304 pages; published November 2012 (although it should be noted that this is an update of a 2009 publication, Episodes: My Life as I See It.)
This unusual memoir offers a glimpse inside the mind of an autistic teen as he progresses through high school obsessed with recycling trucks, buses, going to basketball games, and getting a girlfriend. He has organized his memories in a format similar to IMDB (the Internet Movie Database), summarizing the key events of each “episode,” and including sections for “notes,” “quotes,” “goofs,” and “soundtrack.”
The truth is, I didn’t like reading this book. I felt frustrated and impatient because I didn’t really care about many of the topics the author cares very passionately about and talks about over and over and over and over. However, I would still call it a “good” book because it got into my head and left me feeling like I had better understanding of how Ginsberg’s autistic mind works differently than mine.
He writes with a bleak honesty and occasional humor that is compelling. His stories were interesting. Ginsberg attended a special needs high school. He wants very much to make friends and he wants a girlfriend badly, but many of his relationships clearly stress him out. Buses are also stressful, because if they have the wrong kind of number or are the wrong kind of bus, he doesn’t like to ride on them. Recycling trucks are soothing and enjoyable, unless they don’t show up on schedule or the wrong truck comes. Then, they are stressful too.
Ginsberg’s family is another major theme in his writing. He has a large, loving extended family. His mother, grandparents, aunts, and uncles all appear frequently in episodes. A special series is devoted to Ginsberg’s favorite holiday, Thanksgiving, which is a huge family celebration.
The overall effect is undeniably interesting.
Quote that, in All Honesty, I Relate to More than Any Other in the Book
Maya (aunt): Try not to act so crazy.