Monday, July 07, 2008


In this memoir of returning to New York to build a life for his young family (recently transplanted from Paris and its sensibilities), Gopnik writes convincingly of the thrill of being there. In spite of the ongoing game of the apartment hunt, Gopnik embraces everything that is steretypically associated with the Big Apple--its foibles and its joys in equal parts.

I have always coveted the idea of moving to New York, fantasizing a 3-bedroom walk-up on Riverside Drive, and with Gopnik's memoir it feels like it could be almost in reach.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

LOOK ME IN THE EYE by John Elder Robison (2008)

Writer Augusten Burroughs received the most requests on his website for a piece written by his older brother John, one of the returning characters in Burroughs' memoirs RUNNING WITH SCISSORS, DRY, MAGICAL THINKING and most recently WOLF AT THE TABLE, first launched in the essay "Ass Burger."

Robison has Asperger's Syndrome, a mild form of Autism, and was only diagnosed as an adult--the great eureka moment of his life where the window to the past enabled him to see why he had felt so marginalized.

LOOK ME IN THE EYE is compelling and unflinching in its honesty. It's also entertaining, because Robison, as a teen-aged dropout genius found himself tinkering with electronics and modifying sound equipment, a talent and drive that led him to fixing amps for rock bands like Pink Floyd and April Wine.

His biggest rock n' roll gig, however, was touring with KISS, because he designed and crafted special effects for Ace Freheley's Fender guitars for their over-the-top performances. When he tired of the touring circuit, Robison worked for Milton Bradley designing games, including the immensely popular "Simon."

His son, whom he calls "Cubby" since his mother is "Little Bear," also has Asperger's though a milder form. His predisposition for nicknaming people he is close to (he called his little brother "Varmint" for many years, never his given name Chris) is also typical for Aspergians, a notion that amuses him.

Robison keeps his day job as the manager of his own company that refurbishes high end automobiles like Jaguars, Rolls Royce and Land Rovers and continues to write.