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Publisher's Summary

“This book is a message from autistic people to their parents, friends, teachers, coworkers and doctors showing what life is like on the spectrum. It’s also my love letter to autistic people. For too long, we have been forced to navigate a world where all the road signs are written in another language.”

With a reporter’s eye and an insider’s perspective, Eric Garcia shows what it’s like to be autistic across America.

Garcia began writing about autism because he was frustrated by the media’s coverage of it; the myths that the disorder is caused by vaccines, the narrow portrayals of autistic people as white men working in Silicon Valley. His own life as an autistic person didn’t look anything like that. He is Latino, a graduate of the University of North Carolina, and works as a journalist covering politics in Washington D.C. Garcia realized he needed to put into writing what so many autistic people have been saying for years; autism is a part of their identity, they don’t need to be fixed. 

In We’re Not Broken, Garcia uses his own life as a springboard to discuss the social and policy gaps that exist in supporting those on the spectrum. From education to healthcare, he explores how autistic people wrestle with systems that were not built with them in mind. At the same time, he shares the experiences of all types of autistic people, from those with higher support needs, to autistic people of color, to those in the LGBTQ community. In doing so, Garcia gives his community a platform to articulate their own needs, rather than having others speak for them, which has been the standard for far too long. 

Read by the Author.

©2021 Eric Garcia (P)2021 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about We're Not Broken

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Must read book about autism

Eric Garcia does not fit many of the stereotypes that the public associates with autism, and that’s precisely why he needed to write We’re Not Broken.
Although he eschews the labels of memoir or autobiography, Garcia nevertheless uses his lived experience as an autistic Hispanic man working in journalism to center diverse autistic voices. He explores how disability intersects with other marginalized identities including race, sexuality, and gender.
He explores the history of autism from its early categorization under schizophrenia to its current classification of autism spectrum disorder—a classification that has broadened and diversified the number of people who meet those categories.
He takes on the most harmful myths about vaccines, an autism epidemic, refrigerator parents, and sexuality. He also takes deep dives into the quagmire that autistic adults face when they try to advocate for themselves and seek appropriate supports.
He does all this through a lucid and well written narrative that never feels heavy, although the topic certainly is a tough one.
I read this book on Audible because he narrated it. That meant I was literally listening to an autistic voice tell the story rather than another narrator without lived experience.
My one critique of the book is that for all the title usage of first person plural, that I would often hear Garcia slip into they/them/their pronoun usage when talking about autistic people. I feel that slip reflects a journalistic tendency toward neutrality, and I would have liked him to maintain the our/us/we usage more consistently.

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Insightful look into autistic individuals

I loved it. This book means a lot to my as someone who wasn't diagnosed with autism until adulthood (23). It covers a variety of aspects of autism and clearly explained a lot of background information about the roles of parent advocates and autistic self advocates. The negative reviews I saw focus on the book's inclusion of politics. As the other is a political journalist and autism advocacy requires engagement with politicians, this was unavoidable. The author handles this appropriately, with nonpartisan criticisms of members of both parties when they speak inaccurately about autism, particularly in regards to vaccine misinformation. I feel seen and heard in this book.

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Insightful book that can help many autistic people

A good overview of the autistic movement. Standout chapters were the chapter on gender/LGBTQ, and the chapter on race. Eric Garcia skilfully weaves in his own story as a Mexican American while telling the story of autistic Latinos in a way I really appreciated as an autistic trans Latina.

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A book about autism or a political commentary?

I recently found out my son is autistic. In an effort to understand him better I bought multiple books to learn as much as I could, this being one of them. I was supremely disappointed with his bashing of Trump instead addressing what the book was supposed to be about.

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So helpful to help me understand my adult grandson

This book develops the history of Autism and all the misunderstanding surrounding it. Then it took me forward to understand vital pieces of evidence that, I believe, will help me as I interact with my grandson and try to help him navigate the system of departments and government organizations designed to help folks with Asperger's. His mother, my daughter, passed away suddenly a year and a half ago. I became his primary advocate. He is very intelligent and wants to be as independent as possible. After listening to this book and jotting down some information like the fact that there are organizations specifically to help with his needs, I think I can do a better job in my role.

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An important book

As an autistic adult in my 50's, I spent over 30 years not knowing my "oddness" had a name, and the rest feeling unable to express my truth for fear of being rejected, limited, or misunderstood. Garcia's book gives me hope that the younger generations, which includes my own children, won't have to face the same things I did, and can be proud of who they are and how they're made.

I encourage everyone, especially my fellow autistics parents and everyone who knows someone with autism to read this book, because the overarching narrative about autism is, and has been, so wrong. Autistic individuals have enriched humanity throughout history; think how much more we can bring if we can simple be ourselves.

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New Favorite Book

This book was right up my alley, it has a beautiful portrayal of the historic background of Autism. Eric beautifully illustrates multiple autistic experiences from an array of different autistic adults and families. 10/10 do recommend for auties to read who have a special interests in political science, history, and/or autism!

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Very political

Disappointed. Does not talk about what it is like about be autistic only about personal opinions and political discussions.

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Very helpful

The author’s writing is very clear. He talks about societal issues that affect autistic people in a very interesting, thoughtful, helpful way. The book also gives an opportunity for autistic adults like me to recognize themselves in its pages. The author narrates the book, and his speaking style is not typical, which was really nice. It felt very authentic and reinforced the idea of the slogan “Nothing about us without us.” I bought a hard copy version for my partner, who prefers print books, so that he can see more of me through reading it.

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Everyone should read this book

This book is excellent. Eric presents his story straight forward, giving insights to his lived autistic experience. I would recommend everyone read this, so that autism is understood, accepted, & normalized.

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  • Mrs. A. J. Pushkarev
  • 10-24-21

THE book to read about autism

This is a really good snapshot of where we are and should be today thinking about autistic people. it is personal, political, historical not too much of any of these things. I'd say it's THE book to read if you have any interest in the subject.

1 person found this helpful