I have to thank Julie for these two blog posts (Medical Student's Syndrome, I Hope and Why I Blog), which led me to this wonderful book: Songs of the Gorilla Nation: My Journey through Autism, by Dawn Prince-Hughes.
I'm interested in anthropology (though my specialty was archaeology, not biological anthropology or primates), and I'm interested in autism (partially because my son's Tourette's/OCD/ADHD shares so many similarities with Asperger's syndrome), so I was pretty certain I'd find Songs of the Gorilla Nation a fascinating read. I still think about some of the things I learned from reading Temple Grandin's Animals in Translation a couple of years ago.
But I was totally unprepared for the beautiful, lyrical writing and the heart-wrenching stories (of both the gorillas and of the author herself) in Songs of the Gorilla Nation. What a fitting title. Even the organization of the book - independent from its radiant prose - well, it just blew me away. Gorgeous. There are three parts, pulling all the stories together: A Life Without Song (Prince-Hughes' childhood, teen years, and early adulthood), The Songs of the Gorilla Nation (her years observing gorillas, what they taught her, about humans and herself), and How Can I Keep from Singing?, which is an unflinching look at biology, family, and advocacy and activism, and much more.
I learned a lot, and I loved reading this. What more can you say about a book, really? Go request that your library buy it, and then buy a copy to give to someone as a gift.