Dear Anlor – Keep up the good work because it is helping you be successful. … When older people tell me about their experiences with being on the autism spectrum it can really help teenagers and young adults.
— Temple Grandin
Nominee in the Category of Literary Arts representing the USA
2017 8th Annual International Naturally Autistic® People Awards
ANCA® World Autism Festival™
. June 2018:
. March 21, 2018
Reviewed by Kimberlee J Benart for Readers’ Favorite
Being Seen is a fascinating and eye-opening memoir by Anlor Davin, a woman not formally diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder until she was forty-six years old. Born in 1964 and exhibiting hypersensitivity as a child, Davin struggled throughout her life with the results of what appeared to others as obsessive-compulsive behavior. Even though she was intelligent, fluent in two languages, and certified as a teacher, Davin struggled to work full time to support herself and a son. She didn’t understand why she was different from other people, and doctors misdiagnosed her symptoms. “I felt like a sick tree whose roots, where the real problem lay, were not seen,” she explains. Davin began the study of Zen Buddhism at thirty-five and describes it as life-changing.
In Being Seen, Davin looks back on her life in frank detail through the lens of autism. Her writing is straightforward and heartfelt. Several photographs are sprinkled throughout which help to make her real to the reader. I was amazed at Davin’s strength and persistence as she lost one friend, one job, and one living space after another. It opened my eyes and heart to how I look at others whose behavior I might not yet understand, and I was grateful for those who helped her along the way. Parents of hypersensitive children would benefit from her comments on her own childhood; and whether you think you’ll ever know someone with autism, this book will both educate you and touch your heart. A moving read. Highly recommended.
. March 2018: A REVIEW OF THE MONTHLY MEDITATION group (written in French):
la plateforme quebecoise “Autisme-Asperger-Quebec” a décrit notre projet “Autsit” : http://autismeaspergerquebec.com/autisme-meditation-zen/.
English translation of the above: the Quebec site “Autisme-Asperger-Quebec” wrote a review of our website “Ausit” : Here is the link for it: http://autismeaspergerquebec.com/autisme-meditation-zen/
Below are the 3 reviews that can be found in the USA version of Being Seen the book:
1. “From beginning to end, Anlor Davin’s captivating memoir is a compelling read. It is at once tender and turbulent, but always honest and inspirational as it winds its way through the flats and pinnacles of life with an autism spectrum disorder.”
— Liane Holliday Willey, EdD author of Pretending to be Normal: Living with Asperger’s Syndrome and Safety Skills for Asperger Women: How to Save a Perfectly Good Female Life
2. “Anlor Davin opened a window for me into the world of an autistic person. Her memoir, appropriately titled Being Seen is an honest, intimate sharing of her brave journey from a painful childhood in France all the way to Zen practice in California. Her courage turns misunderstanding of autism into empathy.”
— Susan Moon, author of This Is Getting Old: Zen Thoughts on Aging and The Hidden Lamp: Stories from Twenty-Five Centuries of Awakened Women.
3. “This book is a tale of remarkable courage, giving the world a deeply personal experience of growing up within the autistic spectrum. Unflinchingly honest, it gives us a perspective from human beings whose central nervous systems respond differently to the physical and social environment. There is much to learn here, and much compassion to be gained by reading this journey. Thank you, Anlor, for the strength to write this book.”
— Richard Mendius, MD, neurologist, coauthor of Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love & Wisdom
Reviews that came after the book was published:
“The primary subject of this brave book is the daily challenge of being autistic in a world built for non-autistic people. To the parents of a young child, the moment of diagnosis can be distressing, not knowing what the future holds in a society full of negative messaging about autism; but for a grown woman who has been struggling for decades with sensory sensitivities, confusing responses from others, and feelings of alienation even from friends and lovers, an autism diagnosis can be a blessing — a “Rosetta stone” (as an autistic woman once put it to me) that provides the key to the mystery of the self. Anlor Davin recounts her years of not-knowing why she was suffering so much, and seemingly disappointing others, with admirable candor, and her discovery of Zen as a way of settling into the present moment and making friends with herself comes as welcome relief, like coming home from a long exile. This is not exactly uplifting reading, but Davin’s mindful attention to the particulars of her atypical existence is itself inspiring, and by the end, the reader wishes her luck and grace on the path she has found for herself.”
— Steve Silberman, author of NYTimes best-seller Neurotribes
” Anlor Davin writes in detail of her courageous and painstaking journey as a woman on the autism spectrum. Her book provides great insight into sensory and health challenges in particular, and the value she found both in her Zen practice as well as practical coping strategies she created. The chapters covering marriage and motherhood are likely to be especially appreciated both by other women on the spectrum as well as by counselors and various professionals. These topics are not often written about, and Anlor provides much valuable perspective. The book is a testament to perseverance in the face of struggle, to the usefulness of a diagnosis (no matter how late in coming), to the significance of supportive others, and to the wisdom of a daily practice that provides a period of serenity for both mind and body.”
— Dr. Debra Moore, Psychologist, Coauthor with Dr. Temple Grandin of The Loving Push
“I gave this book five stars because I was totally engrossed and could not put it down. I have a daughter with autism and the gift Anlor has given me is priceless in regards to greater understanding of what she may be going through. I would recommend this book to everyone as today everyone is touched in someway by autism.”
— Rob Edwards
“This actually isn’t quite a review….yet. I have known Anlor for about 10 years now and have seen an enormously positive change in how she lives her life. I am eager to read her memoir and find out exactly how she got to where she is today. I suspect that there may be some life lessons here even for the non-autistic.”
“Being Seen is a candid memoir that tells the life story of Anlor Davin in three parts. Part 1 is the author’s growing up in France. The childhood stories are clear and unflinching in their honesty. Part 2 is about moving to and living in Chicago as a young adult. It details the immigrant experience and becoming a mother through the lens of the author’s later-diagnosed autism. Part 3 is about moving to California in her early 30’s, finding Zen meditation, eventually being diagnosed of autism and learning to find a measure of peace and balance in life.
I enjoyed this book a lot. The detailed telling of the author’s inner experience in all her stages of life illuminated for me:
1. What it’s been like for the author to live with autism
2. The author’s experience as an immigrant
3. How it feels to be an outsider who is very aware she is different but never quite understands why
This is not a just a book about autism. It’s an interesting life story told in such a way that it helped increase my understanding the different inner experiences that might be going on.”
— Mark P. Furlong
— Lindy Lu
Anlor Davin wrote the book in the first person and was extremely detailed about each and every event in her life leading up to her self-diagnosis of Autism and being ultimately diagnosed by her doctors. In reading her memoir, I often felt as though Ms. Davin was sitting across from me telling me her story. However, in providing such a detailed account of her life, Ms. Davin often switched from one topic to the next, one sentence after another, without providing smooth transitions when switching subjects, which was jarring at times and was therefore difficult to follow. Some of this, I attributed to English being her second language, details being her life and her need to ‘be seen’.
Overall, I was truly impressed by Ms. Davin’s resilience and look forward to seeing where life takes her.”
— Susanne S. on Netgalley.com
“Anlor Davin’s stories about being autistic are frank and eye opening. Her shared experiences have helped me expand my empathy for autistic people, particularly my sons’ experiences. but also surprisingly finding congruences in my own life.”
— Tina Tang