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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Speed of Dark, by Elizabeth Moon, 2003 * * * *

This is a wondrous novel about Lou Arrendale, part of a small group of high-functioning autistic adults, who work at a pharmaceutical company. He has a car, friends, and a passion for fencing. Then a supervisor states that he and the other autistic employees must accept an experimental treatment to “cure” their autism and with this request, Lou struggles to maintain his identity and freedom of choice. With this treatment, Lou might think and act likes everyone else but he wonders if he was free of autism, would he still be himself? Would he still love the same classical music with its complications and resolutions? Would he still see the same colors and patterns in the world, including the shades and hues that others cannot see? Elizabeth Moon has written an outstanding testament to the unique gift every one of us has to share, exactly as we are, while also cheering us on to be all that we can be. A lot of novels promise to change the way a reader sees the world; The Speed of Dark actually does. After reading this book, you will think deeply about what constitutes normal.

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