Review: TO SIRI WITH LOVE by Judith Newman
Memoir? I guess?
*I received an e-review copy from the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review.
I’m going to break with my usual format for reviews for this travesty.
I’m not sharing the blurb, because it paints this book in far too positive a light for its content.
I just went to Amazon and am appalled that it’s still ranking at 4 stars. Anyone who starred it as anything more than a 1 ought to be ashamed of themselves.
I chose to read this book because I’d seen it talked about as being harmful in #actuallyautistic circles, and not many of us had (yet) had a chance to read it.
So even having seen the horrific screenshots that were circulating about it, I still wrote to the publisher requesting a review copy. I identified myself as an #actuallyautistic reviewer.
Before I started reading this book, I thought I knew how much the neurotypical world hated me, and those like me, for how my brain works.
I was wrong.
I was so, so, wrong.
This book broke something in me, some faith in neurotypical humanity that I’d, somehow, managed to keep a hold of.
I started reading it on a bit of a whim, I mean… surely it couldn’t actually be THAT bad? Right?
It was worse.
I mean… a mom loves her autistic kid, she even wrote a book billed as ‘a love letter’ from a mom to her autistic son.
This book in no way shape or form resembles anything I understand as love, and no, that’s not because I’m autistic.
I understand deeply, to the bone, what love means. That bull about autistics not understanding or having empathy is some sort of jacked-up crap that I don’t even know where it comes from.
No… it’s the AUTHOR of this book that doesn’t understand love.
It’s the sheer lack of empathy the author shows, both to autistics and to her sons.
I admit, at times, reading this, I wondered if the person who wrote it might not be autistic themselves, but no. No, she isn’t.
I’ve never, EVER, met a person who is #actuallyautistic who expresses such a profound lack of empathy, so much headstrong willingness to harm an entire population of people who were minding their own business, TWO of whom are her sons…
There are things that can be seriously wrong with the human brain that mimic some of the aspects of autism.
I don’t know WHAT is truly wrong with this woman, but I guarantee you something is. She needs help. SERIOUS help.
It isn’t autism, though.
I hope this book dies the ignoble death it deserves.
I hope everyone involved in it is utterly ashamed of themselves for having anything to do with putting it onto the market.
I hope anyone who read any part of the worst parts and agreed with those parts… I hope you, too, feel ashamed of yourself.
I hope if you bought it, that you donate an equal or greater amount to an #actuallyautistic author.
This book is absolutely harmful in so very many ways that I can’t even enumerate them all.
ANYTHING advocating eugenics should never be written, never be read, not historically, but especially not in today’s day and age.
Don’t buy this book. Don’t read it. Don’t let it pollute your mind or eyes.
This is not what autism is, it’s not even close.
I did a series of live-tweets about this book as I read it, in shocked horror, over the past days.
So there. Now the army of NT autism-parents can’t say an autistic reader HASN’T read it (though I’m not the only one who tortured themselves to do so, there are others.)
If you’d like to see the series of tweets, this is the link.
So. I'm doing it.
Before I even start let me preface this by saying that I'm #ActuallyAutistic & a parent. I'm a published author, a reviewer, a sensitivity reader for autism, & an editor (professionally).
I asked the publisher for a review copy & they sent it. pic.twitter.com/2zkZA7E86d
— Kaelan Rhywiol (@KaelanRhy) November 30, 2017
The storify is here.
People have been consistently asking me for my donations links… it’s not why I did this, I did this to try to educate people.
But any little bit can help, because actually autistic authors rarely find agents. I looked for years before giving up. It’s not my writing, it took me two months to land a deal with a reputable publisher without an agent.
Instead of actually autistic people getting to write stories about us and being represented by agents? The ones who get agents are like unicorns. Rare, Mystical, almost MAGICAL
Amazon Wishlist (which someone international told me wasn’t working for them, so… cash probably works better.)
Because people who think they know about autism write books like this one and it gets mass appeal (I’m waiting for the ‘movie deal announcement’ this is tragedy porn at its worst.)
It’s nauseating. I actually vomited twice as I read it. I’m not sick, it’s just that this book is THAT sickening.
Right now? It’s still at number 4 on Amazon in medical ebooks, which blows my mind beyond belief.
I was pre-med, there is so little actually accurate information in this book that I can’t even begin to list it all.
Now I need to go and wade through the thousands and thousands of mentions I’ve gotten over the past three days of people responding to my reading of this book.
I suppose I might have used more wisdom and looked into how popular this author and book were before I decided to read it and give a truly UNBIASED review.
I’ve already decided I’m not going to respond in any way to the trolls. I’ve already done enough in this fight for equality, (for now) just by my masochistic drive to finish this book.
Peace and love.