What do you do when you wake up in your mid-40s and realize you've been living a lie your whole life? Do you tell? Or do you keep it to yourself?
Laura James found out that she was autistic as an adult, after she had forged a career for herself, married twice and raised four children. Odd Girl Out tracks the year of Laura's life after she receives a definitive diagnosis from her doctor, as she learns that 'different' doesn't need to mean 'less' and how there is a place for all of us, and it's never too late to find it.
Laura draws on her professional and personal experiences and reflects on her life in the light of her diagnosis, which for her explains some of her differences; why, as a child, she felt happier spinning in circles than standing still and why she has always found it difficult to work in places with a lot of ambient noise.
Although this is a personal story, the book has a wider focus, too, exploring reasons for the lower rate of diagnosed autism in women and a wide range of topics including eating disorders and autism, marriage and motherhood.
This memoir gives a timely account from a woman negotiating the autistic spectrum, from a poignant and personal perspective.
©2017 Laura James (P)2017 Macmillan Digital Audio
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Jill SG on 03-10-17

Fascinating, even if you don't have autism

I don't have autism (or at least I don't think I do), but I do have people in my life who have Asperger's (aka high-functioning autism).

My friends and family with Asperger's are wonderful, intelligent, often successful at work and sometimes have lifelong partners, but most people, including me, simply do not comprehend some of their behaviours or challenges. And in many cases, I don't think they even do!

This personal account resonates so much. I kept finding myself thinking, 'Oh yes, that's just what XXXX does', and then Laura often goes on to explain the WHY behind the behaviour.

So it's not just a personal account. It's also informative, helpful and, yes, the cliched inspirational. The inspiration comes from the fact that Laura learns to accept and deal with the diagnosis, and that both she and those in her life learn that just because people with Asperger's do things differently, that doesn't mean it's wrong. In fact, it can be often enlighteningly right.

This has certainly helped me gain perspective on my friends and family with Asperger's, but I also feel that it would help women who may not have Asperger's, but who have always felt slightly on the fringes of life, not quite sure why they don't fit in. So in that regard, it's not just about Asperger's so much as society's need to crowbar women into preconceived ideas of how women should act.

Thank you so much for writing this, Laura!

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By C E Kenton on 07-02-18

Odd women of the world

This is a wonderfully written book, a biography that is tenderly told and informative. Autism, for girls and women, is a tough one, not because we are autistic but because we were missed. Laura captures that so perfectly. Relating to people is a difficulty for us but Laura’s life is very relatable. Even if you’re neuro-typical you can really get to know what life can be like for us atypical folk.
My ASD review: well written and easy flow, intense empathy can happen but with balanced (wonderful) feelings of shared experiences.
The narrator, Louiza Patikas, captures Laura’s voice so well, she is clear and has an ease with the emotions in the book. My ASD review: Clear musical voice, not shouty or too high/low pitched, not annoying or nasal. Lovely way of balancing performance and narration.

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