I received the The Little Book of Thomasisms for review soon after I’d been listed on the Book Review Directory. It is a quick, easy read: a collection of stories told from the point of view of a young man growing up with a brother who has autism. The stories are humorous and the voices of the narrator and his brother both come through quite strongly. After reading this book, I felt that we could all learn both compassion and resilience from Thomas and Marc. It caused me to question, and often to soften, the daily assumptions I make about other people’s intentions and motivations.
In general, I wish there were more books about disability written by members of the community being profiled available to the lay public. There is a lot of misinformation and misunderstanding about autism floating around, some of it even promulgated by respected research organizations. This book goes a long way towards allaying such fears. In that respect, it reminds me a bit of the American TV show, “Speechless,” which is about a family with a teenager who has cerebral palsy and is very funny, with the joke mostly being on the normally abled family members. The stories about autism in this book describe some similar challenges, and also some different ones. I’d like to see them get a broader readership.
I had a bit of a problem, though, with the formatting and editing of this little book, as is. Maybe it’s just that it was an advance review copy, but there were a lot of errors and repetition. Sometimes it is referred to as a “big,” rather than “little,” book, making me wonder if an internal debate about the title hasn’t been resolved. And some of the stories needed more fleshing out of what exactly happened and who said what: perhaps more Thomas and less Marc, giving the reader a greater chance to interact with Thomas’ voice. The book is based on the author’s blog posts about his brother, some of which can be found here, at Marc Townsend Author. Townsend has good material here, but I believe it needs more polish before going out into the world as a book.