In A Different Key, co-authored by John Donvan and Caren Zucker, tells the complete story of autism. It begins in 1848 long before the term autistic was even considered and ends in the modern day with a whirlwind of stories and information in between. As advertised, the book truly is a story. Rather than a reiteration of dates and facts, this book focuses on stories of individual people, families, and scientists involved in the mysteries surrounding autism.The authors focus on the idea of building a community for people with and supporting autism.
From a style point of view, the book is very readable for any level of understanding about autism. It has a good rhythm and pace. The chapters are manageable length for an average attention span. All of this is to make ordinary people the most important so that families and people do not get lost in the science.
It is not a book to be used as a manual for diagnosing or dealing with autism nor is is meant to be a chronological study. There is a timeline in the back of the book, but the actual text jumps around as the chapters are ordered more thematically than chronologically. A positive side of this is that the book puts discoveries about autism within their historical perspective.
Overall, the book is fascinating for anyone who might have the slightest interest in autism. I applaud the authors for creating such a large work that seems to be backed up by research based on the 100 pages of notes after the 500+ page story. It’s an incredible bit of information. I give it a 5 out of 5.
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.