Love & Autism by Kay Kerr is a phenomenal read. I’m already a huge fan of Kay’s contemporary YA (both featuring autistic teens), so I couldn’t wait to dive into her first non-fiction. And it was so good. This is the kind of book I would enthusiastically recommend to autistic and non-autistic readers alike. Sometimes books about autism can feel really geared toward a non-autistic audience with the focus solely on explaining autism to them–which is fine because those books are helpful and needful too–but it is so nice to read a book that gives this intimate, unfiltered and beautiful look at autism that feels FOR the autistic community as well. Love & Autism both educates and tells a story. Cannot emphasis enough how special that is to read.
This is a non-fiction book that follows the lives of 5 autistic people in a series of interviews, with thoughtful and personal anecdotes and cited sources interspersed from Kay throughout. Again, LOVED this. I loved getting to know Michael, Chloë, Noor, Jess, and Tim. There are also quotes and brief thoughts from autistic kids and other autistic authors making the book feel so community focused. I also have to mention how much I adored the diversity of experience within the stories. The autistic voices in here cover a range of support needs as well as include autistics who are queer or Muslim or nonspeaking. It’s beautiful to see this slice of how diverse and different autism can look.
When your experience of moving through the world is not the dominant one, you are told again and again, in countless ways, that your perceptions are wrong.
Kay’s voice is so easy to read, so comfortable and conversational, the writing just flows on the page. There’s also plenty of facts and information in here too. We are getting the life stories of five people, and also their insights into autism. What they wish people knew. What they feel needs to be heard. We are seeing multiple definitions of love–friendship, familial, romantic. We are seeing what love looks like when two neurodiverse people are in a relationship, how it works and how it can be different. What it is to be an autistic mother. What it is to be autistic in highschool. I just love love the range.
Last thing to add (to my gushing review lol) is that this is not a book that sugar coats the autism experience or solely focuses on the nice parts about neurodiversity. Being autistic in a neurotypical world almost always results in trauma. These five individuals share their traumas, their struggles, their dark times. It’s sometimes really really hard to be autistic–and that needs to be seen and known too.
This is an empowering, raw, personal, and thoughtful autistic book that I highly recommend to (literally) everyone. It’s the kind of story that will make autistics feel seen and understood, and it’s so easy to read and thank “wow that’s me too” and come away with that sense of community and belonging. A brief and beautiful view of autism.
Thank you to Macmillan Australia for the copy!
“Love has always intrigued me, in part because I have carried for a long time a feeling that I am doing love wrong.”
Michael made a name for himself on the hit show Love on the Spectrum. After his televised first dating experiences, will he complete his quest to find his queen?
Chloe was always good at maths, with feelings ‘too big’ to be contained. When she reconnects with her childhood boyfriend, it must be fate.
Noor has had a lot on her plate from a young age, especially at home. People-pleasing becomes her survival mode, but Noor can’t keep her struggles inside forever.
Jess has spent a lifetime being put into different boxes. Through her strong will and creativity, can she break out and build a life that is truly her own?
Tim is a non-speaking autistic man who has been underestimated all his life. But through willpower, technology and a mother’s love, he has a chance of finding a different kind of voice.
Through the intimate writing of critically-acclaimed autistic author Kay Kerr, Love & Autism presents an uplifting celebration of neurodivergent love, the search for it and a deeper look into the lives of autistic Australians.