Reviews - Features
Review: January 2005, bookloons.com. "The Ride Together: A Brother and Sister's Memoir of Autism in the Family" Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto
To read the review click here.
Review: November 2004, Los Angeles Times. "A chronicle of autism with twice the impact." To read the review click here.
Review: May 2004, The Comics Journal has chosen The Ride Together as one of the Best Books of the Year. To read the review click here. (pdf file 665 K)
Review: April 24, 2003, The Sentinel Newspaper. "the honesty and bravery that these two authors display in chronicling their family and all the disruption that occurs in a household with autism." Click here
Review: 14 February 2003, Washington, DC City Paper. "notable for both its unsentimental tone and its unorthodox structure. . . . uniquely suited to conveying the discordant realities of an autistic man and the family struggling to understand him" Click here
Review: January 5, 2003, The Hartford Courant. "What sets this book apart is its genuinely moving sentiment that never devolves into cheap sentimentality." Click here
Review: November 15, 2002, Library Journal Reviews. "a remarkable book. . . . strongly recommended for all public libraries and academic libraries . . . as well as for book groups that wish to include a graphic novel. Click here.
Review: November 15, 2002, Ninth Art. "a fascinating look at the ways in which prose and comics work to tell the same story" Click here.
Review: November 11, 2002, Publishers Weekly. "an innovative, intimate, and poetic probe into the inner world of the autistic mind" Click here.
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FEATURES and INTERVIEWS
Excerpt: June 10, 2003, The New York Times. Click here
Interview, January 21, 2003, NPR Talk of the Nation. Click here
Feature: January 16, 2003, The Worcester Telegram & Gazette. Click here
Feature: January 10, 2003, The Vineyard Gazette. Click here
Click here for the latest review from Arc News.
(This is a pdf file. You will need Acrobat Reader to view it. For the free download of Acrobat Reader click the button )
By Corey Seeman -- 11/15/2002
Book Reviews > Behind the Book
Long before Judy and Paul Karasik were book collaborators, they
were sister and brother. In fact, The Ride Together, their heartfelt
and groundbreaking memoir of growing up with an autistic sibling,
sprung from their closeness as children and adults. "We were
lucky to live in a household where people took care of things,"
Judy said. "If you see a wrapper on the ground, you pick it
up. If someone needs help, you give it."
Each recorded their experiences as best they knew how: Judy, a
former book editor, contributed prose chapters, and Paul, a cartoonist,
offered sections in comic-book form. The combination works: readers
not only get an idea of how David Karasik sees the world, but they
also gain insight into how a disability affects a family and the
way it communicates.
"The stories were developed independently, as half-baked ideas,"
Paul said. "At one point, we had amassed a fair amount of material,
and we thought we'd make copies for our kids. Then we realized that
we had some pretty powerful material and that it would make the
type of book that we would have wanted around when we were growing
A valuable perspective
David, now 54, was diagnosed with autism when only the most severe
children were identified and very little was known about the condition.
But neither he nor autism is the book's main subject. Admitted nonexperts,
Judy and Paul chose instead to focus on their coming of age in David's
proximity, thereby giving voice to other people who have struggled
with an autistic loved one.
Due out in January from Washington Square Press (see review in
the print issue, p. 88), The Ride joins a crowded field of autism
memoirs, but most are parent-authored and, consequently, often sentimental
and/or laden with medical information. The Karasiks, on the other
hand, offer a distance and omniscience that will appeal to general
readers. "I have a lot of strange brothers, and in some ways,
David is just one of them," Judy said. "Being David's
sister has been inconvenient in many ways, but basicall a good thing."
Graphic novels have also exploded in popularity, so the book has
a good selling point. While organizing it was difficult (Judy and
Paul found themselves shuffling and reshuffling papers à
la David), the final product reads smoothly. The prose and comic
sections play off each other and serve different functions. "Judy's
chapters tended to move time forward in a more lyrical way, while
mine tend to halt the progress of time," Paul said.
The comics also provide images of David and his behavior that crystallize
in the reader's mind. We see that David is different, but not so
different perhaps. Ultimately, this is a work about the way that
people talk to each other, so it makes sense that the Karasiks used
their respective formats. "Even if the book wouldn't have been
published, it has been very therapeutic for my family," Paul
said. All in all, a bumpy ride but a satisfying one nonetheless.
Corey Seeman is Assistant Dean of Library Systems, University of
Toledo Libraries, and the parent of two boys, one of whom is autistic
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