By Wook Kim
Updated October 01, 2007 at 04:00 AM EDT

Growing up was a mystifying experience for John Elder Robison, a bright kid unable to grasp even the most basic social skills — a condition he later learned was a form of autism called Asperger’s. Also: His father drank, his mom spent time in an institution, and his brother — whom he named ”Varmint” — was shipped off to live with a crackpot shrink. Dysfunction seems to run in the family. (So does talent: Varmint renamed himself Augusten Burroughs.) Look Me in the Eye is a fantastic life story (highlights include building guitars for Kiss) told with grace, humor, and a bracing lack of sentimentality.