Friday, October 22, 2010

The Boys of Steel and Asperger's syndrome

The librarian in New Orleans who arranged the Skype visit I did on 9/11/10 shared how her two sons reacted to Boys of Steel: The Creators of Superman, specifically to the personalities of the Boys of Steel themselves, writer Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster. (I believe one of her sons is in middle school and the other in high school.) In turn, she kindly gave me permission to share that special connection here:
Both of my boys have Asperger's [syndrome]. They both are highly intelligent. The combination of high IQ and Asperger's makes their lives more complicated. It is a challenge for them to fit in socially and to relate to other people. What makes it worse is that they know they don't fit in.

When my [older son] read Boys of Steel, his first comment was that he was very much like the boys who created Superman. He was very excited that this was a true story. It meant that there were other people like him. He even made a list of the ways he was similar to Jerry and Joe (quiet, wears glasses, doesn't fit in, likes to write, and likes to draw). He then read the [author’s note at the] back of the book. He was not happy about how their lives turned out. He said it was a lesson for him to try harder to overcome his anxieties and try new things.

My younger son also read the book later. He also related to the characters. He said that they were just like him. He had not heard my conversation with my older son. He said that now when he gets pushed around he is going to remember Jerry and Joe and how they made Superman!

1 comment:

J. L. Bell said...

There were some anecdotes in Men of Tomorrow that made me wonder if Jerry Siegel had Asperger syndrome, so I was struck by this feedback about Boys of Steel.