Student Question

What is the author's purpose and main points in To Siri, With Love?

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In To Siri With Love, Judith Newman's purpose is to try to reach into the world of her autistic son, Gus, through a series of essays that tell Gus's story while showing readers how he strives to make sense of the world around him.

In this book, Newman makes important points about the struggles of autistic kids and their families. She speaks, for instance, of the many years in which no one wanted to acknowledge that Gus was autistic. He was merely "quirky." When Gus was six years old, a psychologist declared that he had autism. His father sobbed at the news.

This reaction points to the difficulties that Gus's family has in coping with his autism. He father has moved away from the family because he needs order and routine, leaving Gus's mother, the author, to manage mostly by herself. Gus has a twin, Henry, who does not have autism, yet his life is very much affected by his brother's condition.

Newman attempts to enter into Gus's mind to understand why he has developed a sort of friendship with the Apple helper, Siri, with whom he carries on long conversations. She reaches into Gus's need for order and his love for machines of all kinds. She appreciates Gus's innocence and the beauty of his character.

In fact, the latter is one of Newman's primary points. She loves Gus for who he is as a person, complete with his autism. His autism, in fact, is simply part of who he is. There is no need to "cure" him of anything, even if that were possible. He is happy just as he is.

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