Friday, August 29, 2014

Raising Cubby by John Elder Robison

Raising Cubby by John Elder Robison

Author: John Elder Robison
Publisher: Anchor Canada (this edition)
Publish Date: March 18th 2014 
Page Amount: 384 Pages
Price: $14.95 Paperback
ISBN:0385670389 (ISBN13: 9780385670388)

"Part parenting guide, part courtroom drama, part catalog of the travails and surprising joys of life with the high-functioning form of autism called Asperger's syndrome, this memoir will offer all parents--but particularly fathers--a lot to think about. . . . [A] touching, sympathetic and often insightful book." --The New York Times
John Elder Robison wasn't a model child. He was awkward in school; he ran away from home; he threatened people with knives. As an adult, he learned he had Asperger's syndrome, which explained a lot, and his youthful shenanigans made for riotous stories. But it wasn't so funny when his son, Cubby, started having trouble in school and seemed like he might be headed the same way. Not that John was a model dad, either. When Cubby 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 chores. He ditched Good Night, Moon for stories he made up about nuclear-powered horses. Cubby turned out to have his father's intelligence but also some of his resistance to authority. At seventeen he was brilliant enough in chemistry to make military-grade explosives, which led to a raid by law enforcement officers. That woke John up to another thing he and Cubby shared: Asperger's syndrome.
This is an unforgettable memoir about a different boy being raised by a different father--and learning to cope with, even celebrate, the difference." (Goodreads Description)

Cubby had a very spunky, energetic and enthusiastic childhood. Cubby was curious as a child, often wondering where certain objects came from and why he was expected to do the tasks that every child should learn how to perform. Cubby had an interest in everything - from trains all the way to the Run of the Bulls in Spain. Cubby's mind was eager to explore his surroundings and learn more about the place that he lived in. As Cubby grew, his father had taken him on several adventures, from touring train yards, running along the side of the road, gymnastics, and even a "cow parade", as Cubby would put it.  But as Cubby grew, so did his interests. Eventually, he ended up having interest in the subject of chemistry. Cubby is so involved in his experiments that he actually ends up taking a college level chemistry class while he is still in high school! The local government ends up seeing the various videos that Cubby had been posting online of his experiments. The problem is that the government had wanted him arrested, but Cubby was doing nothing wrong and had no criminal intent in any of his laboratory work. Cubby's family finds themselves swept away in a lawsuit and several house searches, and this forces them to re-evaluate their past, present, and their future.

I am learning that throughout my blogging journey, I love to read memoirs and Raising Cubby helped me to realize this. Cubby's story, as well as his father's journey, create something that can only be described as marvelous.

One thing that I did not mention about Cubby and his father is that they are both "Aspergian". For those of you that don't know, Aspergers is on the Autism Spectrum, and has several different characteristics, which can be read about here. Because of this, both Cubby and his father have special challenges and obstacles to overcome, throughout the turn of the story. In fact, at the time that Cubby was growing up, Aspergers was not even reality. No one knew about Aspergers until later in Cubby and his father's lives. Many of the difficulties that the two were having were not being addressed correctly.

I loved that this book was a memoir of a child who was growing up, learning, and overcoming his challenges.  I loved that the memoir was about pushing Cubby to do his best no matter the situation, idea, challenge or obstacle. This memoir was so uplifting to me, and I look on my life, as well as others around me with a new light.  This memoir was about living and doing, learning and fighting hard. That is what I loved about it.

This memoir was about fighting for what was right. Even when Cubby didn't realize it, he was fighting for an answer and for understanding. His father was fighting for an answer. His mother was fighting for Cubby's well being and education. I loved that everyone in this story was fighting for something, and fighting for change. 

I loved the fact that the reader was able to learn a lot about Cubby, and essentially, to watch him grow up and blossom into who he is today. The reader gets to not only see Cubby grow up, but also how Cubby's father deals with the changes to Cubby's life while also trying to do the best for Cubby. I loved being able to hear "Cubbyisms" and learn about all of the unique events that he had experienced in his life. Allowing the reader into Cubby's life was one of the best ways for the reader to connect with Cubby and his story.

By the time that the legal matters resurface in the memoir, every reader will be rooting for Cubby to win the trial.

I also want to say that I appreciate that the memoir did not jump into the process of trials and searches right away. By doing so, I would say it created a type of suspense, but also motivation for any reader to finish the memoir. I loved getting to know about Cubby before all of the legal troubles became reality. To be honest, I was so invested in the memoir that I almost forgot that Cubby, at the "current" time in the memoir, was involved in a legal trial! I loved that I was able to get that invested in this story.

Anyone that enjoys a memoir will definitely enjoy Raising Cubby. I would even consider this novel Young Adult and Teen appropriate, and Raising Cubby would be a great way to experiment with a memoir, or just to pick up a nice, easy, yet eventful read. I really enjoyed this novel, and I hope to be able to hear more of Cubby's story in the future.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.


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