Tag Archives: autism

TTT: Top 10 Fictional Novels that Feature Characters with Autism

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  A topic that is usually open to individual variation is offered up for people to post about.  This week’s topic was “Top Ten Books That Feature Characters __________ . ”   Have you read any of these?  What did you think?  Are there any other books you’ve read featuring characters with autism?  Please share!

1. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon – This is, for me, the classic book I think of when I think of ficitional books featuring a character with autism.  In this novel, Christopher, who lives in a world of numbers, patterns, rules and diagrams sets out to solve a murder mystery.2.  The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion – In this novel, Don Tillman, an oddly charming and socially challenged genetics professor, having never been on a date, embarks on The Wife Project, having conceded to the statistical probability that there is someone for everyone.3.  The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stiegg Larson – This is the first book in the trilogy that is a murder mystery, family saga and love story.  Mikael Blomkvist, a crusading journalist, works together with Lisbeth Salandar, a tattooed genius hacker, to get to the bottom of Harriet’s disappearance.  Blomkvist describes Lisbeth as “Asperger’s syndrome, he thought. Or something like that. A talent for seeing patterns and understanding abstract reasoning where other people perceive only white noise.”4.  Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood – Within this dystopian novel there is a university labelled Asperger’s U, where almost every student appears to have Asperger Syndrome or autism in varying degrees of severity and form. People in the university refer to non-autists as neurotypicals and seem to view them as something altogether different (and perhaps inferior) to themselves. The end of the human race is brought about almost entirely by the character Crake, who attended Asperger’s U and was no exception to their rule. He believed that the human race was, by the end of the novel, doomed to extinction simply because of its overuse of resources and the corruption of the social elite.5.  Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen So Odd a Mixture by Phyllis Ferguson Bottomer published in 2007 examines multiple characters in Pride and Prejudice finding autistic traits in 8 of them, 5 in the Bennet family and 3 in the extended family of the Fitzwilliams.  Autism was not a recognized disorder in Jane Austen’s time.   Phyllis Ferguson Bottomer proposes that Jane Austen wrote about people with this condition, without knowing exactly what she was describing.6.  Mindblind by Jennifer Roy – Fourteen year old Nathaniel Clark, is told he is a genius with sky high IQ and perfect SAT scores.  However, he has read that a true genius uses his talent to make a contribution to the world.  Thus, begins his quest.  The character in this novel is inspired by Jennifer Roy’s son who inspired the “Amazing Race” charts and the narrative at the back of the book.7.  The Speed of Dark by Elizabeth Moon – In this science fiction novel, Lou Arrendale is part of a lost generation that did not reap the benefits of being born during the disease-free era.  He has autism and it is part of who he is and his quiet life.  However, a new treatment becomes available.   If he accepts this treatment, will he still be the same person?  How will it affect his life, his relationships, and perceptions of the world?8.  Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco S. Stork Marcelo Sandoval hears music that no one else can hear, part of his autism-like impairment that doctors can’t quite identify.  He attends a special school where his differences have been protected.  However, the summer after his junior year, his father demands that he work in the mail room of his law firm to experience the “real world.”  Here he learns about jealousy, anger, suffering, injustice…9.  Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan – This is a middle grade novel about being an outsider, coping with loss and discovering the true meaning of family.  Willow Chance, a 12 year old genius, has found it hard to connect with anyone except her adoptive parents.  Her life is tragically changed when her parents die in a car crash.  Willow is able to push her way through grief and find a surrogate family.10.  Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine –  Winner of the National Book Award for young people’s literature in 2010, this novel is about Caitlin, an eleven year old girl with Asperger’s.  In her world, everything is black and white, good or bad.  Anything in the middle is confusing.  When her older brother passes away, she looks up the definition of closure.  In her search for it, she discovers a messy beautiful world.