Originally published 2016-09-28: STIM: An aspie tells his story in the form of a journal in STIM by Kevin Berry
Autistic people are some of the most fascinating people to read about, which is why I do it so often. Readers might remember my reviews of A Whole Lot, Neurotribes, and Nerdy, Shy, and Socially Inappropriate, among others. So when I got the chance to read STIM by Kevin Berry, I knew I had to take it.
Robert is different. He has Asperger’s Syndrome. He experiences the world differently to 99% of the population. This is his coming of age journey as he struggles to accept who he really is, tries to understand other people—which he cannot—and find a girlfriend. Especially find a girlfriend—he’s decided it’s his special project for the year. Accompanied by his quirky flatmates, Chloe (who also has Asperger’s and mental illness, amongst other things), Stef (who hasn’t, but doesn’t mind) and their oddly-named kitten, Robert endures a myriad of awkward moments in his quest to meet a nice, normal girl…and not even a major earthquake will stop him.
I didn’t think this was as funny as others have, most likely because I have an intimate connection with two autistic people and have an admittedly limited understanding about the way their minds work.
The main character, Robert, is an autistic college student in Christchurch. He doesn’t like change, doesn’t understand social interaction, and doesn’t have any friends. That is, until he meets Chloe one day in a coffee shop. She’s an aspie, too, which gives them something in common, even if she has what she calls ‘verbal diarrhea’ and slightly more information about how to cope with the neurotypical world.
Together, the two of them take on moving house, college classes, doctors, pet ownership, and the strange behaviors of the people around them in a way that makes me wonder if those of us who are ruled neurotypical aren’t really the “strange” ones, and these characters the more realistic thinkers.
STIM by Kevin Berry gets four of five stars for being touching, curious, and a fast, enjoyable read.
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I received this book free from Awesome Indies Books in return for an honest review.