“In a Different Key: The Story of Autism” by John Donvan and Caren Zucker



I’ll be honest, this book took me weeks to finish. I’m a speed-reader. It took me weeks. But, seriously, this is not a bad thing in any way.

“In a Different Key” reads similar to books you can find in anthropology courses-meticulous in the retelling of history in a very personable way. It opens with the first boy diagnosed here in America and goes down the timeline (and across the ocean a few times) of all the superstars in the field (as well as at least one villain).

A truth becomes very obvious early on, that the parents who love their children were the driving force behind the social changes we have. And that is amazing.

This book keeps chugging along, documenting the break-throughs and pitfalls of Autism research and social change, right up to present day. It closes there, with the most meaningful message I have ever seen in any ASD book: that there are no “odd men out”. Autism, as of right now, is considered a spectrum. And those on either end are going to have radically different experiences, but it is up to us as a society to embrace and support whatever that reality is for them.

I was happy with this book. I myself am the parent of wonderful children with autism. Never once was the wording offensive, or dehumanizing. That was really important to me. I won’t finish a book that I feel like would upset them if they came across it. And there are plenty of those.

This does read a bit like a textbook, but it’s a glowingly warm one, sectioned off with very fascinating stories in every single chapter. And so worth the read if you are in any way interested or impacted by any form of autism.  Get it, along with some Temple Grandin books.

*I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.




2 thoughts on ““In a Different Key: The Story of Autism” by John Donvan and Caren Zucker

  1. I’m glad that someone has finally written a good account about autism. I used to be a special ed teacher and worked with many autistic people, many of which I enjoyed spending time with. I hate it when people call it a disease or make some other dehumanizing comment. I’ve always thought that they just think different than the rest of us, and that is not necessarily a bad thing. Thanks for the review.

    Liked by 1 person

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