Review Blog

May 30 2013

Colin Fischer by Ashley Edward Miller and Zack Stentz

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Penguin Books, 2013. ISBN 9780141343990. 229p.
Well recommended. Early secondary and all interested teachers and parents. This is an amazingly important book for all parents, teachers, carers and people involved with Asperger's syndrome, although I understand it is now covered by the Autism syndrome. Colin Fischer has Asperger's syndrome and this is his first day at high school in LA. His parents are anxious and when he returns home shortly after leaving and is wet through they are very concerned. He has been bullied again. Colin's younger brother Danny is irritated with Colin and completely misunderstands him. Colin thinks about the issues at school and we, as the reader hear his internalising. Regularly, there are additions in darker type explaining the background to what has happened just before. These are extremely fascinating, enlightening and detailed explanations giving the reader an insight into how Colin perceives the incident. The reader is given information which sometimes preempts and always explains the thoughts Colin has at that moment. He has a chart, which is on the front cover, to determine the mood of the person he is with. It is illuminating to read what he is thinking. Colin understands so much about human behaviour but is unable to verbally react quickly or in a way we might expect. His foibles include not wanting to be touched. His parents understand this and his responses are sometimes humorous, as with his Dad, and then sad as with Stan (p208). There is the bully Wayne and a mystery to solve. Colin achieves this and much to his parents' surprise, he and Wayne (the former bully) bounce on Colin's trampoline as almost friends. Melissa has always accepted him for himself but he realises she is growing into a very attractive young woman. Colin solves the gun incident with clarity and Sherlock Holmes stealth.
It's an amusing, intriguing and cleverly crafted story. Colin is a believable and a curiously clever young man showing that life is not always as we see it but worth the involvement. A great read.
Sue Nosworthy

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