I picked up this book at the Hustle for Autism, which you will recognise from the spruiking on Public Address a week or so back.

Well, my understanding is that being a parent is difficult at the best of times. All I have to fall back on in that regard is being the big brother/older cousin, which kind of doesn’t really weight up in the comparison stakes. What A Perfect World did then was convey to me the extreme difficulty a parent experiences when their child doesn’t fit into the mold established for each of us when we are brought into this world.

David’s book reads mostly as a biography of his own journey into an unknown intellectual landscape, the study of autism, while also bringing the reader closer to the topic of his book, his son Eliot. It’s an interesting though challenging read. We the reader are required to put aside all the misnomers and misinformation we’ve acquired through the stupidification of “autism” put forward in the media and popular culture, and to instead accompany David in a global tour of experts and academics.

And to be honest, I was amazed at the level of stupidification. I know there’s a tendency for people to look for something of the unusual in their own actions, people love to be told they’re individuals, and to therefore associate their own oddities with a mythologised “autism”. I also know, from reading A Perfect World, that there is a spectrum of autistic behaviours. This didn’t stop me from being outraged at the perfectly well-adjusted asshole who chose to describe his misbehaviour as an indication of “serious autism”. Unbelievable.

By reading about David’s journey, and the cornerstone of the Eliot for whom David searches, I’ve come to better understand a member of my own family who sits well along the spectrum. And I’ve decided that if David’s sole gift in writing A Perfect World is to make more people like me better understand their own kin, then it is a gift well-received, and I thank him for it.