"Creating credible autistic protagonists is tricky for neurotypical writers. It took me about a year to drill down through the clinical clichés in my head and be able to portray people on the spectrum with as little unconscious stereotyping as possible. One of the Jedi mind-tricks of NeuroTribes is that the autistic person in any scene is almost always the emotional center of the scene, even if clinicians or parents are also in the room: a subversive reversal of the usual framing of autistic lives."
"But The Eagle Tree, a gorgeously written novel, features one of the most accurate, finely drawn and memorable autistic protagonists I’ve come across in literature: a boy named March whose passion is finding out everything he can about trees and then climbing them. Instead of portraying March in the usual clueless-Aspie way – as “obsessed” with trees and “perseverating” on them to the exasperation of everyone around him – the hero of the book is like a 14-year-old Walt Whitman with autism, seeking communion with the ancient magnificent beings that tower over the landscape around Olympia, Washington. Even when March is missing the import of the chatter of the adults who exert control over his life, Hayes plays with the conventions of the unreliable narrator so that you end up feeling like March is a very reliable narrator of glorious and terrifying aspects of the world that neurotypicals can’t see."