hard to overcome his drawbacks. An incredible journey no doubt. Surely Daniel is an extraordinary person and good with numbers like an accountant, but unfortunately the writing should not be a dry accounting of the passing days. Still a good recommendation from a good friend, thanks very much! I always cherish the opportunity to broaden my horizon and this book is a great introduction to the incredible savants living among us. This book is also a great introduction into neuroscience, I imagine? All things considered it deserves 3 stars - I liked it.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Aurélien Thomas

    Here's a fascinating insight into a baffling mind! To be autistic is rare enough. To have synaesthesia is rare too. To have savant syndrome is even rarer. Well, Daniel Tammet combines all three! More, unlike most individuals with savant syndrome -who usually are so challenged in other cognitive areas that they are dependent for their care- he is perfectly independent; and so fully able to tell about his experience. 'Born on a Blue Day' truly is an extraordinary book. Starting by reminiscing upon Here's a fascinating insight into a baffling mind! To be autistic is rare enough. To have synaesthesia is rare too. To have savant syndrome is even rarer. Well, Daniel Tammet combines all three! More, unlike most individuals with savant syndrome -who usually are so challenged in other cognitive areas that they are dependent for their care- he is perfectly independent; and so fully able to tell about his experience. 'Born on a Blue Day' truly is an extraordinary book. Starting by reminiscing upon his childhood, it's touching and moving to see him growing up surrounded by people who have absolutely no clue. Asperger wasn't recognised as a unique disorder before 1994, and so here we are, watching upon this little boy making his way through a childhood unlike any others. As with every autobiography, this is a unique personal history for sure. Yet, it echoes with the experiences of many; and when it comes to people like me (so-called 'neurotypicals') he blows away some prejudices still well ingrained among the general population. Autistic people are not loners by choice, they crave friendships and relationships as everyone does; it's their perceived weirdness which doesn't help, and so they often end up lonely by default. Autistic people are not 'retard', they hate being patronised as much as everyone else. Autistic people are also perfectly able to contribute greatly to society (he went on volunteering in Lithuania in his early twenties; and he works - unlike many others on the spectrum, sadly still left behind on the job market...). He was lucky though, in that his family was very loving, nurturing, supportive. As he acknowledges himself, his (numerous!) siblings have done wonders for improving his social skills; like, later on, his long term boyfriend will do wonders to help him connecting with his emotions. No matter how moving and interesting, though, his family and love story is not what glued me to this read. His mind did. Following epileptic seizures in childhood (nasty ones, we're talking here about status epilepticus...) his brain was completely reprogramed (for default of a better word) into acquiring amazing skills. Not only does he have synaesthesia, but, he developed a gift for numbers and languages. A visual mind is not unusual for autistic people. The thing with him is that he sees numbers in shapes, colours, textures, and motions! Same with words: he pictures them each with an associated colour. Beyond that, his ability to thus visualise words and numbers as he does allows him to arrange and re-arrange them mentally, merging them altogether, in such a way that he can perform unimaginable calculations. Added to an extraordinary memory for everything related to numeracy (eg dates...) here's a fascinating mind to delve into! Fluent in ten languages, he learnt Icelandic in about a week! He also holds the record for reciting the mathematical constant pi from memory to 22,514 decimal places (a feat that took him more than five hours to perform!). Not every autistic individual is the same, and, savant syndrome is extremely rare. His autobiography is therefore unique for many reasons. However, despite his 'differentness' (as he calls it) Daniel Tammet's memoir is both touching and compelling. Touching, because being yet another voice from Asperger's his experience has to be discovered for anyone curious about how possible it is to differently perceive the world around. Compelling, because such insight into synaesthesia and savant syndrome make for a engrossing read for whoever is intrigued by how weird the human brain can be. In the end, you cannot but feel admirative in front of a such a person. Remarkable!

  21. 5 out of 5

    L

    Imagine getting a glimpse inside the mind of someone living with autism. Tammet takes us into his world in this beautiful and fascinating memoir (for lack of a better descriptor) written in his mid-twenties. Tammet's world is one of numbers, counting, language, and other fascinations. It is also a sometimes lonely place. Finding love changed that. When something catches Tammet's attention, it seems that everything else ceases to exist. Tammet tells a story of seeing a lady bug on a bush when he i Imagine getting a glimpse inside the mind of someone living with autism. Tammet takes us into his world in this beautiful and fascinating memoir (for lack of a better descriptor) written in his mid-twenties. Tammet's world is one of numbers, counting, language, and other fascinations. It is also a sometimes lonely place. Finding love changed that. When something catches Tammet's attention, it seems that everything else ceases to exist. Tammet tells a story of seeing a lady bug on a bush when he is walking home from the bus. He became so engrossed that he finally just sat himself down on the sidewalk to watch her; people walked around him. Eventually he put out his finger for her to climb onto, then ran home to begin his lady bug collection, a collection later tossed by a teacher who asked him to bring it to class, but then feared the hundreds of bugs would escape into the classroom. Even so, this was not as bad as the chestnut collection that grew so large his parents feared it would come through the floor of his second-story bedroom. There is also the description of precisely the way in which brushing his teeth was physically painful, something he could not explain to his parents (who thought brushing a good idea), and how he dealt with this and figured out a way to brush his teeth that he can tolerate. Tammet's family (of eleven!) is featured prominently in this book. In fact, the book is partly a testament to the devotion of his parents, even though they really didn't understand his ailment, and the value of having siblings who understood enough that things at home could "work." It is also, I think unintentionally, a testament to a social service system (UK) that made it possible for this family to survive, even thrive, with nine children--at one point, five children under the age of four--two of them with autism and, and a father who suffered a series of mental breakdowns. Naturally there are weaknesses, or perhaps places lacking clarity. Tammet's move from being mostly unable to communicate effectively verbally, having no grasp of emotions, not getting things such as why it isn't cool to just touch people when you want, and the like to signing up to be an international volunteer is one such gap. Yes, he is a savant and has some truly incredible abilities, especially in math and languages. Still, this leap is fairly astounding. His success in Iceland--professional and social--is hard to fathom. The language ability is also hard to understand, in some ways. Yes, languages involve lots of words, something he would be good at, and rules for use, again, something that fits with the math ability. But the ability to truly understand shared meaning, this I would like to see discussed. Similarly, when he finds love, as a reader you are delighted for him. Still, how was that really possible? How much emotion does he really feel? How does the autism impinge on the relationship, beyond the practical things such as his inability to drive and his occasional outbursts when he is overwhelmed? I suppose what we are missing are: (1) some sorting out of where Tammet falls on the autism spectrum, how extraordinary he is beyond the 1 in 100 "prodigious savants", more of a qualitative brushstroke of this autism spectrum to which he refers quite often; and (2) a much better view of how Tammet is seen by others, both his intimate circle and strangers. For this latter to be missing in a book written by someone with autism is, I suppose, inevitable. Despite these mild frustrations, it is clear that Tammet is an amazing young man. He has written a book that is mature and sensitive way beyond his years. He has also given readers the tremendous gift of a view into his life and mind.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl Gatling

    When I read "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time," I recommended the book to a friend, saying, "It lets you know what it is like in the mind of an autistic kid." My friend, who enjoys playing devil's advocate, asked, "How does the author know? Is he autistic?" Well, no. But in this case, the answer is yes. Daniel Tammet can't tolerate crowds of people, noises, itchy clothes, or any change to his routine. When he gets upset he sticks his fingers in his ears, counts things, or walks When I read "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time," I recommended the book to a friend, saying, "It lets you know what it is like in the mind of an autistic kid." My friend, who enjoys playing devil's advocate, asked, "How does the author know? Is he autistic?" Well, no. But in this case, the answer is yes. Daniel Tammet can't tolerate crowds of people, noises, itchy clothes, or any change to his routine. When he gets upset he sticks his fingers in his ears, counts things, or walks in a circle. But he also has remarkable abilities with numbers and languages. He can calculate and memorize large numbers, partly due to synesthesia. He experiences numbers as shapes and colors. Combinations of numbers appear like landscapes to him, and he finds them beautiful and comforting. He can learn a new language in a week. There is always a struggle between the savant side and the autistic side. He discovers he is gifted at chess, but gives it up because the noise and movement of the other player distresses him. My favorite parts of this book are those where he describes how his mind works. Others have complained that Tammet narrates the events of his life in a flat style. Well, duh. That's part of the syndrome. But they are remarkable events just the same. After high school he spent a year teaching English in Lithuania. For a kid who couldn't take a bus in his home town without getting lost, to travel abroad by himself showed great courage and helped to bring him out of his isolation. He broke the world record for memorizing pi. He then became the subject of a documentary, "Brainman" (a take off on the title of the movie "Rain Man"), which brought him minor celebrity, and an appearance on David Letterman. The most remarkable events are the changes that happened inside Daniel. In his childhood he was mostly oblivious to the people around him. His schoolmates were like obstacles to navigate around. He just did his own thing. At some point he decided he wanted to be close to other people, and somehow he learned how. He learned to force himself to look people in the eyes when speaking, and not at the floor. He learned to concentrate on what the other person was saying. At the end of the book, Tammet describes the lives of his parents and brothers and sisters, because they have become important to him. He has learned to enjoy their company. I realize I have used the word "remarkable" three times in this review, so let that be my summary of Daniel Tammet's life, and his book: remarkable.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Lydia LaPutka

    I learned about this book from the author of Look Me in the Eye which was also written by an individual with Asperger's. Having had a few students on the autism spectrum, I feel like anything I can read that will help me understand these children is worth my time. I have a student this year who has had one big meltdown and one that could have escalated but I quickly intervened and was able to calm him. His parents are having him tested for Asperger's. It fascinates me how brains of young childre I learned about this book from the author of Look Me in the Eye which was also written by an individual with Asperger's. Having had a few students on the autism spectrum, I feel like anything I can read that will help me understand these children is worth my time. I have a student this year who has had one big meltdown and one that could have escalated but I quickly intervened and was able to calm him. His parents are having him tested for Asperger's. It fascinates me how brains of young children operate, but autistic children bring another incredible facet to the table. As a savant, Daniel Tammet's abilities are extraordinary. But even more extraordinary is what he has done to overcome so many of the social issues that are part of autism. Once I learned in the book that he had been on David Letterman, I immediately watched it on youtube. It was awesome being able to read his account of how he felt during the interview and to watch the clip and know what he was feeling. I highly recommend going online and watching some of Daniel's clips. Clearly he has come a long way when you see him presenting at large conferences! The content of the book was very good. The parts I struggled with were when Tammet went too deep into detail about his thought process. It is way beyond my capacity to understand some of the mathematical processes he goes through to solve problems. Interesting to read a little about it but boring when it went on and on. So . . . the parts about the prime numbers, how to solve logic problems, black jack in Vegas,etc. were just too much. I also felt short-shifted by the afterthought at the end about Christianity. That should have been either a full chapter or maybe another book. Watching the clip of Tammet reciting pi was indeed something beautiful to behold. Go online and check it out! The human mind is incredible! What a gift we have!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Ivonne Rovira

    Daniel Tammet doesn't exhibit the greatest literary style in his Born on a Blue Day. It reads as a series of anecdotes strung together; however, that doesn't matter. His book is one of the finest insights into what it feels like to be a high-functioning autistic. Tammet additionally has synesthesia, which means he "sees" numbers and letters in colors and shapes. Not all autistics have that: My two daughters do not. Nor are all those with synesthesia autistic. But Tammet credits the synesthesia wi Daniel Tammet doesn't exhibit the greatest literary style in his Born on a Blue Day. It reads as a series of anecdotes strung together; however, that doesn't matter. His book is one of the finest insights into what it feels like to be a high-functioning autistic. Tammet additionally has synesthesia, which means he "sees" numbers and letters in colors and shapes. Not all autistics have that: My two daughters do not. Nor are all those with synesthesia autistic. But Tammet credits the synesthesia with enabling his ability to do remarkable arithmetic calculations. (Tammet is one of 50 savants in the world.) The book is a must-read for any parent of an autistic child. I took such solace from it. My eldest daughter (a high-functioning autistic) goes off to Earlham College in August, and I am more nervous than most parents. But reading Tammet's book truly gave me hope. While There's a Boy in Here: Emerging from the Bonds of Autism, Emergence: Labeled Autistic, and Nobody Nowhere: the Extraordinary Autobiography of an Autistic are all excellent first-hand accounts of being autistic, Born on a Blue Day is, by far, the best of the lot.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    Born on a Blue Day is one of the only books I've read this year that actually taught me something. It provides a rare glimpse into the mind of a person who is both autistic and a savant. The MOST surprising thing, however, is how Daniel was able to overcome autism, write this book, and lead an independent and "normal" life. The memoir follows Daniel's progress from birth to adulthood and the author is very matter-of-fact and analytical when helping people without autism understand his past emot Born on a Blue Day is one of the only books I've read this year that actually taught me something. It provides a rare glimpse into the mind of a person who is both autistic and a savant. The MOST surprising thing, however, is how Daniel was able to overcome autism, write this book, and lead an independent and "normal" life. The memoir follows Daniel's progress from birth to adulthood and the author is very matter-of-fact and analytical when helping people without autism understand his past emotions and behavior. The book has lead me to believe that autism exaggerates of certain brain functions (like sensory perception) and can cause some deficiency in social abilities. Daniel's autism and savant capabilities cause him to "see" numbers as colors and textures and uses them to relate emotionally to people. Ironically, it was easier for me to relate to this character than many other "normal" characters I read about. For example, I am similar to Daniel in that I am very observant and could spend a long time just soaking in sensory details that many other people would overlook. Also, certain shapes and images correspond to each other in my head (for example, the number 5 connects to the letter h and I often replace one with the other while typing. The fact that Daniel was about to overcome his autism and look back on it so analytically is inspiring and mysterious, but also makes this book worth reading.

  26. 5 out of 5

    David

    I've seen publicity of this book and have wanted to read it. I found a copy at the Orem library and checked it out, just in time to read the whole thing during a flight from SLC to New Orleans. It's a very interesting personal account of a man living in England who has both Savant Syndrome and Asperger's. He has a stunningly brilliant mind for numbers - he visualizes them as shapes and colors - and can perform incredibly complex mathematical tasks in his mind in seconds by merging the shapes. He I've seen publicity of this book and have wanted to read it. I found a copy at the Orem library and checked it out, just in time to read the whole thing during a flight from SLC to New Orleans. It's a very interesting personal account of a man living in England who has both Savant Syndrome and Asperger's. He has a stunningly brilliant mind for numbers - he visualizes them as shapes and colors - and can perform incredibly complex mathematical tasks in his mind in seconds by merging the shapes. He once memorized over 20,000 digits of "pi" and recited them in public; you almost want to cheer as he describes that accomplishment in detail. He learned to speak Icelandic fluently in a week (adding to a string of other languages he is comfortable in). Yet in other areas, he is compulsive, inept, afraid, or incredibly awkward. I quite enjoyed reading this book, and learning of this remarkable personality. But I found myself wondering how much was actually written by the author. It seemed too well written for someone with the symptoms he describes. But the publicity doesn't indicate any co-author or ghost writer. Unfortunately, Tammet is also a homosexual and describes discovering his inclinations in that area, a few relationships, and then meeting his partner. Fortunately, we are spared any graphic details.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    Daniel Tammet's book "Born On A Blue Day" holds a very special spot in my heart. As I read this book I think of the little boy I get the privilege of calling my son. Daniel writes extremely similar to the way my son speaks. His experiences make me feel like I am being allowed into a world I normally am not allowed to see. A world hidden and secret. I love the book, and I was extremely happy to see how Daniel grew as a person as the book went on. I perviously was told the book was a hard read bec Daniel Tammet's book "Born On A Blue Day" holds a very special spot in my heart. As I read this book I think of the little boy I get the privilege of calling my son. Daniel writes extremely similar to the way my son speaks. His experiences make me feel like I am being allowed into a world I normally am not allowed to see. A world hidden and secret. I love the book, and I was extremely happy to see how Daniel grew as a person as the book went on. I perviously was told the book was a hard read because it was written in a particular way that isn't quite appealing to fiction readers. I believe my personal experience with autism is the reason why I enjoyed this book. I am extremely pleased to hear of people who are not only successful autistics but also support the community and raise awareness. The book overall I think is amazing. I fell in love with it and I'm glad I was able to read it.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Mom

    I liked this book a lot, it is so well written, it is a compliment to the author. What a gifted person, his ability to write and the accomplishments he has made in his life are amazing. His interest and ability with languages encourages one to want to learn other languages and his explanations of language and how it can be learned lead you to believe that you can. This book causes you to examine yourself and ponder the possibility of where you might fall on "the spectrum"! Someone once told me t I liked this book a lot, it is so well written, it is a compliment to the author. What a gifted person, his ability to write and the accomplishments he has made in his life are amazing. His interest and ability with languages encourages one to want to learn other languages and his explanations of language and how it can be learned lead you to believe that you can. This book causes you to examine yourself and ponder the possibility of where you might fall on "the spectrum"! Someone once told me that it is suspected that everyone falls somewhere on "the spectrum" and I have come to believe this the more I read about this affliction. I think "the spectrum" is very extensive and ranges from what we consider is "normal" down to the lowest possible function on the scale.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kat

    Surprisingly unremarkable and uninspiring. Perhaps the fact that Daniel Tammet is an autistic savant (Asperger syndrome) should have prepared me for this monotonous description of his life, which lacks anything a "normal" person would appreciate: sparkling anecdotes, humor, good writing and most importantly - and my reason for picking up Born on a Blue Day in the first place - ; a peek into his interesting brain. I expected so much more from "the most remarkable and extraordinary mind on the pla Surprisingly unremarkable and uninspiring. Perhaps the fact that Daniel Tammet is an autistic savant (Asperger syndrome) should have prepared me for this monotonous description of his life, which lacks anything a "normal" person would appreciate: sparkling anecdotes, humor, good writing and most importantly - and my reason for picking up Born on a Blue Day in the first place - ; a peek into his interesting brain. I expected so much more from "the most remarkable and extraordinary mind on the planet". :-(

  30. 5 out of 5

    Robyn

    This moved to the top of my reading list in a hurry after we read The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time with one of my book clubs. I had received this book in the Christmas book exchange from Jocelyn (in my other book club). I was really off-put by the fact that the author of Curious Incident allegedly did no research and had no experience with autism/Asperger's, wrote a protagonist who is stereotypically an autistic savant, and then if people are offended by the portrayal he says "h This moved to the top of my reading list in a hurry after we read The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time with one of my book clubs. I had received this book in the Christmas book exchange from Jocelyn (in my other book club). I was really off-put by the fact that the author of Curious Incident allegedly did no research and had no experience with autism/Asperger's, wrote a protagonist who is stereotypically an autistic savant, and then if people are offended by the portrayal he says "hey, I never said he was autistic. That's YOU GUYS being prejudiced". To me this is potentially harmful because it could cause people who read it to think that Christopher is representative of all autistic people when he is in fact a stereotype (created by someone who did zero research) - he has no real personality and is defined more by his abilities. So, after reading that book I wanted to learn more about autism, because I don't have a lot of experience interacting with people on the spectrum, and I wanted to read something more humanizing. This book was really fascinating and exactly what I was hoping to read. It definitely challenged the stereotypes of what we might think autistic savants are like. It was really incredible to get a glimpse into the mind of a real person who thinks and feels and processes in such a unique way. While Daniel is so different from most people, he is also relatable in many ways. I loved learning his story and I may pick up some of his other books at some point. I especially enjoyed how he wrote about his love of language and how he processes different languages and learns them so quickly. The human brain is truly awesome, in the literal sense of the word. I wouldn't say this is a perfect book but the writing is engaging and easy to follow, even when he's describing complex or abstract concepts. It's absolutely a story that will stick with me - I'd recommend it to anyone! Looking forward to reading other memoirs by people whose brains work a bit differently from the rest of us. Thanks again for this book, Jocelyn!

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