The slyly funny, sweetly moving memoir of an unconventional dad’s relationship with his equally offbeat son—complete with fast cars, tall tales, homemade explosives, and a whole lot of fun and trouble
John Robison was not your typical dad. Diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome at the age of forty, he approached fatherhood as a series of logic puzzles and practical jokes. Instead of a speech about the birds and the bees, he told his son, Cubby, that he'd bought him at the Kid Store—and that the salesman had cheated him by promising Cubby would “do all chores.” While other parents played catch with their kids, John taught Cubby to drive the family's antique Rolls-Royce. Still, Cubby seemed to be turning out pretty well, at least until school authorities decided that he was dumb and stubborn—the very same thing John had been told as a child. Did Cubby have Asperger’s too? The answer was unclear.
One thing was clear, though: By the time he turned seventeen, Cubby had become a brilliant and curious chemist—smart enough to make military-grade explosives and bring federal agents calling. With Cubby facing a felony trial—and up to sixty years in prison—both father and son were forced to take stock of their lives, finally accepting that being “on the spectrum” is both a challenge and a unique gift.
Robison's third book starts with a bang his description of the "malicious explosion" created by his teenage Cubby that has the boy, who has Asperger's syndrome, looking at 60 years in prison, is as disconcerting as it is captivating. Sadly, much of the book drops off from there as the author segues into the personal story of his own transition from adolescence to adulthood. While the social problems he encounters because he, too, has Aspergers, are appealing, the stories of his business dealings lack the appeal of Cubby's journey. The tales of bringing up his son, which are relayed in 55 short chapter-length vignettes and told in the accessible prose that made his book Look Me in the Eye, a New York Times bestseller, are decidedly hit or miss. For instance, "Tuck-in Time," which simply explains that kids like bedtime stories, gives little insight into Aspergers or to Cubby's personality. On the other hand, "Cubby Versus the School" and "Reading" give a personal and informative perspective on the challenges kids with Cubby's condition face when it comes to acceptance and learning. The story picks up in the last 100 pages, as Cubby, a brilliant kid with an inquisitive scientific mind, creates explosive chemistry experiments that bring charges from the local DA. With the ensuing investigation and trial, Cubby and the author are drawn into a crazy world that threatens to tear apart their already delicate lives and allows the book to live up to the promise of its exciting first five pages.
Customer ReviewsSee All
I was so looking forward to reading this book. Some parts were really fascinating but mostly I was terribly bored.
I have read jer other two books, met him live and conversed over autism spectrum. I can't wait to read this book. It will help me when raising my own little ones soon.
I've read John Elder Robison's "Look Me in the Eye" and "Be Different" -- both excellent books, so I was thrilled when I won a copy of "Raising Cubby" from Goodreads (especially since I was planning on purchasing the book anyway)!
JER's writing style is brilliant, which is perhaps the primary reason he has become one of my favorite authors. JER is not only a fascinating person with a fascinating life story, but he also has a great sense of humor, which shines through in all of his books and writing.
Once or twice I've seen Cubby in videos on the website Wrong Planet, and he comes across as such an incredibly intelligent and kind person. "His parents must be so proud," is what I thought to myself. So when I heard about the book "Raising Cubby", I couldn't wait to read it.
I highly recommend this book!