Sucking Up Yellow Jackets

Sucking Up Yellow Jackets

Raising an undiagnosed Asperger Syndrome son obsessed with explosives

Not being able to grasp what other people are thinking wreaks havoc on a kind child and people around him.


Max loathed confinement. He climbed up his crib side and dropped to the floor with a thud that terrified his mother. No seven month old baby could do this without help. But he had and repeated it nightly. When he dismantled a neighbor's swing-set without tools, Max and his more sociable sister were banned from the play-yard. Hoping he would disappear forever, she helped him climb out a window and suggested he go hand over hand along a frail line to a telephone pole sixteen feet above the ground. He thought she was being sweet. Obsessed with explosives and motorcycles, he spent more time in police stations and court than an incompetent bank robber. ER doctors knew him by name. Sucking Up Yellow Jackets is a touching, bizarre, sometimes funny story about the toll undiagnosed Asperger Syndrome took on Max and his family before the syndrome was recognized. Not much frightens his mother now. Not even big hairy spiders. 



Stunning, witty and insightful Aspergers memoir

This mother knew there was something drastically different about her son Max, but in a time before Aspergers was defined, there was no diagnosis and no peace for her, her family or her son. Sucking Up Yellow Jackets is a luminous memoir that shows the power of love, the strength of family, and the courage of a mother who deals with Max with humor and wit and wisdom as they all try to muddle through a challenging life together.

The writing is crisp and the memoir reads like a well-crafted novel. This is a great read for anyone, but especially for a person who knows any family dealing with Aspergers or forms of autism. You'll get a true insider's glimpse. The book really makes you feel for the families and children who must cope with these conditions, and reveals the depths of hardship and bizarre moments that Aspergers can manifest. Best of all, the author's wry view of life makes us all see the wacky moments and the humor in the day to day. And it's humor, in the end, that saves them all and finally leads Max on to a life well lived.

Highly recommended.

~ M. Lamba, review

Jeanne Denault
Jeanne Denault Jeanne Denault is a writer with degrees from NYU and Columbia University. She worked as a commercial artist, a university art school instruc...

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