REVIEW: Nerdy, Shy, and Socially Inappropriate by Cynthia Kim

Originally published 2016-02-17: Nerdy, Shy and Socially Inappropriate by Cynthia Kim | Book Review Wednesday


Autism is a subject near and dear to my heart, because I know and love two autistic people. I’ve been reading about it since my son’s diagnosis four years ago, but I didn’t know until last year that autism presents differently in boys than in girls, and that the prevalence of autism in girls is much higher than was originally believed. I learned about the systematic denial of autism in girls by those who were supposed to be champions in helping these special people.

That’s why I picked up Cynthia Kim’s Nerdy, Shy, and Socially Inappropriate: A User Guide to an Asperger Life. The book’s description tells you a lot about what you’re going to find within, but doesn’t explain about how funny, heartwarming, and hopeful the author’s tale really is.

cover of autism memoir Nerdy, Shy, and Socially Inappropriate by Cynthia Kim

Book Description

Cynthia Kim explores all the quirkyness of living with Asperger Syndrome (ASD) in this accessible, witty and honest guide looking from an insider perspective at some of the most challenging and intractable aspects of being autistic. Her own life presents many rich examples. From being labelled nerdy and shy as an undiagnosed child to redefining herself when diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome as an adult, she describes how her perspective shifted to understanding a previously confusing world and combines this with the results of extensive research to explore the ‘why’ of ASD traits. She explains how they impact on everything from self-care to holding down a job and offers typically practical and creative strategies to help manage them, including a section on the vestibular, sensory and social benefits of martial arts for people with autism.

Well known in the autism community and beyond for her popular blog, Musings of an Aspie, Cynthia Kim’s book is rich with personal anecdotes and useful advice. This intelligent insider guide will help adults with ASDs and their partners, family members, friends, and colleagues, but it also provides a fresh and witty window onto a different worldview.

My Rating

Humorous, empowering and enlightening, this insider guide to Asperger Syndrome (ASD) explores the ‘why’ of ASD traits. Readable and well researched, Kim describes her change in perspective after diagnosis and shares personal anecdotes, and helpful insights and strategies for managing the quirks of ASD.

When I picked up this book, I knew I still had a lot to learn about autism. Things are changing as more is being learned and understood about autism, including the terminology, treatment for, and understanding of autism by the general public. Parents are desperately looking for answers about their newly diagnosed children, and books like this one give us hope.

In her user guide, Cynthia Kim runs the gamut of information about autism, about how autism in girls is different than autism in boys, and about growing up without a diagnosis.

She talks about the relief she felt when she finally had a name for what she had experienced her whole life, and about her journey of learning and self-acceptance. She explains some ‘typical’ autistic behaviors, what they mean, and how to cope with them as a neurotypical person who loves someone on the autism spectrum.

Even with all the reading and research I have done over the past six years, this book put a spotlight on things I had never understood or considered. It made me glad that I had taken the bold step to have my son diagnosed early in life, and proved what I already knew: diagnosis helps.

I give Nerdy, Shy, and Socially Inappropriate by Cynthia Kim four of five stars, and I highly recommend it for anyone who knows or loves someone that is (or may be) on the autism spectrum, especially if that person happens to be a girl or woman. I would have given it one more star if it had been a bit longer, but that is only my personal taste. It does not lack in content or explanation.

You can find out more about Cynthia Kim and her path to self-discovery on her blog, Musings of an Aspie.

This is book #4 on my quest to #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks.


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