Saturday, 10 January 2009

From Zaftig to Aspie - D.J.Kirkby

Zaftig to Aspie is a remarkable memoir of a remarkable life. The richly evocative descriptions of an ostensibly idyllic, hippy childhood slowly succumbing to the vagaries of lust, greed, and jealousy are gripping from the start; when you realise they are mirrored by the author's own struggles first at school, then with her family and finally with the realisation of her own autism they become both poignant and significant.

Growing up 'indulged' (to the extent that she was given free reign to 'plash in puddles') and 'showered with loving attention', enjoying a gentle innocence in which the smell of marijuana evokes memories of 'peaceful happy childhood moments’, the young D.J. Kirkby is nevertheless overwhelmed by such simple things as the antics of skunk kittens, so much so that 'tears welled in my eyes until they brimmed and ran down my cheeks'; she finds herself unable to cope with the playground noise of the children at her new school; she is a girl who weeps uncontrollably at her father's wedding not out of any sense of sorrow, but in response to the deep sensory overload of the emotions invoked by such an occasion. At times, the confusion of her over-sensitive perceptions seem almost akin to synaesthesia.

The writing style is flowing and engaging, punctuated intermittently with poetry and with a neat line in understatement and self-deprecation. I can recommend this book unreservedly – it is a personal story with important echoes for society general. As the author herself says: “Everyone struggles sometimes but what matters is the attitude you have about it. If you want to get on and do things and are willing to work at it, then you will succeed.”



The book is being launched at Jardin Du Vin in Rosies, Southsea, Hampshire on January 26th and you can obtain a ticket here. Denyse Kirkby's blog - Chez Aspie - is always worth a read, as - of course - is the blog of the book.

16 comments:

Kitty said...

Thanks for the recommendation - I have made a note of that. x

The Dotterel said...

It's a fascinating read, Kitty.

DJ Kirkby said...

Thank you so much for this wonderful review.

Brother Tobias said...

This on my list now - but yours is on its way, so that comes first!

Gadjo Dilo said...

I didn't know one could realise one's own autism. Sounds interesting.

Sarah said...

This sounds like a fascinating and moving book. I will look out for it. Thanks for your lovely comment on my illustratrion. I have just enjoyed looking at four of your posts and will be back to look at more. Nice to meet you.
The flying granny is hilarious-I hope she was alright! Bad dog.

Extra Virgin said...

Thanks, will def. read it. Noticed you're now a Published Author (jealousy go away!). Well done and when will it be on the shelves?

ExpatKat said...

ks for dropping by my blog. This book sounds terrific. As the parent of a child with mild sensory issues, I can understand these social struggles. Sounds like a 'must read.'

ExpatKat said...

Sorry. Typed too fast. That should ofcourse read "Thanks."(not ks!)

The Dotterel said...

It's been my pleasure, DJ!

I hope it's worth the wait, Brother T! Let me know what you think.

There's an awful lot I don't or didn't know about this, Gadjo - and Denyse's book has truly been an education, in that sense.

Thank you, Sarah. Don't forget to say hello to Charlie, too: http://bringingupcharlie.blogspot.com/

Both books - DJ Kirkby's and my own - are now available on Amazon, EV. And thanks!

I'd say it is a 'must read', ExpatKat - for those with direct experience of these things as well as those (like me) without.

Akelamalu said...

Having just read your review of 'A fair cop' I just have to read it and this one sounds good too!

Thanks for dropping by and taking the time to comment. :)

Retiredandcrazy said...

Congratulations on being a published author dotterel. Good luck.

Ms Dragonfly said...

thank you for your condolences :)

Coachdad said...

Love to read...thanks for the review and I am going to get my hands on this. Love your site.

The Poet Laura-eate said...

Heightened emotions are also a symptom of dope-dependence, though Aspberger's is of course a condition the differently-wired are born with (much though there is talk of autism-damage linked to vaccine).

Interesting that she is so self-aware.

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