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We're Not Broken

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Member Reviews

Thank you to NetGalley and Mariner Books for an advanced electronic copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

In this nonfiction book, the author, who is on the autism spectrum, discusses different aspects of the ASD experience, from jobs to education and housing and relationships. The author shares that people have preconceived notions about what autism looks like, without understanding that autism isn't just one thing. This is an interesting read for anyone who wants to learn more about the ASD experience from the perspective of someone who is living it
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This was well worth reading - I'd recommend it for anyone who wants to learn more about the ways people live with autism.  Reading the first chapter, I felt like I was reading an intro-level primer, and almost put it aside as not saying anything I didn't already know.  I'm glad I kept reading for a few chapters, because I ended up learning from the book after all.  Good writing style.
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We're Not Broken
Changing the Autism Conversation
by Eric Garcia
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Health, Mind & Body | Nonfiction (Adult)
Pub Date 03 Aug 2021   |   Archive Date 03 Aug 2021

As a School Nurse for a population that falls on the spectrum, I look for ways to improve my interactions with the students in my care.  I jumped at the opportunity to read for review We're Not Broken with hopes of becoming a stronger support person for them.  Inside I found helpful information within a somewhat biased viewpoint and found myself waiting for the inclusion of others POV.  It fell short in this area and at times I thought this would have been a great first draft instead of finished copy.  Many thanks to Netgalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for the opportunity to read for review this ARC.
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An interesting and unique take on autism, author Eric Garcia mixes personal stories, interviews, and scientific studies to demonstrate what makes people autistic and how society should be taking the stance that autistics aren't broken - society is set up for the majority instead of the minorities and their differences = which is why autistic people often need accommodations for school and work. The book explores a number of themes, such as how gender impacts treatment and diagnosis and the surprising similarities between autistics and gender identity (and how often people are both).

The book is very interesting, but at times there is a little too much of a scientific leaning versus what I anticipating being more of a fun/funny look at what makes people autistic and what we can do to support neurodiversity. That said, it's a minor issue, and for the most part the book was engaging and easy enough to read. I would recommend it to anyone who is struggling with whether they are autistic or to explore what their autism means, is there are a lot of relatable antidotes and information to help understand why autistics are the way they are, and how it doesn't make them bad, it just makes them different.
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A well-written exploration of what being autistic looks like. As a teacher, I am always trying to learn more about the different populations and groups that I interact with, and this book taught me a great deal about the many different issues that autistic people deal with. 
I felt that this book had an engaging, conversational tone, and I appreciated the many different studies referenced, as well as the different stories shared throughout the chapters.
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As the mother of an autistic son I appreciated this book. I especially loved that this is an ownvoices book. I highly recommend it!

Thank you to the Publisher and Netgalley for the advanced e-reader copy. All opinions expressed are my own.
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While the premise of this book is engaging and it is always refreshing for an OWNVOICES take on Autism, I found the book long winded and wasn't able to finish. 

Mr. Garcia has clearly done a lot of research and shared a lot of his own experiences, his vulnerability is to be admired. However, better editing could have made this a more concise book that would ensure better readability. Additionally, the inclusion of individuals OWN stories instead of mentions of individuals could have enhanced the book as well.

I applaud the content and want to love it, but the execution wasn't as well done as I hoped.
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This isn't my usual kind of pick but I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Garcia does exactly what he sets out to do - change the conversation on autism. I loved the everyday minutiae that Garcia picked through to illustrate small challenges and microaggressions that people with autism endure; and I was interested to learn more about the history of autism which, frankly, I didn't know a lot about. I also enjoyed the way Garcia structures the text, weaving in personal stories of autistic people, their parents and carers, and organizations who have helped or hurt our understanding of autism. He did well to include his own experience as an autistic person without turning the work into a memoir. I definitely recommend this book to anyone looking to grow their understanding or change their perception of what life with autism looks like - Garcia notes that this work isn't exhaustive and there is still more to do or learn, and you can find many recommendations and suggestions within his study!
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Thank you to netgalley for providing an e-galley for review. We're Not Broken by Eric Garcia is a different take on autism in America, namely because it's written by an autistic person, collecting different autistic stories. The most interesting and thought-provoking chapter, for me, was the chapter on gender identity. That autism resources still are sectioned off from different gender identities, instead of combing forces is sadly typical of most  entities.  There was a lot of information dumping in the early chapters that made it difficult to follow and process. A person was introduced and then there was a tangent about the policies that were created, when I really want to know more about the person. The book read as uneven to me. Some chapters were very strong, while others were not.
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As a special education teacher, this was such an important book to read. I had training/classes when getting certified about teaching students with autism but it was quite refreshing to hear about perspectives from people with the disorder, not neurotypical people trying to be advocates. Highly recommended!
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Still reading, but I am really enjoying and learning from this book, which amplifies the voices and experiences of autistic people, and includes the voices of those who are both "high" and "low" functioning.
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As someone who has been both good friends and romantic partners with autistic adults   I found this compilation of autistic adults' stories with Eric Garcia's own story to be detailed, varied (as autistic people are), and with helpful ideas and perspectives for people on and off the spectrum.
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I have very mixed feelings about this book. I spent a lot of time trying to finish it, but I ended up only skimming the second half of the book, because it just felt SO LONG. The author gets carried away a lot and I got lost in the longwindedness. He talks about how some people are very badly misinformed about autism and the glaring flaws in the help autistic people get, the author promises that there's a pretty easy solution without ever giving it. Which annoyed me because we are learning how to REALLY help and advocate. We're also told we'll get stories from other people with autism, but get glimpses instead. I didn't really learn much about them or how autism has affected their lives. 
Overall, it feels like the author just bogs the reader down with facts instead of amplifying other autistic voices. I was really disappointed!

*Thanks to NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for providing me with an ARC of this title in exchange for an honest review.*
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This was a well-researched, empathetic, and personal look at autism from a journalist who is himself autistic. Also a third-generation Mexican American, Garcia gave a fantastic primer on the different intersections of identity that come into play with autism, looking at race, gender, sexuality, and more. He talked candidly and with honesty about his own past missteps, even as someone who has autism, offering a model for growth and increased understanding. This growth is even more important to consider as we think about how (relatively) quickly nomenclature and verbiage around disabilities in general and autism in particular change. He interviewed a diverse group of autistic people, all with a range of different support needs, which a lesser journalist/writer (or even more egregiously, someone not in the community themselves) would have found it easy to not do. My one qualm is one that I'm not even sure is one with the book itself, or my mood, but there were some moments where I felt like the writing could have been tightened up a bit.

It was especially poignant to read this as disability rights are in the news in a big way, with one of the most famous pop stars in the world fighting to regain control of her own life after over a decade of having decisions made for her by people who financially benefit from those decisions. I'm so frustrated and angered that this is the current situation, but I'm hopeful that we are moving towards disability justice with books like Garcia's and other texts like Alice Wong's edited Disability Visibility. I would highly recommend for anyone interested in learning more about autism from autistic folks directly.

Thanks to HMH and Netgalley for the advance copy in exchange for an honest review.
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We're Not Broken
Changing the Autism Conversation
by Eric Garcia
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
 You Like Them
Health, Mind & Body | Nonfiction (Adult)
Pub Date 03 Aug 2021   |   Archive Date 03 Aug 2021

As a retired school teacher and now the director of a small library I was excited to start reading this book about autism.  However, I thought the author was rather long-winded- I think the book would have been more enjoyable to read with better editing and execution.  Thanks to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and NetGalley for the ARC of the book.  I will not be purchasing it for our library.
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I really liked the idea behind this book as someone who works day to day with people with autism. However, I found that actual writing to be a bit long winded and not particularly engaging. I found myself wishing that it had been better edited and executed, as I think I could have really enjoyed what the author had to say and his experience.
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As a person knowing an autistic child, I absolutely loved the research which validated many areas for me. This book is compelling and educational at the same time. The author totally tackled the myths of autism and corrects our perceptions. This could be an educational template for all those who want to know the why's and how's to move forward with autistic individuals.
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This book is very important for whoever works with autistic people and/or their families. It is important to respect autistic views and inputs in any decisions about them and in this book the writer highlighted also that might have been true 20-30 years ago, it is not nowadays. His own carrier is an excellent example of this. I will suggest it to my supervises and all the families I work with. 
One great point for this book is that the author was really open-minded and reported various angles without judgment (a real journalist). He also divided the book into chapters by subjects: very functional given the amount of information reported.
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This book did exactly what it was meant to do- change the conversation on Autism. Even as a young special education teacher equipped with an ASD endorsement on my teaching certificate, I learned so much. I learned the history of autism diagnoses, the gender gap, current challenges, etc. You name it- the book addressed it! Broken into different sections, this book hit all aspects of today’s world with the connection to Autism and people living with it. Definitely a great educational read!
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I was shocked to see so many negative reviews of We're Not Broken!  As an autistic woman, for me this book felt like a breath of fresh air.  Garcia delves into so many of the challenges that face autistic people in the US, as well as looking at how the history of autism research has impacted perceptions of autism today.  Garcia's central premise--that focusing on curing autism, or getting autistic people to act more neurotypical, is dehumanizing and focusing on the wrong thing--is a much-needed point.  It was also wonderful to see the perspectives of so many different autistic people, from so many different backgrounds.  I highly recommend this book for anyone who is autistic, works with autistics, or knows someone who is autistic (which, frankly, is pretty much anyone)!
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