No one would consider Judith Newman's domestic life normal. She and her husband keep separate apartments - his filled with twin grand pianos, as befits a former opera singer, hers packed with the clutter and chaos of twin adolescent boys conceived late in life. And one of those boys is Gus, her sweet, complicated, autistic 13-year-old.
With honesty and humour, To Siri, with Love chronicles one year in the life of Gus and the family around him - a family with the same crazy ups and downs as any other. And at the heart of the book lies Gus' passionate friendship with Siri, Apple's 'intelligent personal assistant'. Unlike her human counterparts, Siri always has the right answers to Gus' incessant stream of questions about the intricacies of national rail schedules or box turtle varieties, and she never runs out of patience. She always makes sure Gus enunciates and even teaches him manners by way of her warm yet polite tone and her programmed insistence on civility.
Equal parts funny and touching, this is a book that will make your heart brim and then break it. Warm, wise and always honest, Judith Newman shows us a new world where artificial intelligence is beginning to meet emotional intelligence - a world that will shape our children in ways both wonderful and unexpected.
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I throughly enjoyed the open frankness and honestly of Gus’s story. Enlightening and entertaining. I feel I have a much better understanding of Autism after this.
Never mind the boycott
It gave me better understanding of autism and the difficulties of a mother who loves her autistic son. The author (mother) has a dry sense of humor and self irony that feels sincere. The love for her son shines through the whole story and though it mentions her worries about her son having future sex life and potential children, it doesn't feel that it is anything else than genuine worries of a mother that loves her son. I have noticed that there is a twitter mob that argues that the book should be boycotted because it doesn't respect people with autism. I found that critique misplaced and one sided as if written by someone who does not have the ability to see the finer point of human empathy.