Zaftig to Aspie is a remarkable memoir of a remarkable life. The richly evocative descriptions of an ostensibly idyllic, hippy childhood slowly succumbing to the vagaries of lust, greed, and jealousy are gripping from the start; when you realise they are mirrored by the author's own struggles first at school, then with her family and finally with the realisation of her own autism they become both poignant and significant.
Growing up 'indulged' and 'showered with loving attention', enjoying a gentle innocence in which the smell of marijuana evokes memories of 'peaceful happy childhood moments', the young D.J. Kirkby is nevertheless overwhelmed by such simple things as the antics of skunk kittens, so much so that 'tears welled in my eyes until they
brimmed and ran down my cheeks'; she finds herself unable to cope with the playground noise of the children at her new school; she is a girl who weeps uncontrollably at her father's wedding not out of any sense of sorrow, but in response to the deep sensory overload of the emotions invoked by such an occasion.
At times, the confusion of her over-sensitive perceptions seems almost akin to synaesthesia. The writing style is flowing and engaging, punctuated intermittently with poetry and with a neat line in understatement and self-deprecation. I can recommend this book unreservedly - it is a personal story with important echoes for society general. As the author herself says: "Everyone struggles sometimes but what matters is the attitude you have about it. If you want to get on and do things and are willing to work at it, then you will succeed."