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Jason Blake Is An Autistic Year Old Living In A Neurotypical World Most Days It S Just A Matter Of Time Before Something Goes Wrong But Jason Finds A Glimmer Of Understanding When He Comes Across PhoenixBird, Who Posts Stories To The Same Online Site As He DoesJason Can Be Himself When He Writes And He Thinks That PhoenixBird Her Name Is Rebecca Could Be His First Real Friend But As Desperate As Jason Is To Meet Her, He S Terrified That If They Do Meet, Rebecca Will Only See His Autism And Not Who Jason Really IsBy Acclaimed Writer Nora Raleigh Baskin, This Is The Breathtaking Depiction Of An Autistic Boy S Struggles And A Story For Anyone Who Has Ever Worried About Fitting In


10 thoughts on “Anything But Typical

  1. says:

    Jason Blake is autistic and finds the neuro typical world around him, but especially school, over stimulating, often incomprehensible Most days it is just a matter of time before something goes wrong, before he either does something or says something others find weird or inappropriate, or before one of his classmates and sometimes even his teachers make fun of him or react negatively to him Jason s one solace and escape is the Storyboard website, where he can be himself, where he can write his stories and be creative When Jason actually makes an online friend on the website Phoenixbird, whose real name is Rebecca , he dares to dream that she might be his first girlfriend But when Rebecca is going to be at the same Storyboard convention as Jason, Jason worries that once she actually meets him, she will, like most others, only see him as someone who is anything but typical.I really, really love this novel Jason s story, Jason s insights into his world and the neuro typical world around him touch me deeply and lastingly That is not to say that there is not quite a bit of darkness and even potential despair present within the book Anything But Typical is often rather sad and depressing However, I love Jason s voice, and being inside of his head, partaking of his thoughts, his views, his feelings is not only eye opening, it is somewhat like being inside my own head both now and when I was at school, when I was the same age as Jason I might as well admit to the fact that I simply hated the social game at school, especially high school Like Jason, I was always and often with good reason expecting something to go wrong and was it ever difficult to maneuver the social cliques etc of high school, of interpersonal communication I always thought that I was just a bit weird and I certainly had that label thrown at me than a few times , and I most definitely had and still somewhat have the unenviable ability of planting my foot firmly and deeply into my mouth A few years ago, in my early forties, I was finally assessed as having NLD Nonverbal Learning Disability , and some of the issues and situations experienced by Jason not all of them, but definitely some of them do echo, do ring a very loud bell with me I do not believe that I am, in fact, autistic, but many of the social challenges for individuals with NLD also seem to be issues with autism and Jason s mother calls her son s autism NLD, so there likely is a bit of a link I so understand and can appreciate Jason s constant worry about doing something wrong his fear of the proverbial shite hitting the fan Basically, you are always waiting to crash and burn, and the you try to adapt to something you feel you cannot handle, to a world, a society that even at the best of times feels quite alien to you , the you try to be typical, the stress is created and the you have the tendency to say something improper, to react in an inappropriate manner at least according to the dictates of society, a society based and constructed on being neuro typical, with accepted and expected modes of behaviour, training and thinking.Before writing my own review, I decided to read a number of Goodreads reviews of Anything but Typical, both positive and negative And I find it than a bit problematic that some reviewers actually fault author Nora Raleigh Baskin for depicting and describing the bullying behaviour Jason experiences at school Yes, people neuro typical individuals should definitely not bully and harass children with autism, NLD, Asperger s Syndrome and related conditions, but it does happen and often If the author had downplayed this, if she had made no mention of this, Anything But Typical would I believe not only have been unrealistic, it would also have trivialised the problems and issues many children and adults with challenges and special needs must often endure and face on a daily basis.Other reviewers had and have issues with the fact that many of the characters described by Jason feel rather distant and cardboard like For me, however, this is an ingenious narrative device, as this is precisely how the neuro typical world often feels to an autistic person, distant and incomprehensible The neuro typical world does not understand Jason Blake, but conversely, he also does not understand it all that well either The alienation Jason experiences and portrays in his musings might make some readers uncomfortable, but it serves the purpose of hopefully making them think, of making them appreciate how an autistic person or someone with a related syndrome might perceive the world And for readers who have autism, Asperger s Syndrome, NLD etc., Anything but Typical provides Or at least can provide the supportive assurance that they are not alone feeling alienated, at not understanding neuro typical society And finally, sadly, some reviewers actually complained that they grew tired and frustrated at being in Jason s head However, have these individuals ever stopped to consider that Jason and others like him might also get tired of having to exist and function in a world that is both alien and frightening, that people with autism and related conditions might also get tired and frustrated at constantly having to be in the head space of the neuro typicals it really does go both ways.I really do appreciate that Jason s meeting with Rebecca at the conference is not simply happily ever after, that it is realistic without being unduly depressing Rebecca is not interested in being Jason s girlfriend, but she does want to keep in touch on the Storyboard website Yes, part of me my 12 year old self, who struggled with similar issues at that time did want Jason and Rebecca to end up as a couple, but I respect and admire Nora Raleigh Baskin for the fact that she does not resort to a facile and feel good ending for her story, that she has chosen to not cater to the expectations and desires for a simple, sugary happy ending type of tale Anything But Typica ends realistically, neither sad and depressing nor entirely happy Jason still has his writing, and he accepts himself the way he is this is me, that is the last sentence of the novel, a statement both bold and upliftingly life affirming.


  2. says:

    Wow.I have read The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night time I have read Rules, Emma Jean Lazarus Fell Out of a Tree, and I am halfway through Marcelo in the Real World Books about characters who have autism have always intrigued me, and I loved every single one of the books I just mentioned But nothing compares to Anything But Typical.This is the story of a 12 year old boy named Jason who was diagnosed with autism at the age of 8, after a long period of denial by his mother He has few friends, but through a fanfiction website, he makes a connection with another 12 year old, a girl whose user name is PhoenixBird, and who enjoys his stories As his relationship with PhoenixBird progresses, other things happen in his life violent outbursts he can t explain, confusion over what his mother wants from him and why she is sad, and incidents with the other kids at school, who are frequently not understanding of Jason s condition.The entire story is told in the first person from Jason s point of view, and you become immediately immersed in his earnest, honest, and unique voice His relationship with his 7 year old brother, Jeremy, is one of the most touching sibling relationships I ve ever read in a children s book, and his parents, understanding Dad, and overwhelmed and bewildered Mom, are extremely realistic and believable They re not always fully accepting of their son s limitations or needs, and they struggle to understand what it is like to be him, but they also love him a great deal, and it s clear that they want to do the right thing for Jason if they can discern what that is.I cried at least four times throughout this book The language, despite being very detached and different from the language of a traditional novel for kids, is really quite beautiful, and some of Jason s realizations about his own life read like universal truths I had When You Reach Me pegged as the Newbery for next year when I finished it earlier today, but now I am inclined to think it s got some serious competition.This book is great It s one of those stories where you just feel yourself settling in with it, pleased to feel not one word or detail out of place I loved the realism and the specificity of it Other books have taken on the point of view of an autistic person to tell the story of being autistic This book takes on the point of view of a very specific boy and tells his story This isn t a book about being autistic, this is a book about being yourself, whoever that is, and also about growing up and truly being that person, even when those around you sometimes don t understand why you re doing so Absolutely brilliant I am in love with this book.


  3. says:

    My confession is that as a father of two boys on the spectrum that I seem to be particularly hard on books about kids with autism I think this seems on the surface ungenerous and working against the kind of solidarity one hopes for in the autism community But here we go I listened to this book and disliked the reader, so that s not Baskin s fault I thought overall that it was fine.A book about an atypical neurological condition called Anything But Typical meaning that the main boy character, Jason, is anything but neuro typical This signals that the book is no so much a novel about a young man as it is about a kid with ASD, it is about a topic Autism The good part of that is that the young, intended middle grade audience will be educated about how the kids that are on the spectrum think and feel Jason is a remarkably talented writer who shares his work online, and because of some of his atypicality, is bullied, and has no friends He thinks one girl, Rebecca, who also writes online, might be a possible friend, even girlfriend.Baskin has Jason admit early on that he is going to tell his story in the NT way, since others might not understand the way he would depict how he REALLY thinks and feels That s an interesting way of dealing with a real narrative problem, and not entirely satisfying for me, but I understand why she does this, given the audience.I like the depiction of the parents, the Dad as calm and supportive, and the Mom as anxious and disappointed that her son is not what she really had hoped for in a child I also like that the story does not give the sense of happily ever after I like it that he is sometimes out of control and even violent in school when things do not go his way I hate romanticized portraits of kids with autism, and this has hopeful things how success in writing and less than hopeful things his rigidity, his lack of friends Otherwise, I thought this was just solid, and hopefully useful for kids and parents who want to get some sense of how ASD kids think and feel.


  4. says:

    I think this is a pretty good portrayal of how a high functioning autistic boy would think and act I have Asperger s Syndrome, so they say, and although I do better than Jason I can recognize a lot of my problems in him The conflict with the story convention is well done and I thought the ending was perfect hopeful, and realistic Very good story overall, and it just might make neurotypical readers a little sympathetic and understanding towards people with autism.


  5. says:

    Wouldn t it be nice if life were this easy I m all for books that raise awareness of autism, but not only does this book portray autistic people as being asocial computer geeks, it also paints the world through rose coloured glasses, and unfortunately that s hardly the reality of the situation.


  6. says:

    I know this story is mostly about Jason, about how he deals with his autism, but to me the real strength of this story lies in the minor characters.Jason s dad nearly made me cry than once, because he knows his son has his own way to communicate and just because his way is different doesn t mean it s bad different He s always supporting his son, making sure that everybody understands that Jason isn t stupid.Jeremy, Jason s little brother, was absolutely adorable, I just wanted to hug him during the entire book He understands his brother has some boundaries, he knows when he s doing something his brother can t bare and he stops doing it, he s proud of Jason all the time and that was beautiful to read.At first I wasn t huge fan of Jason s mother, because I thought she wasn t even trying to understand her son, but who am I to judge I don t have a son with autism, so I don t really have a right to say that she s doing something wrong Okay, she says some things that aren t acceptable, but I liked how at the end of the story she finally sees that the real problem isn t how Jason reacts to the world, but the way she reacts to Jason.That was a really quick read, but also really powerful.3.5


  7. says:

    When I write, I can be heard And known But nobody has to look at me Nobody has to see me at all I love books which help me see with other people s eyes and hear with other people s ears Imagine if you will the additional challenges faced daily by an autistic person, experiencing hypersensitivity to sights and sounds, and being unable to easily communicate his thoughts to those around him.The author of Anything But Typical attempts to bridge these two worlds autistic and non autistic by narrating from the perspective of the fictional character, Jason Blake, who is unaware of why he thinks differently and cannot easily fit in with other children Instead, he learns that his best means of communication is writing stories In doing so, he befriends an online companion who is also a writer But when he learns that his friend, a girl named Rebecca, will be attending the same convention, he fears she ll no longer want to have anything to do with him when she discovers he is different Although I recognize it would be unrealistic and naive to believe that all people afflicted with this condition are the same, I nonetheless felt that the book, written at a grade school level, helped me to better understand what it may be like to deal with autism.


  8. says:

    This book about a 12 year old boy living life with ASD touched home As a mother of a 12 yr old boy with ASD I couldn t help but see my son in the main character Told from his perspective it allowed me to see the world through his eyes for the first time All kids on the autism spectrum are different and face their own battles, some challenging than others Jason, the main character, has some extreme issues and battles that my son doesn t face However, I can see similar traits Every person who works with, knows or is related to a child with ASD should read this book.I have read countless books trying to gain insight to the world my son sees I can t thank Ms Baskin enough for the research she did and the words she wrote.


  9. says:

    3.5 starsI ve got a soft spot for little boys with disabilities.Did this make me sound like a creeper Well, I ve got a soft spot for little boys with disabilities, and I mean it in non creepy way.I just develop feeling for them easier than when it comes to any other character.And I absolutely loved this book It was simply written, but that simplicity struck me hard.Jason would say how he blew out candles on someone else s birthday and now no one invites him to their birthday parties any, and I would die a little.The only thing that this book was lacking was length I needed it to be longer, story deeper, and maybe I also wanted they lived happily ever after conclusion.But you don t get that in real life, after the last chapter life still goes on with all the struggles And so it did for my little munchkin Jason.


  10. says:

    Okay, so I read this in High School a few years ago but.is the person who wrote actually Autistic, or just another neurotypical who thinks they know Autistic people better than Actually Autistic people Because this story is just the stereotypical white boy that doesn t know how to interact with people.It doesn t even show an accurate way Autistics stim yes, some of us rock or flap hands, but some of us hum, some of us tap our feet, and some of us even use echolalia as a stim for communication Some of us wear sunglasses to help our sensitivities to light and melt downs are NOT temper tantrums.And yes, most of us interact a bit differently, but the majority of us at least theoretically get interaction by our adult years.Ask an Actual Autistic before you write stuff like this, because otherwise you ll get nothing but incredibly offensive inspiration porn.On the Edge of Gone is better than this Even The Accountant is better than this, at least they acknowledge how stimming really works for us Autistics.Autism Speaks does not speak for me and neither does this book.How do I know this I am on the spectrum myself.I have read articles by, and talked to, many other Autistic people.I have listened to other Autistc people, regardless of what traits they may present.Please, please listen to Actually Autistic people before you decide you like a book like this one A female Autistic