Advice & Resources, Autism Insights

“Odd Girl Out- My Extraordinary Autistic Life” By Laura James (A Book Review)

An Extraordinary Read

About the Book:

“Odd Girl Out” is a remarkable and insightful book about how at the age of forty Laura James (the author) discovered that what made her different is that she is Autistic. The book then recounts her journey between past experiences and present insights that help shape how she understands herself and navigates life as a mother, wife and woman on the Autistic spectrum.

Au-somely Relatable and Enlightening: 

It is by far, one of my favourite reads ever, especially being Autistic myself (and female) I’ve found it incredibly relatable and as Laura shares rather courageously what  experiences past and present have shaped her journey I couldn’t help think many times “wow, I’ve felt, thought, or experienced that exact same thing or similar myself”. Such as on page 63 when she shares “I wanted so much to be a part of that (referring to being into what her classmates were into), and although I did sometimes get invited along, I was never quite in the middle of a group. I was always on the edge, always getting it slightly wrong, never quite feeling a part of things. I was on the outside looking in on these female friendship groups.” Reading this rang so true of my own experiences, and allowed me to really understand and empathize with some of the challenges she had growing up, as I remembered my own experiences

Another one of many wow moments was on page 35, when consulting with Steve Silberman, author of Neurotribes- another wonderful resource on Autism-, as he describes to her one of the common ways girls react which “is to observe, analyze, and imitate, and create a mask, which delays diagnosis for decades until the wheels fall off.” Later too, he also mentions that ASD is a study of patterns, and that “often you are searching for the patterns of life- looking for patterns in interactions and then analyzing them, initiating them, and faking them” Again, I couldn’t help but have an “ah ha” moment, not just to these passages but to many others in the book that allowed me to gain a greater understanding of myself and feel a little less like an odd girl out myself.  It’s also been quite inspiring reading how Laura has managed to make sense of so many of her experiences and navigate life with a new insight that has helped me believe it is possible to figure out some of the challenges that lie ahead for me into my later adult years.

Seeking Other’s Perspectives and Greater Understanding:

More than that, it has also been enlightening in that along with sharing her own understanding, she brings in the perspective of other professional and Autistic individuals like Steve Silberman or Sarah Wild, who is the head teacher at Limpsfield Grange School-a residential school for girls aged 11-16 with communication and interaction difficulties, most of whom have a diagnosis of autism- to help bring further understanding into what makes the female Autistic experience so unique, and different from that of their male counterparts. Making it not just a great read, but valuable resource to anyone looking to learn more about what it’s like being female and Autistic or us Asperwoman looking to understand our own experiences a little more clearer.

Over-all Rating:

5/5, an excellent and honest read I cannot recommend often enough, and one I am wanting to permanently add to my collection. 

Happy Reading, 

Kylie

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Feature Photo by Denise Chan on Unsplash