Manual A Corner of the Universe

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Hattie helps him a lot and is a better friend to him than anyone. Adam constantly quotes I Love Lucy and most people don't catch on to that. Hattie then goes to the carnival and meets a new friend, Leila. She then takes Adam to meet Leila, who's family is the circus people. One day Hattie convinces Adam to sneak out of his house and come to the carnival with her and Leila.

He never rode the rides before this event because he was scared, but this night they convinced him to, and it's a night Hattie will never forget. This book was amazing and made me realize that so many people really do judge someone, even if they have a mental disorder.

It's upsetting but it shows a true heart and a truly good person. View all 4 comments. May 13, Rachel rated it it was amazing Shelves: assigned-novels. Hattie Owen is a shy girl who lives in a quiet town where everyone knows everyone else's business. There is only one piece of business that she is left out of the loop on until this summer, the fact that she has an uncle This story is about how Hattie grows to know and love her uncle, even with all of his flaws -- which is something that seems to be hard for other people in his life at times.

I loved how the characters in this book were so real and Hattie Owen is a shy girl who lives in a quiet town where everyone knows everyone else's business. I loved how the characters in this book were so real and believable. I honestly grew to love Adam so much in this book and it really made me try to get out of myself and think about how things would be like in his shoes.

This book is great for teaching about tolerance, love, and challenges. Nov 07, Connie rated it it was ok. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Ann M. Martin has written, to my knowledge, three books now involving autistic characters - a stand-alone novel in the 80s, that BSC book, and now this one.

I like to be complete, so I thought I'd check this one out and compare it against my memories of the others. First, you should note that Adam's characterization clearly reflects increased knowledge of autism. This is as it should be - Ann M. This is as it should be - the other two books are painfully outdated Adam is never officially diagnosed, but it's fairly clear from the speculation "some thought it was autism, some thought it was schizophrenia" and a few specific details of Adam's behavior he engages in scripted speech, he has the savant skill of calendar counting, he is totally lacking in the social awareness that says do NOT stare at women's chests that he's intended to be on the spectrum.

How accurate is this depiction? I don't know. The calendar counting did annoy me. Most autistics are not savants and only about half of all savants are autistic - Kim Peek, the inspiration for Rain Man, was not autistic, for example. I was happy to see that Adam is a real character. He has interests and feelings and a life.

You get the feeling that he has some greater purpose than to simply provide character development for his niece. This is in contrast to disabled particularly autistic characters in many other books, who really are just there so the people they come in contact with can have a renewed appreciation for life or be kinder or I don't know what.

Some commenters has mentioned that his behavior is "inconsistent" - he's "sometimes childish, and sometimes adult". This is accurate, though. They still have adult feelings, even if in some ways their understanding isn't up there. Which brings me to another point, there are some mildly adult situations in this book.


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Adam stares at his crush's chest, and accidentally walks in on her with her boyfriend. It's not really that bad, but of course every family will have to make its own judgments about appropriateness.


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  7. And now we get to the end of the book, and the reason I gave it such a low rating. After seeing that he really doesn't have a chance with the pretty young woman who works at the bank and after a trying few days where he had it made clear to him, again, that his family doesn't really want him to act the way he is , Adam goes and kills himself.

    And Hattie who considers herself to be like her uncle in some way, although the reasons why are never given thinks it over and calls this brave in her mind.

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    Not the sort of braveness she'd like, but brave all the same. It's not the suicide or the lackluster condemnation of the act that concerns me - actually, it's very clear that suicide has major repercussions for the people you leave behind. It's the context. And this might be unfair, but I think the context is important. We're not living in a world where people love and accept the disabled. We're not living in a world where this is ONE voice about autism and suicide.

    We are living in a world where prominent autism organizations can make videos where mothers say - in front of their verbal autistic children! And when called on it, these same organizations can then claim that every parent of an autistic child really wants them dead. Alison Singer, in the short film Autism Every Day.

    We are living in a world where parents who locked their autistic son in a room and set the house on fire aren't convicted of murder. Christopher DeGroot. We are living in a world where it is common for people who kill their autistic children, in fact, to be praised for their "courage" and their "love". We're living in a world where there are parents of autistic children who feel no compunction about saying that autism is worse than cancer because at least the children with cancer die. But at least most of these people don't go out and say that those other kids are lucky enough to die faster than the autistic kids!

    In short, we're living in a world where the lives of autistic individuals and disabled individuals in general are not considered as valuable as those of "normal" people. The suicide in this book could have been handled differently. Our main character could have reasoned that if his family loved him they could have accepted him better instead of hiding him away - remember, she had only found out about him that summer!

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    She could have suggested that if he wasn't so ostracized and patronized, he might never have taken that drastic step. In fact, there is a real suicide risk among autistics, similar to the recently publicized risk among gays. Or, the "oh, it was brave not to want to live in this world he doesn't fit into" bit could have been made in isolation from a culture which says that all the time.

    But it wasn't.

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    Instead, you read the book and her thoughts, and it's hard not to hear it saying yet another variation of "those people are better off dead". This is a message that society does need to hear again. In particular, it's a message that autistic children do not need to hear again. Yes, I said autistic children. In this day and age, we have to accept that you can't assume the only people reading a book with an autistic character are NTs with no idea about autism. Many of them instead will be on the spectrum somewhere. Or they'll be siblings of autistic children - they don't need that message either.

    I'm sure the underlying message was not Ann M. Martin's intent.

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    However, unfortunately, intent isn't some magical glitter that removes all wrong. The message is there whether she intended it or not, and it's one that is actively harmful. I really can't advise this book for anybody, unfortunately. View all 3 comments. May 14, Rebecca McNutt rated it it was amazing. Nostalgic, far out and utterly disturbing, Ann Martin takes a step away from the sunny mood of The Babysitter's Club and gives a story filled with creativity, sadness and growing up in a time when mental illnesses were stigmatized heavily by the world.

    It was well-written, vibrant and descriptive, and I highly recommend it. May 10, Ellen rated it did not like it.

    This book was well-written. The story takes place in a time period that I could relate to--the s--and I had an understanding of some of the things it mentions, such watching home movies on an old reel-to-reel projector. Even so, I never really got into the story. The first three chapters seemed to emphasize how boring and predictable life was for the shy young girl who is the main character. In fact, after making it through the first three chapters, I had to re-read the jacket cover This book was well-written.

    In fact, after making it through the first three chapters, I had to re-read the jacket cover description to remind myself that something really would be happening, and to encourage myself to keep reading. It wasn't until the fourth chapter that a plot was introduced. The young girl who is the main character is also the narrator, and there are times when she switches from past-tense to present-tense in her narration, which was not comfortable for me as a reader.

    I never really developed an emotional attachment to her or her uncle, so I didn't feel a need to cry when her uncle died. I was, however, proud of the girl when she stood up at his funeral and conquered her own fears by focusing her remarks to the girls who had been her tormentors. As she told them that her uncle was not weird, but was a real human being, she seemed to be affirming her own self-worth and acknowledging that other people's opinions of her value would no longer matter to her.

    That made the read worthwhile, but this isn't a book that I'll read again or even recommend to anyone I know. Nov 21, Tracy rated it it was ok. I hated the ending which I would not want my 10 year old to read. Save your money for something else. Aug 08, Deb Atwood rated it it was amazing Shelves: high-middle-grade. A quiet but powerful novel, A Corner of the Universe is a testament to compassion and friendship and bravery.

    View 1 comment. Jun 12, Nicole Fellows rated it really liked it Shelves: juvenile-literature. This book is about a girl named Hattie who lives in a boarding house with her parents where she has the opportunity to meet many interesting people.