Raising Cubby, a memoir of an unconventional dad’s relationship with his equally offbeat son
John Elder Robison, the New York Times bestselling author of Look Me in the Eye, returns with a slyly funny, sweetly moving memoir—complete with fast cars, tall tales, homemade explosives, and a whole lot of fun and trouble.
Early Praise for Raising Cubby
“A warmhearted, appealing account by a masterful storyteller.”—Kirkus
“A story of a man learning to be a parent, yes, but it’s also—and perhaps more importantly—the story of a man discovering, as an adult, who he really is.”—Booklist
“Irreverent, hilarious, and a little dark, this book gives readers an inside look at what it’s like to be a person on the autism spectrum.”—Parents.com
When John Elder Robison published his memoir, Look Me in the Eye, in 2007, readers were given a window into the life of a man who spent forty years knowing that he was different, but not knowing why. It was not until he learned that he had Asperger’s syndrome—a diagnosis that made sense of his often peculiar behavior—that John emerged as a fully realized adult. Written with appealing honesty and dark humor, Look Me in the Eye quickly became a New York Times bestseller. John followed it up with Be Different (2011), in which he argued that Asperger’s is about difference, not just disability, and offered new insights into the Aspergian mind.
Now, in his inspiring and hilarious new book, RAISING CUBBY: A Father and Son’s Adventures with Asperger’s, Trains, Tractors, and High Explosives (Crown, March 12, 2013), John offers readers a father-son memoir like no other. By turns tender, suspenseful, and laugh-out-loud funny, this is more than just the story of an unapologetically eccentric dad raising his equally eccentric son. It’s the story of a father and son who grow up together.
Misfit, truant, delinquent. John was never a model child, and he wasn’t a model dad either. With the delightfully skewed perspective that goes along with his Asperger’s, he approached fatherhood as a series of logic puzzles and practical jokes. When his son, Cubby (aka Jack) asked, “Where did I come from?” John said he’d bought him at the Kid Store and that the salesman had cheated him by promising Cubby would “do all chores.” He ditched traditional bedtime stories like Good Night Moon in favor of his own stories about nuclear-powered horses and Santa’s origins as a whaling captain. Still, John got the basics right (he made sure Cubby never drank diesel fuel at the automobile repair shop he owns), and he gave him a life of adventure: by the time Cubby was ten, he’d steered a Coast Guard cutter, driven a freight locomotive, and run an antique Rolls-Royce into a fence.
The one thing John couldn’t figure out was what to do when school authorities decided that Cubby was dumb and stubborn—the very same thing he had been told as a child. Did Cubby have Asperger’s too? The answer was unclear. One thing was clear, though: by the time he turned seventeen, Cubby had become a brilliant chemist—smart enough to make military-grade explosives and bring state and federal agents calling.
It wasn’t long before a publicity-hungry prosecutor decided that Cubby was some kind of terrorist, and he was charged with multiple felonies, with a potential prison term of up to sixty years. Yet, as far as John could see, Cubby’s only “crimes” had been inquisitiveness and not thinking through the ways his actions might appear to others. In a time when so many young people with differences are discriminated against, bullied, or even arrested for strange behavior, the story of Cubby’s trial is sobering. Yet this is ultimately the story of how Cubby and his dad—both lifelong misfits—found their place in the world.
Since the publication of Look Me in the Eye and Be Different, John’s platform has increased exponentially. He continues to lecture widely on neurological differences and, in 2011, he was invited by Kathleen Sebelius to become a member of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, which charts a course for autism research and for the delivery of services to people on the spectrum. Like Temple Grandin, John has become a popular and influential figure in the autism community.
On sale March 12, 2013, just in time for April’s National Autism Awareness Month, RAISING CUBBY is an unforgettable chronicle about a different boy being raised by a different kind of father—and about coming to terms with being “on the spectrum” as both a challenge and a unique gift.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: JOHN ELDER ROBISON was born in Athens, Georgia, and grew up in the 1960s, before the diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome existed. He is the author of two previous books, Be Different and the New York Times bestseller Look Me in the Eye. He lectures widely on autism and neurological differences; serves on committees and review boards for the Centers for Disease Control, National Institutes of Health, and Autism Speaks; and is a member of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. A machine aficionado and avid photographer, John lives in Amherst, Massachusetts. Visit John online at www.JohnRobison.com or at http://jerobison.blogspot.com.