Nineteen-year-old twins Justine and Perry are on a trip of a lifetime. Leaving Brisbane, Australia for Vancouver, Canada, the two set out to discover the mythical sea monster Ogopogo. Little does Perry know that Justine has arranged to meet their mother, who had left them at the age of four in the care of their father. Now that their father has died of cancer, Justine is the sole caregiver for her brother who suffers from Autism Spectrum Disorder. Perry has three interests: seismology, Jackie Chan and mythical creatures. With these anchors Perry is able to navigate the complex world of interpersonal relationships. He will sometimes slip off the edge, but Justine is always there to bring him back.
Written in the first person from the points of view of both siblings, Are You Seeing Me? recounts this amazing journey and the ultimate reunion with their lost mother as the two come to terms with their own personal weaknesses in dealing with the world around them. Justine may be the caregiver, but the reader is slowly introduced to understanding that maybe, just maybe, Perry has a greater knowledge of the situation than we first thought, and it is really he who is the anchor in the relationship.
Classroom Connections: Reminiscent in style and theme of Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury, this novel helps the reader to understand the rich world experienced by people with this disability. Written for readers 12 and up, the extensive use of metaphor and emphasis on relationships makes Are You Seeing Me? a novel worth reading for anyone interested in the maze of adult disabilities.
Review by Kent Miller