An affecting memoir of life as a boy who didn’t know he had Asperger’s syndrome until he became a man.
In 1997, Tim Page won the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism for his work as the chief classical music critic of The Washington Post , work that the Pulitzer board called “lucid and illuminating.” Three years later, at the age of 45, he was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome–an autistic disorder characterized by often superior intellectual abilities but also by obsessive behavior, ineffective communication, and social awkwardness.
In a personal chronicle that is by turns hilarious and heartbreaking, Page revisits his early days through the prism of newfound clarity. Here is the tale of a boy who could blithely recite the names and dates of all the United States’ presidents and their wives in order (backward upon request), yet lacked the coordination to participate in the simplest childhood games. It is the story of a child who memorized vast portions of the World Book Encyclopedia simply by skimming through its volumes, but was unable to pass elementary school math and science. And it is the triumphant account of a disadvantaged boy who grew into a high-functioning, highly successful adult—perhaps not despite his Asperger’s but because of it, as Page believes. For in the end, it was his all-consuming love of music that emerged as something around which to construct a life and a prodigious career.
In graceful prose, Page recounts the eccentric behavior that withstood glucose-tolerance tests, anti-seizure medications, and sessions with the school psychiatrist, but which above all, eluded his own understanding. A poignant portrait of a lifelong search for answers, Parallel Play provides a unique perspective on Asperger’s and the well of creativity that can spring forth as a result of the condition.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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|Title of Mystery & Detective eBook: Parallel Play|
|Release Date: 09-08-2009|
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|Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group|
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My second- grade teacher never liked me much, and one assignment I turned in annoyed her so extravagantly that the red pencil with which she scrawled “See me!” broke through the lined paper. Our class had been asked to write about a recent field trip, and, as was so often the case in those days, I had noticed the wrong things:
Well, we went to Boston, Massachusetts through the town of Warrenville, Connecticut on Route 44A. It was very pretty and there was a church that reminded me of pictures of Russia from our book that is published by Time- Life. We arrived in Boston at 9:17. At 11 we went on a big tour of Boston on Gray Line 43, made by the Superior Bus Company like School Bus Six, which goes down Hunting Lodge Road where Maria lives and then on to Separatist Road and then to South Eagleville before it comes to our school. We saw lots of good things like the Boston Massacre site. The tour ended at 1:05. Before I knew it we were going home. We went through Warrenville again but it was too dark to see much. A few
days later it was Easter. We got a cuckoo clock.
It is an unconventional but hardly unobservant report. In truth, I cared not one bit about Boston on that windy spring day in 1963. Instead, I wanted to learn about Warrenville, a village a few miles northeast of the township of Mansfield, Connecticut, where my family was then living. I had memorized the map of Mansfield—available for one dollar from our municipal office—and knew all the school- bus routes by heart, a litany I sang out to anybody I could corner. But Warrenville was in the township of Ashford, for which I had no guide, and I remember my blissful sense of resolution when I verified that Ro...