To be honest, I had some reservations about its picking up this book in the first place. The title, It’s So Much Work To Be Your Friend, just had such a negative connotation to it. I had my doubts about the book.
However, as I read, I found myself liking many aspects of what he had to say. The concept of a “social autopsy” very interesting. The idea of this type of autopsy is to analyze a field social interaction with the child and guide them towards where the mistake was made. The idea is to help them identify issues in their behavior so that they can modify them later on.
He explains various complexities of conversation, casual relationships, familial relationships and the various other relationships which we encounter every day. It was fascinating to see how the structure actually broke down and many of the exercises he suggested seem as if they’d work very well.
However, one of the things that picked at me was his constant emphasis on fitting in and being just like everyone else. While on the one hand, in early schooling experiences that’s a valid way to keep the peace between students, but the stifling of originality strikes me as fundamentally wrong. In any case, that’s probably my own personal prejudice towards the issue speaking. Trying to fit in, can be a very important learning experience, after all.
He also seemed very attached to old-fashioned gender roles, but that may just be because those roles are still extremely mainstream and common. The changing world, though, those ideals are slowly evolving.
Overall, it wasn’t a bad book. I picked up a lot of great information, and spotted a few things in my past that could be linked directly to my learning disabilities. It’s always an interesting experience when that happens.
However, I wouldn’t say it’s something that you must read. It’s a good supplement if you are interested in learning more about relationships and how learning disabilities relate to them, though.