We looked like a cup of human fruit cocktail dumped onto the top of the house, each piece different but all out of the same can.
So begins a book unlike any other, half comics and half text, about a family that lives with autism -- and the strange life that is ordinary to them.
The oldest son, David, recites Superman episodes as he walks around the living room. A late-night family poker game spirals into a fog-driven duel. A thug from an old black-and-white rerun crawls out of the television. A housekeeper transforms into an avenging angel. A broken plate signals a terrible change in the family that none of them can prevent...until it's too late.
This groundbreaking work was excerpted in The New York Times for its ability to honestly, eloquently, and respectfully set forth what life is like with autism in the family. What sets The Ride Together apart is its combination of imagination and realism -- its vision of a family's inner world -- with David at the center.
Combining their talents, this brother-sister team has created a compassionate account of life with their autistic brother, David, interspersing prose chapters with comics chapters to offer an unusual memoir. Judy was once an editor at Henry Holt, while Paul draws cartoons for the New Yorker. Their collective work in this book spans five decades, beginning with David's birth in 1948 and ending in the present (he now lives in a community for people with autism). Roughly chronological, Paul's comics and Judy's prose are carefully intertwined so that the writing and the art amplify each other. Judy describes her family as "a cup of human fruit cocktail dumped onto the top of the house, each piece different but all out of the same can." She recalls a road trip she and David took together: "David himself was a part of the country I needed to see." The visual concepts in Paul's comics reflect his close association with Art Spiegelman, as Maus-like devices and images erupt inside imaginative pages. Together, brother and sister have succeeded in making an innovative, intimate and poetic probe into the inner world of the autistic mind that many readers will find quite moving.