I first heard about this book last summer from its narrator whom I met at a book signing and after learning that I was, in general, about 95% of the time, a stay-at-home mom to my son with special needs, she told me about the book she narrated that was amazing and that I should definitely check it out and maybe it would resonate with me.
I actually added it to my Wishlist on Audible and thought nothing of it although when the audiobook came out along with the book (it’s published by a Big Five traditional publisher, Harper Collins), hubby wanted to start the Dark Tower series by Stephen King so that Audible credit went to him. And then I forgot about it.
…until this weekend when #BoycottToSiri popped up on my Twitter feed.
Judith Newman is the author of To Siri with Love, her “honest and illuminating love letter to Gus, your typical atypical non neurotypical human,” according to Jon Stewart, “a moving and witty memoir with a big heart,” according to Nigella Lawson, and “part Operating Instructions, part love letter to both her son and technology,” says Annabelle Gurwitch, author of Wherever You Go, There They Are.
I’m glad she got such big names to give her their testimonials in her book, but how can a “memoir” that makes fun of one’s autistic son and even goes to lengths to saying that she hopes he doesn’t have children and that when he turns eighteen, she’ll get power of attorney to have him sterilized be “beautiful?”
On Twitter, she’s been blocking people left and right who object to her book. Autistic and neurotypical people alike have condemned To Siri with Love for exposing her son’s private medical information and for making fun of him, most of all for her plan to sterilize him.
She claimed that the audience of her book isn’t the autistic population (as if they can’t read, I guess) but the neurotypical crowd.
But even the NT crowd isn’t having that excuse because they also find the book deplorable. Well, not that she cares to know what they think. She’ll block them, too.
It’s a selfish act of a mother (or anyone for that matter) to do what she has done although in the world we’re in now, I’m no longer surprised at the lengths we take to humiliate people who have no voice. And I can’t imagine why she’d do it other than for the fact that a Big Five publisher said, here’s your advance. Now write us everything else you want to get off your chest about how you really feel about your autistic son. No holds barred.
I’m a mother of an autistic child, and yesterday, we went to see Peppa Pig Live. I didn’t care that he cheered and hooted louder than all the other kids his age (most of the other kids were younger), nor did I care that he wanted to dance around like the performers (who encouraged everyone, including the parents, to participate, too). I didn’t push him when he said we should go home when we could have walked around after the show and even ice-skated (the music was too loud for him). I accept him the way he is and I do my best not to ridicule him. And definitely not in such a public way, like a book.
But I guess in the end, you do you, Judith Newman. I’m sure you’ve got more than enough money from your advance already set aside for that power of attorney contract to have Gus sterilized ten times over. Good for you.
Oh, wait, you changed your mind about having him go through a forced vasectomy because of the backlash? Too bad, because you still said it (nah, you wrote it in all its hardcover glory), and wanna bet, you’d still do it if only no one said anything.