Friday, July 26, 2013

Book Review: Raising Cubby

I had read end enjoyed John Elder Robison’s treatise on life with Aspergers, “Be Different,” and so I eagerly looked forward to reading his latest volume, “Raising Cubby: A Father and Son’s Adventures with Asperger’s, Trains, Tractors and High Explosives.” In this book, Robison shares his experiences of raising his son, Jack (aka “Cubby”) who also has Aspergers, although neither of them knew how or why they were different when their father/son relationship began.

One thing I loved about this book is the respect with which Robison treats his first wife, affectionately known as “Little Bear.” While their marriage didn’t work out, he dedicates the book to her, stating “Even though we have not been married to each other for many years, her achievement in raising our son is not to be minimized. To the extent that he is a prize-winning specimen, she is large part responsible.” In the pages of “Raising Cubby,” it is obvious that he holds her in high esteem and that they worked together to raise their son.

As the mom of a twelve year old Aspie kid, I find reading books about Aspergers interesting because while each child is different, they do provide me with some insight into how my son sees and relates to the world. This one took a little while for me to get into, but I’m glad that I stuck with it. What especially grabbed my intention was the development of Cubby’s obsessions as he grew older. 

Unfortunately, his obsession with chemistry led to some very negative consequences in that he ended up being prosecuted by the District Attorney for possession of explosives. The latter part of the book is devoted to relating the tale of the court case. For those who enjoy legal drama, it makes for some compelling reading. As an added bonus, Robison and his family live in my corner of the world. While I do not recall this particular court case, I am personally familiar with many of the locations Robison refers to in his story.

“Raising Cubby” is a testament to parenting, love, and being wired differently. It is valuable for anyone who loves someone with Aspergers. 


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