5 out of 5 stars
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Welcome to the world of an Autistic mind. Where a confusing array of thoughts are brought together in heartbreakingly simple yet complex lines of prose that dance across the page. Zarqnon the Embarrassed, also known as JW McLaughlin, writes of his years before discovering he was on the spectrum. In his own words, the book is "an abstract autobiography wrapped in a metaphorical narrative."
He paints a vivid picture of clashing emotions and the inner turmoil of Autism with broad strokes and gossamer lines. I wanted to weep for the young Zarqnon, who never felt he belonged anywhere or with anyone. The pain he carried all those years is plain for one to see. Even the light-hearted poems about his keys are deep with unexpressed emotions.
I love that he has come to embrace his Autism and uses his unique way of seeing things to express himself. The artwork in the book is exceptional. A legally blind man named Frank Louis Allen, who, by the way, is also autistic, does all the artwork. Both author and artist show how an autistic diagnosis is not the end of anything; it is just the beginning. They gleefully proclaim their own brand of weirdness while inviting you into their world to share the joy of self-acceptance.
Reading this work has helped me better understand a very important person in my life. He is a remarkable young man who was just diagnosed and struggled with much of the same feelings that Zarqnon does. I hope this book is widely read. It could help the non-autistic to be better people. We tend to shy away from people who are different when we should be taking the time to know them. Each person is different, some just more so than others. You never know what you can learn from a uniquely thinking person. One of my favorite poems talks of the dark cloud, and God has never left him.
I can not find a single thing to dislike or change in this work. The Fantastical Keys Of Darius Newton Archibank is a strange, wonderful, and quirky work by a talented writer and an equally talented artist.
I could not spot any errors, and the wording was excellent, earning this book 5 out of 5 stars.
There is a mention of God and Jesus; however, I do not think it would offend anyone the way it is written. The writing and depth might be more suited to teens and above.
The Fantastical Keys of Darius Newton Archibank
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