To Siri With Love by Judith Newman
To Siri With Love takes you into the lives of Judith and her family, including her young son Gus who has autism. It was a real eye-opener for me. Although I understand the basic elements of how life would be very different with an autistic child, this gave deeper insight into the levels of that. It is true that when you meet a person who has autism, you have met one person with autism. To my knowledge, I haven’t ever met anyone who does, so it’s a little harder to comprehend. I would imagine though, that the parents of those with autism would have many of the same struggles and dilemmas Judith explains in this book, such as when to let them walk to school by themselves, and stop following along 10 metres back, keeping an eye out.
It’s a very interesting read. While she doesn’t swell on each topic for too long, she says what needs to be said, and each part adds to the whole book so well. You get to see a lot of different insights into this family, plus she covers the science, the emotion, the highs and lows, just never in a “feel sorry for me” kind of way.
I wouldn’t say this book is “sad” by any stretch of the imagination, it’s just real, a little raw, and ever so true, that is makes you empathetic towards her and her family, and in turn, everyone around you. As autism is never very visible at first glance, and you can never see anyone’s struggles through their eyes, you sort of get the reminder that everyone around you is fighting their own battles too.
Judith orinigally became well known for an article she wrote about how Siri helped her family, since Gus asks so many questions. He was able to engage and interact with Siri to his heart's content. This book includes a bit about that, but it's just a few pages in the whole book. If you liked the article, this would certainly appeal to you though.
I would highly recommend this to anyone. Whether you know someone with autism, or you don’t, it is very enlightening. It’s also a quick and interesting read, so can be easily consumed on a weekend if you want.
Thank you to the team at Hachette for my copy of To Siri With Love