OF MICE AND ALIENS

Reviewed by Colin Griffiths, Lecturer, College of Nursing and Midwifery, Trinity College Dublin

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This short book tells the story of Ben and his encounter with an alien culture. Zeke is the alien from Celestis 4, who is surveying the earth. The story tells of Ben’s encounter with Zeke and the adventures they have in getting to know each other. Zeke accompanies Ben to school and, although he understands English, he has a hard time understanding the other children and particularly the teacher’s instructions. Zeke understands things very literally, so when the teacher tells him to take a chair he wonders where he should take it. Ben, who has Asperger’s syndrome, finds that Zeke’s literal view of the world fits very well with his own—consequently they get on well. Inevitable misunderstandings occur between the two boys and the grown ups; the conflict that is generated provides an illustration of how alien ‘normal’ culture is to a person with Aspergers.

This book gives us a child’s eye view of what living with Aspergers is like. It explains how it feels to need routine, and to have difficulty understanding rules and societal norms. If being able to see out of somebody else’s eyes is the key to understanding them, then this book is a must for those who seek to comprehend Aspergers. The book will appeal to siblings of children with Aspergers, but will also enable parents to empathise with their child. In short, it is an effective introduction to the subject.

OF MICE AND ALIENS: AN ASPERGER ADVENTURE
By Kathy Hoopermann (2000) Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 116 Pentonville Road, London N1 9JB. Stg£7 95. ISBN 1 85302 978 5, paperback.

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