Yes. We are back after a LONG hiatus. Time sure got away from me. Em’s grown a lot but this post is specifically in regards to Adam Rex’s book (and the movie based on it) “The True Meaning of Smekday” (and Home)
Em started listening to the audio books of his about the Boov nearly 2 years ago. It seemed like yesterday. She couldn’t get enough. So when they announced the movie she was thrilled. Especially when the clips/trailers started coming out.
Fast forward to this week. Em sometimes struggles in theaters so we wanted her to enjoy this movie at home in comfort. And we watched it. She noted the difference between the two and the things that were spot on.
And then she started to connect even more with Jim Parsons’ spot on adaptation of Oh. If you ask Em, she’ll tell you Oh’s real name is J.Lo. The Boov are aliens. Kids like Em aren’t. They aren’t foreigners but they do have a lot in common. Like learning how to figure out jokes and idioms.
Em (like many children on the spectrum) struggle with literal thinking and concrete thinking. So when Oh doesn’t understand jokes until he talks it out and then gets it, that happens with Em a lot. She may not even talk it out but suddenly while driving down the road start laughing about a joke told to her earlier in the day (or week even). Sometimes if her friends realize she’s not getting something they break it down for her. It often loses its humor then.
Things that are metaphors are another thing that she’d struggle with. In the scene where Tip (the girl on a Mission to find her mom that befriended Oh) is frustrated at Oh and says something about “put yourself in my shoes”. He is confused and trying to figure out how his “pods” would fit in her shoes.
Em has learned to ask what things mean. Raining cats and dogs… yeah. That was a fun one. Sarcasm. Nope. Until she got it. And now she’s the queen of sarcasm. She wears her feelings and emotions on her sleeve an struggles to sometimes differentiate between say angry and frustration. Not understanding you can be one with the other.
There is a point when Oh is trying to understand Tip and her feelings and realized that she’s both sad and mad. Thus coming up with the term Sad Mad. Let’s add to the fact she can relate to the struggle of Oh to make friends. Fitting in among others. Social settings and appropriateness. Wanting parties and how they come about.
Fortunately like Oh she has a person to guide her and help her. Tip is Oh’s guide to Earth and it’s customs. Christian, her brother, is her Tip. He gets frustrated like Tip gets. He pushes her to be better and more, like Tip. And he loves her like no one. He is also fiercely protective of her. He is her champion.
I think that Adam Rex summed up something that many of us struggle to explain. I don’t know if he did it on purpose or not. But he gave Emelie a cast of characters she could relate too and love. That and root and cheer on.
Thank you to Adam! I hope someday Em will have an opportunity to meet you because you gave her the first book she read on her own for fun, ever. And you made her learn that loving characters that are beloved like J.Lo, Gratuity “Tip” Tucci, Pig the Cat and My Mom is worth it.
If you haven’t read the book, do it. If you haven’t seen the movie, see it.
And here is Em trying to describe it in her own words:
I do not fit in. I fit out!