Jesse Saperstein ’04 has just published his first novel, “Atypical,” a charming, insightful and truly memorable tale of his life struggle with Asperger’s Syndrome, a mild form of autism. The memoir is a collection of 20 honest, humorous essays about living with Asperger’s.
Diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome at a young age, Saperstein has fought since childhood with many of the trademark challenges of the condition, including social awkwardness self-doubt, extreme adversity to change and difficulty controlling emotions. He has worked hard to understand and make the best of his condition, and has helped others to not only better cope, but thrive with it as well.
Golden Globe-winning actress Sigourney Weaver has stated, “Jesse Saperstein’s wise and compelling memoir lets us know how frustrating and strange life can be for a bright, resourceful young man with Asperger’s navigating the typical world. Funny, irreverent, and ultimately forgiving of all the damage we ‘well-adjusted’ typicals wreak on those who are a little different from us.”
While at HWS, Saperstein served as a residential adviser to the AIDS Awareness House on campus and, in the summer of 2004, worked at Camp TLC (Teens Living a Challenge), a camp for inner-city kids who are either HIV-positive or afflicted with AIDS. Saperstein was in charge of multiple fundraising events on campus and graduated with a B.A. in English, cum laude. He has received numerous awards from the Colleges for his outstanding achievements, including the President’s Public Service Award, Senior Outstanding Achievement, Dean’s Citizens Award and Alumni Association Award. Upon graduation from Hobart, Saperstein took an extended leave of absence from teaching to focus on his public speaking career and promote his memoir “Atypical.” Since then, he has become a popular speaker in the autism community, for whom his book serves as an inspiration for his commitment to demystifying Asperger’s and autism. He encourages others to “Take many chances, because lots of things that seem unnecessary are too often necessary.”