Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Camouflage: The Hidden Lives of Autistic Women by Sarah Bargiela and Sophie Standing

Camouflage: The Hidden Lives of Autistic Women by Sarah Bargiela and Sophie Standing
Published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers tomorrow, the 21st March 2019.

C for my 2019 Alphabet Soup Challenge reads and a 2019 New Release Challenge read

How I got this book:
Received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Autism in women and girls is still not widely understood, and is often misrepresented or even overlooked. This graphic novel offers an engaging and accessible insight into the lives and minds of autistic women, using real-life case studies.

The charming illustrations lead readers on a visual journey of how women on the spectrum experience everyday life, from metaphors and masking in social situations, to friendships and relationships and the role of special interests.

Fun, sensitive and informative, this is a fantastic resource for anyone who wishes to understand how gender affects autism, and how to create safer supportive and more accessible environments for women on the spectrum.

I love reading in order to discover more about the world around me and also to discover more about myself. I often find myself questioning how I would react if I were to experience fictional situations in novels or genuine ones in memoirs and biographies. Occasionally, I don't get the chance to ponder though. A book will figuratively smack me between the eyes and I'll just know it's talking about me. The last book to do that was Susan Cain's Quiet. Now Camouflage has had exactly the same effect. This is me!

I chose Camouflage from NetGalley because when I saw it was a graphic novel about autistic women I realised that I couldn't actually think of a single one. I recall several novels with male characters on the autism spectrum, but women? It turns out that, much like heart attacks I think, women generally experience autism in a more low-key way to men and so our symptoms are often misunderstood and misdiagnosed. In this short book women briefly explain how they came to realise that they were autistic, how the condition has been a hindrance or sometimes a benefit, and how they have learned to mask their symptoms especially in social situations. So much of this is very Very familiar!

I would have loved for Camouflage to have been a longer and more in depth book. However that isn't its intended purpose so I will need to look for further reading on the subject. Here, instead, we get a stunningly illustrated introduction to female autism. Sophie Standing's drawings raise the book to the standard of a graphic novel, although it is definitely nonfiction, and I loved her almost vintage style. This is a beautiful little book and one that I am particularly grateful to have encountered.

Etsy Find!
by Fays Wrap Bracelets in
Great Wyrley, England

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Search Literary Flits for more:
Books by Sarah Bargiela and Sophie Standing / Graphic Novels / Books from America and England


  1. That sounds informative and interesting.

    1. It's a good introduction to female autism and I loved the illustrations

  2. I love that this is a short graphic novel because it might seem like people who wouldn't normally read and who have interest in it could pick it up too! Because it's not difficult to read. I am glad you could enjoy it and really felt like you could relate to it as well. I hope further reading has this good of a result for you too <3

    1. I do hope Camouflage appeals to women who might not pick up a non-fiction book about autism. It was certainly an eye-opener for me :-)