Invisible Differences: A Story of Asperger’s, Adulting and Living a Life in Full Color

Oni. Aug. 2020. 196p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781620107669.
Gr 9 Up–Marguerite is a young woman who struggles with social interactions, depends on routine, and is sensitive to sound and touch. Her family, coworkers, and even the medical professionals she looks to for help just find her confusing. She finally meets a therapist who takes her seriously and recognizes her issues. Marguerite is tested and diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, a mild form of autism (though the latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistic Manual folded the term Asperger’s under autism spectrum disorder, it continues to be used colloquially). With resources for support, Marguerite begins to advocate for herself, fighting to make changes in her professional and social interactions so she can lead a healthy, happy life. This #OwnVoices story is based on Dachez’s years of being misunderstood and misdiagnosed—in France, the medical profession lags behind that of other countries in understanding autism. After her diagnosis, she became a researcher and activist. Mademoiselle Caroline’s art is outstanding, powerfully conveying Marguerite’s anxiety and shame. A monochrome palette gives way to warm or cool tones; pops of red start small, become overwhelming, then finally symbolize Marguerite’s positive new outlook. The endnotes include a concise guide to understanding Asperger’s and ways to help “Aspies” succeed.
VERDICT This stellar exploration of living with Asperger’s belongs in all school and public libraries.

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