Gillian Helfgott, author of Love You to Bits and Pieces: Life With David Helfgott
Fitting in is always the huge challenge for an Aspie. Here is a journey that is honest, enlightening, moving and full of laughter. I really could not put it down. A must read!
From the foreword by Tony Attwood, Clinical Psychologist and author of the best-selling The Complete Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome
Colin's autobiography is engaging and informative, but is also itself a work of art.
Liane Holliday Willey, author of Pretending to be Normal and Safety Skills for Asperger Women
Thompson's vividly told autobiography celebrates this unique man's life with wonderful photos, artwork and brilliant stream of consciousness writing that reminds me of happy go lucky soap bubbles popping in spurts of bright bits and colors, eloquent and shiny, ever alluring and compelling in their rainbow brilliance even when the narratives are indeed sad and tragic. Fitting In is a most astoundingly brilliant autobiography.
Adam Elliot, animator, writer, director and producer of films including Mary and Max and the Academy Award-winning Harvie Krumpet
When I grow up I want to have Colin Thompson's life. A most glorious bittersweet soup; eccentric, irreverent, philosophical, nourishing and utterly fascinating. The minutia of his rich and varied life is as profound as it is funny. A confirmed and proud Aspie, Colin's life testifies that those with Asperger's can have rich and rewarding lives with a fecundity that so often exceeds the norm.
Susan Dunne, author of A Pony in the Bedroom
Quirky, funny, sometimes painful, sometimes joyful and above all honest, Fitting In by Colin Thompson is a moving memoir of being different in a conformist post-war world. It ranges from the hilarious to the deeply sad, with a broad cast of heroes and villains. Above all, Fitting In is about finding your own way in a world where the odds are stacked against you and ultimately finding redemption through an amazing artistic talent.
Author and illustrator Thompson's autobiography/memoir displays all the wonder, complexity, joy and sadness found in his more than 70 children's books (The Short and Incredibly Happy Life of Riley, etc.). Now in his 70s, Thompson looks back on a life filled with numerous ups and downs, including his turbulent youth in 1940s England ("Normal people gloried in the simple joys of life... I wanted that"); his time as an art student in the 1950s and 1960s discovering jazz at the famous Ealing Club; and living in the Outer Hebrides as a ceramicist in the 1970s. He discovers that he "would never fit in to the mainstream... nor did I want to." During these times, Thompson experienced major bouts of depression, resulting in hospital stays that he describes in searing detail ("People aged like compost, their colours faded, their hopes withered"). He is brutally honest about how his depression contributed to the endings of his first two marriages. In 1990, he wrote his first book, moved to Australia, and finally found happiness. The memoir is filled with numerous photographs from Thompson's life as well as many wonderful illustrations, including a chapter explaining, with both sensitivity and humor, his late-life diagnosis of Asperger's syndrome and what it means to his grandson.
Take one small boy; add manic depression, three wives, three daughters, two divorces, amazing creative talent, and Asperger's syndrome and you have the memoir of Colin Thompson who invites the reader to explore his almost-unbelievable life from past to present -- though not necessarily in that order. Filled with family photographs and mesmerizing illustrations personally drawn by the Colin, readers will step inside the life and mind of a truly extraordinary man who has lived a truly extraordinary life. Impressively well written, organized and presented, Fitting In is an exceptional memoir that is very highly recommended for community and academic library American Biography collections. For personal reading lists it should be noted that Fitting In is also available in a Kindle edition ($14.99).
Children's author and illustrator Thompson's memoir is beautifully designed and illustrated. His style is distinct, bitter, angry, and funny. By the author's own admission the title is deliberately disorganized-he puts down episodes from his life as they come to him. A lot of the focus is on Thompson's various stays in mental institutions, for reasons he never makes entirely clear, and on his struggles with his distant mother. Promotional materials concentrate on Thompson's Asperger's syndrome, and except for a multipage spread in the middle of the book, the work hardly touches on this aspect of his life. Thompson, in fact, never actually indicates when, or if, he was diagnosed with Asperger's. All in all the book is a bit of a mess, and often a depressing one at that. VERDICT The haphazard nature of this memoir charms for the first 60 pages or so, and then the content begins to grate. A more standard organization of events would have been welcome.