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Mid-Year Look Back On My Bookish New Years Resolutions

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At the beginning of the year, the Top 5 Wednesday group challenged us all to make 5 bookish new years resolutions. As a semi-new reader, trying to improve my reading, I decided to join in and set myself 5 bookish new years resolutions.

I also decided to set myself the target of reading at least 38 books this year, here is my progress on that:

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But, how am I doing with my bookish new year’s resolutions? Well, for some, I’m doing quite well, in others, I’m failing miserably.

Let’s go through each one individually:

  • Read bigger books.

Well, that’s going reasonably well. I’ve dedicated myself to reading larger books (aka anything over 400 pages) this year, and I’ve managed to get through quite a few. These include:

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26114463 429 pages

23437156 462 pages

And that’s without going into the books I started and DNF’d for whatever reason (it wasn’t length, I didn’t wimp out, I swear), and the rest I have planned for the rest of the year!

I’d count that as a firm success, wouldn’t you?

Though… I do have to put my hands up and say that there are a few I’m avoiding because of their length, as I mentioned in this blog post.

  • Read more trilogies in one go.

Er… I sort of have accomplished this, I guess? I sort of expanded this to include series’ after it was pointed out to me that I rarely finish a series over 3 books long. And it’s gone… reasonably well.

I did finish the entire Melrose series in one sitting earlier this year.

I blasted through the Monsters Of Verity duology in a week.

Crooked Kingdom is being read this month, which rounds off the Six Of Crows duology.

As for longer series, trilogies, and anything else I’ve finished? It’s a bit of a different story.

Take His Dark Materials, for example. I was happily going through that, steaming right through, but the last book lost its way for me, and I DNF’d it. I had full intentions of finishing the series, read each book one after the other, but The Amber Spyglass just lost me around 40% of the way through and I couldn’t continue.

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The Lunar Chronicles, I’m on the fence about after reading Cinder. It was interesting, but there was something missing for me, I guess you could say. I have bought Scarlett, though, and I’m willing to give it another chance. Just not right now, as I’m on a book buying ban.

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And the series’ I’m halfway through and really love?

Discworld and Skulduggery Pleasant are series’ I’m stretching out, so they’re not over too soon, so I’m forcing myself to only read two books of each a year.

So far, Going Postal has been ticked off the Discworld list, and I’m looking at Wyrd Sisters as my second of the year.

Skulduggery Pleasant is a different story. I shamefully haven’t picked any up yet, even after The Faceless One‘s cliffhanger. Even got the massive box set in the new covers for my birthday and I still haven’t picked it up yet.

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I will, I’m determined. I will read two more Skulduggery Pleasant. I may have reached my ‘three books read’ limit of attention span, but I’m going to beat it into submission.

  • Read more books outside of my comfort zone.

This one I can safely say I have achieved.

I read the Melrose series, which is very much set in the real world. I wasn’t entirely keen on the entire series, as it was a bit too dark for me, and it messed with my head.

As promised, I also got into Sci-Fi, and I love it! I’ve read books such as

Failure To Communicate

 

I started Illuminae, sadly had to stop because my dyslexic brain could not take the weird layout, but really loved the storyline.

And, as previously mentioned, I’ve also started The Lunar Chronicles and I’ve also read Invictus! It’s been a great introduction to Sci-Fi and I’ve got a lot more on my shelves to read, I’m a complete convert!

As for comic books? I haven’t done too badly on that either!

I’ve branched out into Spiderman, Deadpool, Black Panther and Illuminati in the Marvel universe of comics. I’ve also recently bought Gwenpool, Miss Marvel, House Of M and a tonne more, I’m ridiculously excited to get into them!

Outside of the Marvel universe, I’ve also started the Kick-ass series, the Monstress series, and the Sandman series, so I’d say I’ve branched out pretty well in terms of comics! There’s a lot more I want to look into, but right now, I’m happy with my current choices.

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  • Read more diverse books.

This one I’m certain I’ve covered well this year.

This year, I’ve read non-binary characters (Our Dark Duet), autistic characters (Failure To Communicate), POC characters (Black Panther), LGBT+ characters (Six Of Crows). And not just in these books, in many others, too.

I’ve done my best to seek out diverse books, with characters that aren’t just cis, white and straight. Finding disabled characters has been harder, so much harder, than I imagined it would be if I’m honest. So, like I said in the original post, please do give me some recommendations, I would be incredibly grateful for them.

Either way, I’ve really enjoyed expanding my reading in this way, it’s giving me so many more perspectives on life and on others. I’ve been stuck in such a Western-cultured world, I love seeing things from others perspectives. It’s been fascinating and informative, I just wish that there were more for me to read.

  • Review more.

… This one, I’ve totally, completely and utterly failed at. I’ve made three reviews this year. ThreeThat’s it. Three. And I promised to write reviews for at least 50% of the books I read this year. It’s gone entirely out of the window.

This needs to change, and soon. It doesn’t matter if it’s in blog or booktube form, I just need to make more. I can’t just ignore reviewing the books I read, in favour of the TV show/film/theatre show I’ve recently seen.

need to review more. I leave mini-reviews on Goodreads, but I need to go more in depth, to actually use this blog and my youtube channel for what they were made for – book reviews.

I realise now that trying to review 50% of the books I read is a stretch. So I’m going to say that for the rest of the year, I’m going to try and review at least one book a month. It’s a lot more obtainable as a goal. One book a month, I can manage that… right?

And that was my bookish new year’s resolution check in! How are yours going? Doing better than me? Tell me down below in the comments!

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Posted in blog post, books, brilliance, fan, McFly, review, words

Eve Of Man By Tom and Giovanna Fletcher Spoiler Free Review

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What happens if no girls are born in 50 years? What if the human race has lost hope, resigned to the fact that they’re going to go extinct? What if, then, miraculously, a girl is born?

And what if, this girl, Eve, has been lied to her entire life?

That is the story of Eve Of Man, the first in a YA trilogy, written by chart-toppers Tom and Giovanna Fletcher.

The book follows the story of Eve, the first girl born in 50 years, said to be the savior of humanity, and what happens when she falls in love with Bram and discovers that everything she has ever been told is a lie.

Now, before I go into opinions, I want to preface this by saying that I am a bit bias towards this book. I’m a massive McFly fan, and I mean massive McFly fan. I’ve followed them for 10 years this August, Tom, specifically, is my favourite. I’ve loved his previous books, I love his channel, and just generally am a massive fangirl for Tom and his band.

And, the last time I reviewed one of Tom’s books, this happened:

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So, yeah, I’m a little bit bias towards this book.

But, saying that, I was a bit wary going in. I’m not the biggest fan of love stories in books. Particularly, YA love stories. I’ve been burned a lot in the past with books giving me the most interesting storyline, for it to be derailed entirely because the main character falls for the guy, or two guys, and can’t decide which one she wants to start a relationship with. So, when I found out that this was an ‘unconventional love story’ I was a tiny bit wary.

I needn’t have worried at all.

Eve Of Man was a very fun read, and the love story did not entirely take over the storyline. While it was a big plot point, our main characters are focused entirely on unraveling the lies/setting about freeing Eve. It was fantastic to see and so refreshing to read as well.

The story kept us focused on escaping, on finding out the lies weaved through Eve’s life, on what exactly has actually been going on for the last 50 years. In short, it was riveting, I didn’t want to put it down.

Favourite things about the book:

The technology. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about RealiTV’s, holograms, Protectants, and everything inside this dystopian world. It all felt real to me as I read, not too fantastical at all, given the setting.

The flashes of Handmaid’s Tale throughout. In Eve’s POV, I definitely had a sense of Handmaid’s Tale during some moments. Not like it was a direct copy of the book/TV show, but maybe slightly inspired by Margret Atwood. It fit perfectly in this world and worked a treat in keeping the medical science element creepy.

The effect the human race had had on the world. Because the human race had lost hope, the basically gave up trying to save the planet. Global warming has gotten so bad that most of the world is now underwater, with it’s remaining people living is tall skyscrapers, built to withstand the water levels. I’ve never seen a dystopian which deals with humanities effect on the planet, so it was really interesting to see that touched on in this book.

Small niggles I had:

I would have liked a bit more detail on the Mothers, and each of their personalities. Only two really stood out to me as characters, the rest sort of melded into one. A bit more personality and detail on each would have been perfect.

Bram being more proactive than Eve. Bram seemed to do all the work in this, while Eve ended up getting swept up in it all. She had a few moments of defiance and badassery, but I would have liked to see a few more. That could be explained by her situation though, so I’ll withhold judgement on that until the trilogy is out in its entirety.

The men were said to be so untrustworthy that they weren’t allowed to even look at Eve when they were in the same room as her, as they may not be able to control their urges. I would have liked to have seen a bit more explanation into this, maybe an account of this happening in the past with other women. Or, if this was made up by the people controlling Eve, for that to have been made clear. Again, this could happen in a later trilogy, so I’m withholding judgement.

Apart from those few little problems, I really, really enjoyed this book, and have high hopes for the next two.

Tom and Giovanna have set up a very interesting world and story,  with two great characters to follow. I cannot wait to read the sequel!

4/5 stars.

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Posted in about me, blog post, books, tag, words

Top 5 Wednesday – Books You’re Intimidated By

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For some reason, for years, I’ve rarely been comfortable reading a book longer than 400 pages, unless it was by an author I really liked, and I had to really like them to read that much. But, it was keeping me from so many books, that I decided to train myself out of it, to not be intimidated by larger books.

For the most part, I’ve done that.

But there are a few books I’ve been putting off. Many, if I’m being honest. And it’s for one reason – they intimidate me. They don’t just intimidate me, they downright scare me because they’re so big. My poor dyslexic brain completely ‘nopes’ out the minute it sees the page count, so they stay on my shelves for years, unread and lonely, crying out for some love.

So, I thought I’d use this T5W to talk about them.

  1. American Gods. Neil Gaiman. This is my number 1 most intimidating book. It’s 635 pages long, looks like a brick, and feels heavier than I thought possible. I’m literally scared of it, it’s so big. At some point, I want to tackle it this year, but right now, I’m going to leave it alone on my shelf… Until I watch the American Gods TV series, possibly… maybe… Help.

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2. The entire Mortal Instruments universe. Cassandra Clare. The books are relatively okay lengths for my poor brain, it’s more the size of the series. There’s seemingly hundreds of books, with so many spins off books it’s making my head spin. My best friend also recently told me that there’s a special reading order for these books, which involves intertwining the various series’ involved. To say the least, I’m terrified. I’ll get round to this one eventually, too, as I have all of them on my shelves (or at least, most of them), but right now, I’m going to wait until I have the requisite brain power to even fathom the number of books dedicated to this world.

3. The Edge Chronicles. Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell. I loved Muddle Earth, absolutely adored it, it reminded me a lot of The Discworld, which is one of my absolute favourite series’ ever. The problem with this particular book is that it’s over 1000 pages long. That’s right, one thousand pages. Just thinking about it makes me feel vaguely ill. The only comforting thing about it is that this is actually a bind-up of three novels, so it doesn’t have to be read in one go. Doesn’t mean I’m not scared of picking the book itself up, I don’t think it’ll even fit in my hands!

4. Eragon. Christopher Paolini. I saw the film ages ago and really enjoyed it, but at 528 pages, I start to ‘nope’ out a bit, especially as the rest of the series seems to be around that length as well. But, my love for dragons will eventually win out with this one, I know it. At least, I’m hoping so.

To be honest, I’m also a little scared of not liking this one. It’s such a beloved series, I’m scared to be the one person who didn’t like it. I’m sure I’ll be fine, doesn’t mean I’m not slightly worried though.

5. The Chaos Walking series. Patrick Ness. I’ve never read a book by Ness before, but I recently picked up this entire series a) because it was on offer, and b) because it’s being adapted into a film series, starring Tom Holland. So, I thought I’d give it a go. And then I saw just how freaking long each book was. They take up a lot of space on my shelf, and thinking about reading them is really rather intimidating. This may be a series I read very slowly, over the course of several months. In fact, it almost most definitely will be a series I read very slowly over the course of several months, with lots of comic book breaks.

You’re probably going to laugh at me for being scared of these books, but they are the ones that worry me the most. I’m going to get to them, and probably take a long time to read them, but I’m going to try.

I mean, I’ve already tackled several large books off my TBR this year, including Leigh Bardugo’s Six Of Crows, so really, I’m not doing too badly. Now it’s just a case of getting to these ones and figuring out just when I’m going to have time to tackle them, and how long it’s going to take me.

But right now, I hope you enjoyed this throwback Top 5 Wednesday post. Do you guys have any intimidating books you want to read? Comment down below with a few, or maybe some tips on how you tackle these books, I’d be grateful for the help!

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Posted in about me, blog post, books, words, writing

Disabled Representation In The Media

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*Cross-posted to Emma Bee’s blog*

In recent years, there’s a huge rise in bringing minorities to the fore in all sorts of popular culture. POC, LGBT+ and mentally ill characters have been exploded onto the scene, especially on the book scene. Books like Love, Simon and Six of Crows have gotten critical acclaim, finally letting teenagers see characters like themselves in the media.

But there’s one minority the book, TV and film industry are almost completely ignoring. The disabled community.

I can think of four books which feature disabled characters – The Christmasaurus by Tom Fletcher, which features a young wheelchair user as its main character, The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-time by Mark Haddon, whose main character is autistic, Cinder by Marissa Meyer, where the titular character has a prosthetic arm and leg, and Failure To Communicate by Kaia Sonderby, whose main character has Asperger’s syndrome. And that’s it. In the thousands of books published every month, there’s painfully few published which mention any sort of disability. Even fewer who get it accurate to the actual experience of being disabled. And that has to change.

I’m a firm believer in the fact that everyone on the planet should be able to see themselves in popular media, in books, TV, film, comics, theatre, games, everything like that. And while it’s been fantastic to see the rise in LGBT+ and POC characters in recent years (though there is still a lack of bisexual, pansexual and asexual characters), we are still lagging behind in the disabled characters front.

You’re probably asking yourself why I care so much about this, why I’m so passionate about disability in the media. It’s because I have Asperger’s syndrome, along with dyslexia and dyspraxia. I also probably have a mild case of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. And I can count on one hand how many characters I have read and watched who are like me, who have a disability like mine.

I was only diagnosed with these conditions at 19, but I had always related to the socially awkward characters, the ones who didn’t fit in, who didn’t ‘get’ people. But so many weren’t said to be on the autistic spectrum, were treated terribly (I’m looking at you, Big Bang Theory), or were just simply thrown aside when they stopped being entertaining. The first character I ever found who was like me was Gary Bell, from a TV show called Alphas. Gary was diagnosed as autistic, and I fell for him incredibly hard. Because he was sweet and funny, and most importantly, he was like me.

He didn’t understand verbal cues, he got upset when his routine was interrupted, or things weren’t exactly how he expected them to be, he had special interests which he could talk for hours about, to anyone who would listen. And that was me, that was completely and utterly me, on so many levels. I was so taken with him, he became one of my special interests for a while. To see him on TV every week was an experience I can’t quite describe.

It was like finally finding someone who understood you, who got what it was like to be inside your head. I loved it, I adored it, and I was heartbroken when the show got cancelled, leaving me with no-one to relate to, again. Sure, I could have looked to Bones’ Temperance Brennan, but was she really on the spectrum? She had never been diagnosed. She didn’t have a routine, didn’t freak out when things happened unexpectedly. BBC Sherlock I could argue, thanks to The Hounds Of The Baskerville episode, specifically the scene where Lestrade and John say that they suspect that Sherlock has Asperger’s, that seeing the same faces in unfamiliar places was a good thing for him.

But they were my two optios, until I read Curious Incident, who coincidently loves the original Arthur Conan Doyle books. Personally, I loved Curious Incident, thought it was brilliant and entirely accurate, but to a lot of others on the spectrum, it’s portrayal of autism is entirely inaccurate. So, they’re still without a related character for themselves.

Failure To Communicate is quite frankly the best portrayal I’ve ever found, and the only book about autism which gives its autistic main character a storyline which isn’t revolving entirely around their condition. But it’s so little known, other autistic people haven’t heard of it. It’s been self-published, and so has had very little advertising and is only found on Amazon, so it’s flying under everyone’s radar.

And as for other disabilities, it’s just as bad, if I’m honest.

I thought that with the rise of the Paralympics after London 2012, there would be a change, bring us more characters with prosthetics, characters who use wheelchairs, characters with invisible illnesses, but I was sadly wrong. I had hoped, but it seems that the industry is still ignoring us all.

When will disabled people get to see themselves in the books the read? When will disabled people get to have multiple characters like them to choose from? When will they get to say, to quote The Greatest Showman, ‘This Is Me’?

When authors, agents, and publishers decide to put an effort into creating stories about disabled people, that’s when.

Now, I’m sure there are hundreds of authors out there with stories in their heads, are hastily writing them down now, plotting and planning them, crafting it into the perfect story. But, how many have asked themselves, ‘Is this character cast entirely able-bodied? And does it have to be that way? Why is my default able-bodied, when so many people aren’t?’

How many have asked that question, or have written a disabled character, put in hours of research, making everything as accurate as they possibly can, only for an agent, a publisher turn the book down, or make them change their disabled character into an able-bodied character instead? How many have been told that disabled characters don’t sell, that nobody wants to read a book about a disabled person?

We’ll never know, but I think that that is where we come in, as a reading community. We need to ask for disabled characters, we need to buy everything which includes a disabled character, we need to do the exact same things we did to get more POC and LGBT+ characters to the forefront of pop culture.

Even if you don’t think it’s important, think of the little girl with a prosthetic leg, wishing that there was a heroine with a blade, the teenage boy wishing that there was a hero who saves the day from his wheelchair. Think of all the boys and girls across the world who have been diagnosed with autism, ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia, the deaf and/or blind teenagers, looking to read about someone like them.

To read about them going on adventures, saving the world, creating friends, and generally being human. It means the world, trust me when I say it makes all the difference in a young person’s life, to find someone like them in their chosen form of media. They feel less alone, less like an outcast, less like they aren’t actually a part of the human race.

You wouldn’t want to never see yourself represented in books, so let’s give these people the chance to see themselves, too. Let’s continue the book community’s representation drive and give these people the representation they deserve.

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Posted in about me, blog post, books, emotional, review, words, writing

An Autistic’s Thoughts On To Siri, With Love by Judith Newman

I’ve never made a ‘thought post’ like this before, or a discussion post, or anything like this, simply because I haven’t come across something that I’ve felt I was passionate enough about to write about. But this week, I have found it, and it’s for all the wrong reasons.

If you didn’t know, recently, the autistic community has been outraged by a book called To Siri, With Love by Judith Newman. The book is a memoir from a mother of an autistic boy, Gus, and her thoughts on bringing him up. Sounds like a nice, uplifting read about a mother’s love for her child, doesn’t it?

Wrong.

It’s a disgusting, dehumanizing and downright dangerous book, perpetuating stereotypes and applying 1950’s thought to 2017. I have not read the book myself, only seen quotes from it, but the quotes alone made me feel physically sick to my stomach. If you want to see a live tweet from an autistic author, reviewer and editor reading the whole book, I would check out Kaelan Rhywiol’s twitter thread. This blog post is more of an explanation of just how wrong Newman’s thoughts are, and just how dangerous they can be.

You’re probably wondering what qualifies me to make these observations and explanations. I’m just a 21-year-old blogger, what qualifies me to comment and say that these views are wrong?

For starters, I’m autistic. Aspergers, to be exact. Secondly, I’m a writer myself, and hold a degree in Creative and Professional Writing. And thirdly, I’m a human being on planet Earth who actually has a shred of compassion for others with Aspergers, autism, and everything else to do with neurodivergence.

So, personally, I think I’m a little qualified to talk about this, even if I’m not, I’m putting my opinions out there because people need to see that this book is not in any way acceptable or correct.

For starters, the author has not gotten permission from her son to write this book, so he has had no control at all over the content of this book. This takes away his agency and his chance of privacy. The author happily writes about everything, including this child’s toilet training, and she didn’t seek his permission first.

She sought permission from her neurotypical child, but not her neurodivergent one. It’s not like either boy is a child either, they’re 13 at the time of writing, and 15 at the time of publishing, and therefore more than capable of knowing exactly what they want to be published for the world to read. If that doesn’t already warn you of her opinions on her autistic son’s agency, I don’t know what will.

Newman goes on to talk about how:

“One, every person with ASD I’ve ever met has some deficit in his “theory of mind.” Theory of mind is the ability to understand, first, that we have wishes and desires and a way of looking at the world—i.e., self-awareness.”

Now, I can immediately call ‘twaddle’ on that, because I know that we autistics are more than capable of being self-aware. In fact, we’re probably too self-aware. We all know that others have wishes and desires, we understand that the people around us are people, that everyone has thoughts and feelings and emotions. We’re not robots, we may not totally be able to read a person, but we damn well know that they have emotions and thoughts.

To say that we don’t is so dehumanising, it equates us to robots, to automatons with no understanding of the world around us. We understand the world just fine, and we understand that the people around us do not understand us and that we are seen as ‘outsiders’ because of our neurodivergence. And guess what? It makes us feel awful, we feel scared and anxious, because people actually think that we do not have self-awareness.

This is also followed by the so-called conclusions of an undated study, which states this:

Several brain-imaging studies on autistic kids show a pronounced difference in blood flow in the areas of the brain that are thought to be responsible  for certain kinds of story comprehension—the kind that allows us to know what the characters are feeling, and predict what they might do next.

Which is such blatant ignorance and so utterly wrong I want to cry. Do you know how many writers out there are autistic? How many autistics love stories, TV shows, films, and theatre? You’re reading the words of an avid writer and reader, one who loves the written word loves guessing what’s going to happen next and loves writing about character emotions.

Every autistic I’ve ever known loves to read, or loves watching things on TV and generally loves storytelling. Some other people on my creative and professional writing university course were autistic, and guess what? We didn’t fail the course, we didn’t fail to comprehend the books we were reading, we were able to guess character emotions, discuss what may happen next. And we managed to write our own stories – using well-known characters as well as our own – and we were brilliant at it. I got a 2:1 personally, other’s got First Class Degrees. Could we do that if we couldn’t comprehend, predict and understand characters? I think not.

And, on another note, this study has no date, no additional information, not even a researcher name. So the audience cannot look this study up for themselves and see just how far the researcher was talking out of their backside. Never, ever trust a book which talks about scientific studies unless it has references you can look up yourself. That’s how the ‘vaccines cause autism’ myth still lives on to this day.

The author then goes back to the theory of mind rubbish, say that her son loves music, but can’t perform because:

It doesn’t matter how good he gets; I can’t imagine him performing in any way. Or, rather, before he does, he has to have that thing he has yet to develop, that theory of mind, so that he understands he is doing this for others, not just himself. You can’t be a good performer if you haven’t mastered the concept of audience, of playing for the enjoyment of others.

Excuse you, he does have the theory of mind, and would perfectly understand that he would be performing for others not just himself. I’m sure he could be an amazing performer if he wanted to. Ever heard of Mozart? Yeah, he was autistic. Tim Burton? Not a musician, but a writer and director, autistic. Dan Aykroyd? An actor, who has to convey emotions and have comedic timing, autistic. Screw you if you think autistics cannot perform well on stage and screen, or any other creative venture they wish.

Lack of theory of mind can, quite frankly, kiss my autistic ass.

A few chapters later, we come onto the more damaging rhetoric. The rhetoric I cannot believe was allowed to be published in 2017. I’ll only write about this one point and the most damaging part of this book, so I don’t go on forever, but these points have to be pointed out.

What could be worse than what’s already been said? I hear you ask.

Simple, the idea that autistics with ‘odd’ interests become criminals.

Yes, you read that right. This author, a mother of an autistic child, who she supposedly loves and understands, thinks that autism + odd interests = criminality.

What. The. Actual. HELL is this woman thinking?! Who in their right minds decides to write, with absolutely no evidence whatsoever that autistics with odd interests become criminals? Honestly, who decides to write that in a book?! And what kind of editor actually lets it get through the editing process and allows it to be published?!

What kind of editor lets any of this get published?!

That’s an entirely different story quite frankly, but seriously, who thinks that autistics become criminals because of odd interests? What even counts as an ‘odd interest’ anyway?

Does this author have any idea how much damage she can cause by saying something like this? Does she have any idea how many neurotypical people are going to read this book, believe everything she says, and distrust everyone with autism for the rest of their lives? We are already misunderstood enough, let alone without having the idea of being criminals implanted in people’s brains.

We have special interests, some of them are not as ‘normal’ as others, so what? We like what we like, it doesn’t mean we’re going to start stealing things, murdering people, or anything of the sort. We’re probably going to research our special interest, and if we can, use it to make a career of it. I’m using my love of writing to create a freelance writing business, others may use their great interest in crime and criminals to become a police officer or a criminologist.

We’re not going to start stealing, or anything like that, we understand the damn law and the difference between right and wrong. We are not toddlers with no concept of how the world works.

Finally, I reach the worst point possible. The worst, most disgusting, heinous, part of this book. The most dangerous, abhorrent and vile part of this book. The part that made me literally want to throw up in disgust that someone could possibly ever think this, let alone about her own child.

I’ll put a trigger warning here – if you are at all triggered by eugenics, yes eugenics in 2017, stop reading now. This will do nothing but cause more damage to your mental health than this woman is worth.

Because, Judith Newman, mother of an autistic child she supposedly loves (and I highly doubt she actually loves him at all, judging by this book), wants to sterilise her son so he can’t have children. You read that right, this so-called loving mother, doesn’t think her child should have children, simply because he is autistic.

Don’t believe me, here are the quotes on the subject from the book. Go and get a sick bucket before you read them though:

No, the medical issue that really makes me hyperventilate is fertility. It’s a question all parents of special needs kids wrestle with, whether they speak of it or not. What happens when you discover a lack of social skills isn’t a surefire method of birth control? That the kid you think would be entirely unable to find a partner does just that, though his or her ability to understand what it takes to raise another human being is limited?

Not feeling sick enough? Try another one:

Nobody wants to visualize their child that intimately, but when I think of Gus in a sexual situation, it generally has a Benny Hill soundtrack. And anything with that music does not end well. A vasectomy is so easy. A couple of snips, a couple of days of ice in your pants, and voilà. A life free of worry. Or one less worry. For me. How do you say “I’m sterilizing my son” without sounding like a eugenicist?

You don’t. BECAUSE YOU’RE A EUGENICIST WHO SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED ANYWHERE NEAR ANY NEURODIVERGENT PERSON EVER AGAIN YOU AWFUL, DISGUSTING HUMAN BEING.

First of all – who the hell thinks about their child having sex? Second of all, who is this woman to decide whether her child should be allowed to have children? That is his choice, and his choice alone, it has nothing to do with his mother and her wishes, it’s about his. She has absolutely no right to decide to make that decision for him.

Judith Newman doesn’t think her son is capable of finding someone who could love him, capable of loving someone else, or capable of raising a child. She mocks the idea of her child having sex by comparing the idea to a Benny Hill sketch. It is dehumanising, abhorrent, and so utterly wrong it makes me want to throw up.

There are so many autistic parents out there in the world, so many autistic couples out there raising children. Neurotypical people are not the only ones who create children and raise them. Neurodivergent people do too, and they do it damn well. They certainly do a better job than Judist Newman does, especially when they too have neurodivergent children.

Neurodivergent parents are the best people equipped to raise neurodivergent kids, why? Because we understand what they’re going through, we lived through it ourselves when we were their age. We know how to get them diagnosed, we know what kind of help they’ll need if they need any, and we know how to support and love them just as they are. We do not neglect our children, we do not fail to love them, and we certainly do not need our choice decided for us.

Yes, some of us don’t want kids, I’m one of them, but some of us do. And we do a fantastic job at it. We certainly do better than Judith Newman, because we do not think any of the things she does about her autistic child.

If you got to the bottom of this mammoth post, I applaud you, and I hope you agree with me now if you didn’t already. At the very least, I hope you see why To Siri, With Love is a dangerous book. It is filled with stereotypes, outdated information and just plain horrendous opinions. It should not be on the shelves, it should not be read at all. Whoever greenlit this book, and everyone involved in it should be absolutely ashamed of themselves.

And Judith Newman, you should be the most ashamed out of everyone. How dare you think any of this about your child, how dare you spread this disgusting rhetoric in a world that already misunderstands autism, how dare you make it worse and profit from it.

And how dare you ever open your child up to such ridicule and bullying, you have given everyone he ever meets in his life the perfect ammunition to demean and bully him, to know all of his darkest secrets, and what you really think of him. You may have just ruined his life more than your awful parenting already did. Congratulations.

If Gus Newman or any other autistic person who faces this kind of prejudice ever reads this, I want you to know that you are brilliant. You are human, you are capable of love, you are capable of being loved. Everything in this book is a lie and should be completely ignored.

You can do anything you set your mind to, including parenting.

You are not a criminal.

You are nothing like what this woman purports you to be.

If anyone tries to tell you that you cannot be something, prove them wrong, if anyone tries to take away your autonomy, fight back, if anyone dares to stereotype you, show them exactly how fantastic you are.

There’s a lot of idiots out there in the world, and you are not one of them. You are loved, and intelligent, and a person. Never let anyone take that away from you.

Posted in blog post, changes, nanowrimo, novel writing, short post, words, writer problems, writing

NaNoWriMo Week Three – A Change Of Pace

NaNoWriMo2017 - Week Two (1)

If you saw my previous video, you’ll know that on Thursday I reached 30k, and planned to relax a bit on Friday and watch Punisher, then pick back up on Saturday and continue on with the challenge.

That didn’t happen.

Well, it sort of did, sort of didn’t.

So Friday, I managed six episodes of Punisher, and liveblogged them in a post that will be up once I’ve finished the entire series, but apparently, that entirely threw me off my game. For the last two days, I’ve written sod all, and nearly lost my two-day lead.

I’d always built up to be at least a day ahead of schedule so if weekends like this happened, it wasn’t the end of the world. But to lose it over the course of two days fills me with a lot of anxiety because it means that I don’t have as much of a safety net anymore. I’m a big fan of a writing safety net, in case the worst happens, so to have it be quickly depleted is really worrying.

But, I have a plan.

This week, I’m going to aim to write 2000 words a day. I’ve finally got my usual daily routine back, which has been missing from literally November 1st, so I’m hoping that means I’m going to get some level of normality back.

And with that normality, I also get:

  • The chance to write freely, without having to worry about fitting it into a one hour space, or having to rely entirely on catching up at midnight.
  • The ability to watch the inspiration videos I’ve had saved for weeks now, waiting to be watched, so I can be in the mood for writing.
  • The routine I’ve craved, and thrived upon, for years now. With hopefully fewer interruptions, fewer people in the house to distract me, and just generally more chance at concentrating on what I’m doing, instead of racing to get out as many words as possible in the shortest amount of time.

To say the least, I’m excited about it, and hopeful that I can actually manage to get out the extra 333 words a day like I want. It doesn’t seem like much, but those numbers soon add up, and will hopefully give me back my two day word cushion. At the very least, it’ll get me a bit closer to my goal of finishing the whole of NaNoWriMo early.

There’s only ten days left of this entire challenge, and I’ve never finished on the 30th, I’ve always finished early, and while it’s not a bad thing to finish on the 30th, I don’t really want to break my streak. I’ll be ecstatic if I finish on the 30th, but at the same time, I’d really like to finish early, even if it’s only a day early. It’s a stupid thing to want, especially in such a massive challenge, but yet, I can’t help but want it.

Either way, I’m going to be happy with my progress, and I’m going to hope I’m going to go into overdrive this week. At the very least, I’m going to try.

I feel like this week may be a good week for me, because I’m hopefully getting my routine back, and can rush that little bit less. I can take my time this week. Really put some thought into what I’m doing. Hopefully go to bed earlier. Maybe even dedicate some time to reading, which I have been severely lax in doing this month.

I don’t know, but I have a good feeling about this week. I’m hoping I’m proved right.