83 pages 2 hours read

Nora Raleigh Baskin

Anything But Typical

Fiction | Novel | Middle Grade | Published in 2009

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Jason feels trapped inside his body, unable to easily communicate with others. The only way he can fully express himself is through his writing. When he was a young boy, learning the alphabet gave him a lifeline: He could communicate with his parents though written language when he could not communicate through speech or nonverbal communication. Describing the feeling of being able to express himself in writing, Jason says that there are “things loose inside me, like letters of the alphabet that have no meaning until they are all put together. In one particular way that no one else can do. In one moment. In one voice. That is mine” (185).

Jason studies the craft of writing to write a memoir that would share his version of reality with the world—this memoir, of course, is the book that we are reading. In his depictions of his daily life at home and school, Jason portrays the drastic difference between his outward behaviors and his internal experience. He knows what people around him, even his family, assume about him and deeply feels their dismissal and disdain. Writing offers him an opportunity to discuss what it’s like to be an autistic boy in a neurotypical world.