Exiting Nirvana: A Daughter's Life with Autism

by Clara Claiborne Park | Health, Mind & Body |
ISBN: 0316691178 Global Overview for this book
Registered by Alainas of New Orleans, Louisiana USA on 11/23/2003
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9 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by Alainas from New Orleans, Louisiana USA on Sunday, November 23, 2003
Reprising her own now classic work The Siege, which covered the early years of her autistic daughter's life, Clara Claiborne Park gives us a moving, eloquent portrait of Jessy as an autistic adult-still struggling with language, with hypersensitivities and obsessions, and with the social interactions that most of us take for granted, but at the same time achieving more than her parents could have hoped for, becoming an accomplished artist, and growing into an active member of her family and community.

Journal Entry 2 by Alainas from New Orleans, Louisiana USA on Friday, January 9, 2004
Mailed to Ealisaid in a trade. Happy reading! Look closely at the paintings this girl does. They are truly remarkable!!

Journal Entry 3 by Ealisaid from Pinehurst, North Carolina USA on Tuesday, January 20, 2004
Received in the mail this afternoon. Thanks so much Alainas!

Journal Entry 4 by Ealisaid from Pinehurst, North Carolina USA on Friday, January 23, 2004
Finished reading this evening.

I originally wanted to read "Exiting Nirvana" because my youngest son, who is age 10 at present, is a "high functioning autistic". I'm always interested in reading something that may give me insights into the way he thinks.

"Exiting Nirvana" is a mother's account of her autistic daughter, Jessy, and Jessy's life from her teens until the time the book was was published, when Jessy was in her early 40s. I found that the way the chapters of the book were presented was a little bit odd. Instead of starting with Jessy's teens and moving forward, showing her progress that way, the author divides the chapters into aspects of Jessy's behavior and life: i.e., the way Jessy talks and the ways she thinks. I found that some of the chapters seemed to be haphazardly written. Ideas didn't seem to flow easily from one paragraph to the next and were hard to follow. The author spent a lot of time discussing Jessy's obsession with numbers and this portion was especially confusing. I wasn't sure exactly what point the author was trying to get across...other than the fact that Jessy was obsessed with numbers and tended to look at the world that way. Later chapters, however, were quite well written, and I think the author had easier time discussing Jessy's life when Jessy herself was easier for the author to understand.

In many ways I thought the book was too short. I wanted to know more about Jessy, particularly about how she interacted with her father and her siblings, which the author barely touches on. We know that Jessy has siblings, but how Jessy fit in with them and interacted with them is rarely mentioned. There is a brief mention of Jessy moving the family cat's water dish, but that was the only clue that the family had any pets, so I was also left wondering how Jessy interacted with the family's pets.

While I do think that "Exiting Nirvana" is helpful in understanding the way an autistic mind works, and is interesting to read for that alone, it was only of minimal help to me in understanding my own son, probably because I already know him so well and because he and Jessy are so different. Jessy's autism is much more pronounced than my son's (he doesn't fit the DSM definition of autism at all), and the similarities between the two of them are no more apparent than the similarities between any two people, which I suppose tells me that autism is a widely-used label, that it can encompass many behaviors, and that even with such a label, no two people are alike.

Released on Friday, June 04, 2004 at 2004 MISC. Bookbox in Bookbox, postal release USA.

Placed in Janaqq's 2004 Misc. Bookbox

Journal Entry 6 by LFL_CedarPark from Austin, Texas USA on Monday, July 19, 2004
This looks very informative. I will read it and pass it along. THANKS

Journal Entry 7 by jamesmum from Richmond, British Columbia Canada on Wednesday, October 6, 2004
Hmm - I might just have to snag this one and read it before putting it in the m-bag...

Journal Entry 8 by jamesmum at on Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Released 18 yrs ago (10/19/2004 UTC) at



Journal Entry 9 by libragirl from Christchurch, Canterbury New Zealand on Saturday, December 11, 2004
Arrived in New Zealand

Journal Entry 10 by TrattorieOCZ from Christchurch, Canterbury New Zealand on Sunday, February 6, 2005
Received on the bookshelf at TrattorieOCZ

Journal Entry 11 by futurecat from Christchurch, Canterbury New Zealand on Friday, February 18, 2005
Picked up from the Trattorie bookshelf today. Autism is a condition which has always fascinated me (and which I have some personal contact with), so I'm hoping this book can give me an insight from another perspective.

^ ^

Journal Entry 12 by futurecat from Christchurch, Canterbury New Zealand on Tuesday, March 22, 2005
A really amazing book - it's a fascinating look at life with an autistic teenager and adult, as well as a glimpse into her mind (although her mother admits that even after 40 years, she doesn't *really* understand what's going on inside Jessy's head). Think I might check out some of the "further reading" listed in the back.

Oh, and the paintings are wonderful! I wish there were more of them included in the book.

Reserved for release at the NZBC Convention.

^ ^

Journal Entry 13 by futurecat from Christchurch, Canterbury New Zealand on Friday, March 25, 2005
Put out on the table at the Friday night welcome function for the NZBC convention - no idea who ended up with it!

^ ^

Journal Entry 14 by rarsberry from Christchurch, Canterbury New Zealand on Friday, March 25, 2005
I saw this book in FutureCat's box and picked it up.
Read the Foreward.

Later at the Convention welcome dinner I found this book again and quickly took it off the table and into my bag.
While waiting for my turn on the computer I continued to read the book.

Through my mum I also have an interest of autism. I will read this and then see if she wants to read it after me, as she has been learning more about it lately. :o)

This is a well travelled book.

Journal Entry 15 by rarsberry from Christchurch, Canterbury New Zealand on Monday, September 12, 2005
I started this book and got a few chapters into it, but couldn't seem to get any further.
The book got put down and others were read.
Maybe one day in the future I will try again to read it.
It has now been posted to Hellie, so it can travel a bit further. :o)

Journal Entry 16 by Hellie from South Shields, Tyne and Wear United Kingdom on Sunday, September 18, 2005
Thanks... I am hopoing I wil find this book both interesting and useful. My best friend's youngest son who is 12 has Asperger's syndrome, and dueing the course of my work, I have wmet children with Asperger's and autism....

Thnaks for sharing - more when I have read it....

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