Asparagus Dreams

Asparagus Dreams  
By Jessica Peers.
Jessica Kingsley Publishers
ISBN 1843101645X

As might be guessed from the title this book is an insider’s account of Asperger’s syndrome. The author reflects on her five years in a residential school for pupils with autistic spectrum disorders.

Her entertaining vignettes of school life highlight the difficulties she had in relating to her anarchic fellow students. Her own lack of inhibition soon brought her into serious trouble with those in authority.

Their reaction to her challenges was to “duvet” her. This involved throwing her down on a king size duvet, then quickly rolling her up using the duvet as a straightjacket. Once she had been secured members of staff would sit on her and hold her until she ceased to resist. Not surprisingly she found this a terrifying experience. On a lighter note she describes a hilarious production of Alice in Wonderland in the local community centre, when the uninhibited students display their eccentricities to good effect.

In the final chapters the author describes going to college where, although able to cope academically, she fears that she will struggle to make social contact. Although written with the lay reader in mind this somewhat self-indulgent book adds disappointingly little to our understanding of Asperger’s syndrome.

Oliver Russell is honorary fellow, Norah Fry Research Centre, Bristol University.

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