Sameera Ahmed (Kingsford Community School) reviews Camilla Pang's 'Explaining Humans'

Scientist Camilla Pang writes this book as a manual to understand human behaviour for those that have Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Camilla's intelligence is shown through the complexity of the book and how it was written. It gave a great insight of those who are more ‘neurodiverse’. She used her own anecdotes and made connections to many scientific fields such as Quantum physics, molecular dynamics and thermodynamics. These connections made were hard to understand at times due to their complexity but she made it clear how deeply she understood these fields. She expressed how proteins are ‘close to her heart’ and how much she loves them, and compares their diversity to humans but became dull as she dedicated an almost an entire chapter towards it.

Her passion for science is evident through her detailed explanations. It also demonstrated how humans have unique skills however these ideas were hard to grasp.  A large portion of the book was science and without analogies I would have found difficult to understand. I would also at the end of each chapter forget how it related to her experience due to the depth of her explanations. I found the most engaging and enjoyable parts to read was when she spoke about her own experiences with ASD. I preferred the book more towards the end, which I believe would be hit and miss for many as it does become repetitive. Although it took me a while to read the book especially as I would have to re-read sections, it taught me many theories and how it relates to those who are neurodiverse. It was well structured and informative and most importantly eye opening for those who are neurotypical that want expose themselves more to neurodiversity.

Something I agreed with in this book was...

That humans connect with each other like atoms do, for ‘stability’ and security’.

Something I disagreed with in this book was...

The title, as essentially, she compared her experiences to science which were very specific to her so I don’t believe she ‘explained’ humans.

Something I learnt from reading this book that I didn’t know about this subject before...

The Hydrophobic effect which explains antagonistic relationships which is binded by fear of rejection or judgement in humans.