Saturday, August 14, 2010
Book Review - "Born on a Blue Day"
"Born on a Blue Day: Inside the Extraordinary Mind of an Autistic Savant" by Daniel Tammet
My grade: B
As the title clearly states, this is a book about a savant, a condition that is extremely rare. This is a non-fiction work, written by the man himself, which is quite a feat all in itself. I was definitely surprised to what extent Daniel is aware of his condition and conscious of the problems it imposes (speaking about autism here).
I did feel, however, that many of the behaviors Daniel described are somewhat common to children in general, or perhaps not that odd. I don't think that he knows that, though, and get the feeling that he considers all of his behavior to be unusual. Also, as the general public has become more aware of autism and its symptoms, his behavior is that much less striking. What I was personally most interested in are his thought processes related to the savant syndrome, which he could have focused more on. Again, I believe that it is difficult for him to differentiate between normal and abnormal behaviors and attitudes, as he is virtually incapable of getting inside another person's head. Nonetheless, I see this as a major shortcoming to the book.