Anything But Typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin
Reading Group Guide
Jason Blake is anything but typical. He tells his story in his own language, that of an autistic twelve-year-old boy. He is intelligent and sensitive, with many special gifts, and he is different. We learn of his sensitivity and “differentness” as he writes about his life and describes his world. Through his writing, which he posts on a writing website, he meets another young writer, Rebecca, who responds to the post of his story. Jason is intrigued with this girl in his life and fantasizes about her being his girlfriend. Jason’s challenges in school, socially, and at home all portray his difficulty in navigating normal life situations. Complicating his life is his desire to have a girlfriend, and his fear of meeting Rebecca and of her rejection becomes almost too much for Jason. By facing his fear and meeting Rebecca, he is able to grow and ultimately accept himself.Discussion questions:
1) How do we know, right from the beginning of the
book, that Jason is not a typical twelve-year-old? Name some of the characteristics he exhibits. Are these behaviors things you have seen before?
2) The letters NLD, nonverbal learning disorder, and ASD, autistic spectrum disorder, are labels used to identify the symptoms Jason displays. Describe what it would be like to have a conversation with Jason.
3) Does it seem