A wonderfully bittersweet, funnystrange account of living unwittingly with Asperger’s syndrome.
It is only after a crack-up, at the age of 55, that Tom Cutler gets the diagnosis that allows him to make sense of everything that’s come before, including his weird obsessions with road-sign design, magic tricks, spinning tops, and Sherlock Holmes. The final realisation that he has Asperger’s allows a light to dawn on the riddles of his life: his accidental rudeness, maladroitness, Pan Am smile, and other social impediments. But, like many with Asperger’s, Tom possesses great facility with words, and this shines through this exceptionally warm, bright, and moving memoir, which is alternately strikingly revealing, laugh-out-loud funny, and achingly sad.
Tom explores his eccentric behaviour from boyhood to manhood, examines the role of autism in his strange family, and investigates the scientific explanations for the condition. He recounts his anxiety and bewilderment in social situations, his sensory overload, his strange way of dressing, and his particular trouble with girls. He shares his autistic adventures in offices, toyshops, backstage in theatres, and in book and magazine publishing houses, as well as on — or more often off — roads.
‘What makes this book extraordinary … is not the autism of its author but Cutler’s ability to articulate subtle shades of feeling in prose that feels both rigorously precise and uproariously funny. By its unexpectedly heart-wrenching conclusion, Keep Clear has delivered the readers into a world transformed by being glimpsed through the eyes of another – the reward of all superb writing.’
Steve Silberman, The Spectator
View all reviews
‘A British humour writer chronicles his experiences with Asperger’s syndrome, for which he didn’t receive a diagnosis until he was 55, and explores some of the science associated with the condition … [T]he meat of the book is Cutler’s detailed, highly entertaining examination of his life on the spectrum, and his unique brand of comedy is evident throughout … An intimate embrace of Asperger’s full of both melancholy and salty humour.’
‘Honest, witty and informative, this is an important and valuable book on many levels … If you have a friend or family member who is on the Autism Spectrum, this book will go a long way toward helping to understand the immense effort it requires to try to fit into a ‘neurotypical’ world.’
The Sherlock Holmes Journal
‘Cutler’s memoir is a heartwarming account of his life through the lens of his obsessions and eccentricities.’
Praise for A Gentleman's Bedside Book:
‘The perfect stocking filler for the man who has everything.’