A Memoir

by Allen Shawn


Paperback, 232 pages, Penguin Group USA, List Price: $15 | purchase


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Book Summary

The author of Wish I Could Be There highlights the difficulties faced by American families coping with autism in the 1950s, describing how his institutionalized twin sister was a part of a secretive and dramatic family environment also marked by his father's position as the editor of The New Yorker.

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Allen Shawn says he realized that his twin sister, Mary, who was diagnosed with both mental retardation and autism as a little girl, has been one of the biggest influences on his life. He tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross that her institutionalization at the age of 8 left him feeling alone — and confused. "I don't think I've ever felt like an individual the

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