If you’ve ever wondered what it is like going through the wonderful adolescent years for a teen with autism, I recommend you read this new memoir, Episodes: My Life as I See It. Blaze Ginsberg, who has high functioning autism, tells us what life from his perspective looks and feels like. But Blaze doesn’t just tell us about his life, he presents his world to readers in a highly unusual format inspired by the movie-based Web site IMDb.com.
I love this book. Disclaimer: I have known Blaze Ginsberg for many years. In fact, he used to ride the special education school bus with my son, Jeremy. Blaze has always had a special place in my heart because of his unique personality, and because of my friendship with his mom, best-selling author Debra Ginsberg, (she chronicled Blaze’s early years in Raising Blaze).
But it is not just because of our friendship that I love this book. I love it because I have seen where Blaze was before, and how he has grown to be the wonderful, thoughtful, constructive person he is today. His memoir not only offers his unique perspective, but is an inspirational testimony to the necessity of advocating for your child and the importance of a close-knit group of extended family members and friends. More importantly, Blaze's memoir offers a unique insight into what life and school is like for a teen on the spectrum, and we rarely get to hear that perspective. Watching Blaze as he matures through all his episodes, I feel hopeful that my teenager - and the rest of the family - will survive at least one pilot season.
Episodes has received excellent reviews by actress Jamie Lee Curtis and esteemed authors such as Daniel Handler (A Series of Unfortunate Events), as well as by Publisher’s Weekly and the School Library Journal . Suzanne Crowley writes that “…Ginsberg gives readers a unique glimpse into an adolescent mind that is simply wired differently. He says, “At times being autistic is not easy; it is known for getting in the way of things. Sometimes it stops you from doing things like everyone else because you don’t understand something or it’s difficult to figure out what people mean. Also you think about things differently from other people and that can be difficult.”
Blaze's life is still in syndication, with no predictable end; I can only wish him the best and hope to see more episodes.