1. Prior to reading this book, how would you have imagined an autistic woman? How does Stella compare to this vision?
A- I never really imagined an autistic woman a certain *way.* I know there is a spectrum for the autistic scale where there is a low and a high scale. Such as a low-grade fever and a high-grade fever, one will impact your life much more or much less than the opposite. I’ve met quite a few women who were autistic and I didn’t know until they told me. I try not to be judgemental of the quirks other people have. However, if I pictured an autistic woman based on what all the TV drama’s make you believe, Stella fits perfectly with that group. Successful, smart, shy, yet straight at you, straight to the point. I’ve heard it plenty of times that those with autism tend to lack social skills. (Hey, don’t feel bad, I lack social skills too, and there are no diagnoses on me.)
2. Stella was surprised when he coworker Philip James had been asked out by their new intern. When it comes to heterosexual relationships, do you think men should be the initiators? What does it say about a woman if she asks out a man?
A- Haha!! I would love to think that the male would be the initiators but realistically, men get shy too. Men think and feel even if they won’t admit it. I don’t think it should be anyone’s role or job to make that first move. Life is about the situation you are in if your gut says romance *should be* happening right now and no one is making the move then YOU should make the move. What does it say about a woman? That she goes for what she wants? That she isn’t afraid of a little risk? That I’m, I mean, she, is impatient or unwilling to watch you walk away without even trying. (I personally have asked a few guys out, I have made the first kiss, I even once asked a man to seriously marry me, and he did. But that last one is different from all the rest. I wasn’t growing impatient because of him. I wanted to prove how serious I was with him, to him.)
3. Does it surprise you to see an autistic person exploring a sexual relationship? If so, why?
A- This is a very good question in my opinion. I have mixed answers on it, to be honest. It doesn’t surprise me that a human is interested in sex and wants it. The way Stella lined up that part of the story, the way she built it up for the reader was logical. You don’t find that much when we talk about sex, even in real life. Usually, it’s only feelings and yet her logic is what brought the feelings. She spelled it out for the reader and for both parties involved and it made me attached to the situation. Maybe I was…shall I say, obsessed? 😉
4. With regards to autism, people are divided between using person-first language (i.e. “person with autism”) and identity-first language (i.e. “autistic person”). One of the main arguments for person-first language is that it separates a person from their mental disorders. Many autistic people, on the other hand, prefer identity-first language because they believe autism is an intrinsic part of who they are and have no wish for a “cure.” Which do you think is right? Do you think it can depend on each person’s individual circumstances and preferences? How did you feel when Stella tried to make herself fresh and fantastic? Why did you feel that way?
A- I am not autistic nor is my child. This first question is very hard for me because it’s not my life and it does not impact my daily routine. If someone who is autistic tells me they are proud to be who they are and they do not wish to change, I respect that. If a parent has a child who barely functions in their day to day life because of triggers from autism, I could see why the parents would wish a cure for their baby. As a parent, I want my child to have a full chance at life. If he or she cannot even get through a full day without feeling severe pain, especially mental or emotional pain, I would want different for my child. We all have weaknesses and strengths. If my child was high functioning and still autistic, I would not wish for a cure. The cure, if one became available, should only be used to help those who can’t even produce a normal life and live on their own. Everyone in between, I guess it should be their choice. Stella was pinned with a choice at the end of the book, she chose herself. She chose what mattered most. But not every single autistic person is like Stella. And unfortunately, not all autistic people are treated with kindness and respect in this harsh world. I would want a cure for those who wish they were…able to function. I know how it feels to be in a situation that I was underprepared for. That was one situation, the next situation I’m sure was months or years later. Not every single day. I do but do not want to change who people really are. I would not have changed a single thing about Stella or anyone even remotely like her. Being smart is not a bad thing, being honest is not a bad thing. If you truly care about someone, you will take the time to truly get to know them. Stella proved in this story, everyone is worth getting to know, even for one night. -I felt sad when Stella tried to change herself. I did like her the way she is/was. Mostly every woman had that guy she tried changing for after the breakup. Well, not changing for him, but because of him. We wanted ourselves to be different, we wanted our lives to be different. Usually, in the end, we come to our senses and grow up, we move on. I wanted her to be happy as much as Michael wanted her to be happy. When she tried to change because she thought or she was unhappy, I felt her sadness.
5. What do you think of a man with Michael’s Friday night profession? How does that compare to your impressions of a woman with that profession? If gender makes a difference, why is that?
A- In life, we all make choices. The reason I make my choices are not always open and available to everyone that wonders. With Michael, he did not want to make the choice he made but he knew why he made it and that he had to in the situation. There was a brief moment where his profession helped his anger against his father. Life is not classy and glorious for everyone. It’s usually not one or the other for anyone really. If you look close enough at the truth or the details, you’ll see that even the most sophisticated people have flaws, doubts, and issues. The difference is in the details. Michael made a choice. If I am comparing it male to female, I would be the wrong person to comment on that. Or maybe I’m one of the people the world needs right now. Because my opinion is, if it’s good for the goose then it is good for the gander. I’m tired of all the double standards where a guy can get away with being with many women in one week but if a woman does it she get’s labeled and made fun of. I’m not encouraging anyone to go out and jump into bed with many partners but I won’t judge you and I won’t tell you that it’s wrong for a girl but not for a guy. Equal opportunity my friends. I have to assume the joke about men being cool for being with a lot of chicks is because on average it’s harder for a man to walk out his front door and come home with a girl than it would be for a girl to walk out her front door and score a male partner. A lot of men are eager to be with a woman or many women so they jump quickly. Women used to be more selective about who they let into their pants. Therefore, it’s harder for a man to accomplish a high number of partners whereas it’s easy for a woman. Not a fair competition when you think of it like that now is it? It’s like two people are in a competition together, one is a mermaid and the other is a man. The goal is to first swim across the lake, turn around and swim back. Once you reach mid-lake you must dive straight down and sit on the bottom for three seconds before emerging straight up, then swim back to where you started. Who do you think would win that? The one who was made to breathe and live underwater correct? Well, women are the mermaids, getting laid was always easier for a woman than a man. Therefore it was always more impressive for a male to have multiple partners because his challenge was harder.
6. How does Michael’s daytime profession affect his attractiveness?
A- The way it was described, it makes him more attractive in every way. If you said he was doing something easy and for no motivated reasoning, he would appear as if he didn’t care at all about life or himself. His daytime profession showed he had a skillset, he used his knowledge, he was caring, and he worried about his family. Important traits when a woman looks for a man.
7. Throughout the book, Michael worries he’s inherited his father’s “badness,” that it was passed down in his blood. Do you think this is illogical? Are you able to empathize with him? If so, how?
A- I do not think this is illogical. There are times when every kid claims they do not want to be like their parent in one way or another, or for one reason or another. It’s okay to be unique and different. It’s also okay to follow in your parent’s successful footsteps. However, he was worried about becoming bad like his father. It’s not illogical at all and anyone that says it is must have a pretty perfect family/home-life. I am able to empathize with him. My parents are still together and they are not bad people. My siblings, however, had made their fair share of mistakes over the years, so I always told myself I would never end up like my brothers. There are traits in my family that I don’t want to inherit, for sure. Fearing that we will be weak and give in like they did, it scares you. No one likes the thought of not being able to even control them self. I know this is a choice I don’t want to make, I am afraid I will become weak and make the choice anyway. You put fear and doubt in your mind that you cannot shake. Until you do shake it. We all just need to make it to that part where we shake it off and be true to our self.
8. Is love alone enough? Can people with different cultures, education levels, and wealth be together in the long run? How can they make it work?
A- That’s a question we will never be able to answer with a hundred percent truth. Love SHOULD be enough, if it’s true, real, honest love. Cultures are different but I don’t believe they were meant to be kept separate forever. The true beauty of this world is we can all get along in our own way if we just tried. Culture is not a problem and if you think it is then it might be time to educate yourself about this world. Education can be tricky when it’s a large gap but love doesn’t judge people based on how smart they are or how dumb you may be. There are people who are attracted to someone who is smart but there are millions of other people who don’t use knowledge as a factor in their romantic partner. We don’t get to choose who our true love is, we can choose to deny them though. Wealth can be an issue but it should not be a dividing factor. I’m not sure the right question was asked her. The things that most people think are the problems are actually a warning sign for the truth. If you let something like money or lack thereof control who you love or who you let love you then you deserve to forever spend your life alone. Money can be earned and money can be taken away. Money is material, you can lose everything in fires, floods, disasters, family health, etc. You are looking for a soul to match your soul. It is not made of material, it is made of thoughts, actions, choices, decisions, affection, pain and misery. It’s the part of us built from within throughout our family, our faith (or lack of) and each day we spend alive. Every single moment adds a piece to our soul and every lesson we learn from defines who our soul becomes. You need to find the part of your soul that is missing because they complete you and you complete them. The small details can be overcome with simple respect, love, and constant work.
I hope I answered the questions openly and respectfully. I mean no disrespect to anyone. If I made you feel disrespected please let me know so we can discuss it and hopefully I can make up for anything I may have said wrong. Thank you. Below I would like to add a formal book review of my own.
- Pages: 314
- Extras- 3 pages with Author note, and a front and back of a page for discussion questions that are already completed above.