83 pages 2 hours read

Nora Raleigh Baskin

Anything But Typical

Fiction | Novel | Middle Grade | Published in 2009

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Symbols & Motifs


Mirrors appear frequently in the novel to express the disparity between the way we see ourselves and the way we are perceived. Jason often looks at himself in the mirror, trying to still his face and body in order to get a sense of what he might look like if he were not autistic: “I am looking at myself in the mirror and I am thinking that if I didn’t talk and I didn’t move […] I’d look like any other twelve-year old boy” (15).

As the novel progresses, mirrors—in particular, a mirror in Jason’s own fiction—symbolize the journey toward self-acceptance. Referencing Jason’s short story about a little person, Aaron asks Jason if it would “be weird if Bennu wakes up from the operation, and he’s all tall and stuff, and then he doesn’t recognize himself in the mirror?” (132). Jason begins to understand that a magical fix for himself (or Bennu) will not lead to happiness. He ends his short story with Bennu taking “one last look in the mirror” to declare “this is who I am. This is me” (194).