Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Thinking in Pictures: My Life With Autism

Let's look on the bright side:  Blondie's few and far between (at least too few and too far for El Jefe) visits to the fair City of Angels are sure to mean that the Club of Books will be a hit.  Not to mention, she pulls off house-sitting on one of the most sought-after streets in Brentwood and hosting a dinner for 9 to boot.  Is there anything this woman can't do?  Apparently, pick a lock.  A memorable evening that began with sitting out on the front steps of the M____'s home on Cliffwood, waiting for the key reinforcements to arrive.  Thank goodness for screw top fume blanc!

Once we penetrate Fort Knox (does El Jefe spy an Alexander Calder in the foyer?), we settle into the study over sparkling wine and pancetta wrapped dates, stuffed with melted manchego and mint.  Much to El Jefe's delight, the bubbly appears to be gaining TCOB popularity.

Schramsberg Mirabelle Brut
Crisp acidity, vibrant green apple, citrus.  $22

Pancetta also seems to have become a staple.  Apparently this versatile cured meat works equally well in hors d' oeuvres and main courses.  For example, pancetta and taleggio lasagna with treviso radicchio.  Lish! 

Traviso radicchio


Regular radicchio

Served with a green salad on the side, and polished off with Red's scrumptious lemon squares.  Don't dispair, Red!  We love your homemade goodies.

Thinking in Pictures:  My Life with Autism garnered a 5.3.  And Ms. K's rating was not excluded even though it was the high score of the evening at seven-point-oh.  El Jefe's authority to fudge the math is completely revoked when she herself does not partake in the book (shame!).  The low score was a 2.  And though the ratings may have varied widely, the comments did not.  Across the board, we found this to be a difficult read.  Jumpy tenses made the story hard to follow, and the hands-off editing, albeit clearly done for stylistic reasons, left us with a book that at times seemed to repeat whole sections of itself over again.  While this tactic may have given readers a more tangible sense of Grandin's dry and non-linear view of the world, it was frustrating.  People were torn between wanting a greater understanding of the experiences of those afflicted with autism, and feeling that they could not at all relate to Grandin, and being fascinated by her strange inventions such as her cattle chutes and her squeeze machine.  We also talked about how heartbreaking it must be for a parent to raise a child with autism and not be able to develop a reciprocal emotional relationship with them, and those of us who have known children with autism shared personal stories.  Interestingly, it was pointed out that with all the publicity surrounding the occurrence of autism in children, one rarely hears much about autism in adults.  If you are interested in learning more about Temple Grandin or re-visiting this story in a more user-friendly way, Foxx strongly commends the HBO movie based on this book. 

Our next meeting is on Wednesday, May 5 at Chez Jefe.  Logan's Run is on apps, and Ms. K on dessert.  The May, June, and July books, in order, are Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger, Run by Ann Patchett, and The Murderer's Daughters by Randy Susan Meyers.  Until next time, read early and often!

Memory Lane:  The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon (Nov. 2005).



  1. Wait, so I still don't have a nickname? I am waiting with baited breath!

  2. What are you talking about, Highlander?!


Thanks for visiting! Read early and often!