Raising Cubby, by John Elder Robison

Reviewed by Paul Harrison

Raising Cubby (Broadway Books, 2014) is the first of three book reviews focusing on the topic of mental health during October. As a person on the autism spectrum, I found Raising Cubby interesting and entertaining, as well as providing useful examples of how hard it often is to relate to the normal world.

Raising Cubby is a memoir of how John Elder Robison, a recognized expert on Asperger’s Syndrome, a very high-functioning form of autism. Robison, who was diagnosed at the age of 40, discovers that his son has the same condition, too. “Cubby,” his nickname for his son, gets into all sorts of trouble, which gets more and more serious as the memoir progresses. Things do seem to improve by the end of the book, but I don't want to give away any spoilers.

The author and his son struggle with Asperger’s, but that doesn’t deter them from finding a niche in society.

That message is especially encouraging to me and to others who live with this disorder. With Asperger’s, a person has an extreme interest in one or several subjects, but lacks the ability to understand and react to many social cues. I notice, for example, that I have a deep interest in classical music and railroads, but I am not good understanding facial expressions, which can make life awkward for me, even with my best friends.  

Some may question the relevance of discussing a topic like Asperger’s to religion. In my opinion, it is helpful to relate to me, and to other churchgoers like me, without being judgmental with regard to our social difficulties. Not all of our social blunders are malicious, and we should not be condemned as being worse Christians because of our conditions. In the end, God loves each one of us just the way we are.

Learn more about the book:

Public Library/Barnes & Noble/ Amazon /IndieBound

The author’s website.