Book review: A Different Kettle of Fish by Autistic Physics Student Michael Barton about a Daytrip to London from Most Unique Perspective

Anybody who has come across autistic people would know how special they are especially in their relationship with the world around. A new book called A Different Kettle of Fish is now shedding some light into the world of a high functioning and highly intelligent young man who documents his daytrip to London from his own unique perspective.

Written from the heart and experience of Michael Barton, A Different Kettle of Fish takes readers on a trip from the author’s familiar university surroundings to the weird and wonderful world of central London. With the author’s rare and fascinating neurological makeup at play, readers are enjoying a first-hand account of life from a radically different perspective.


book collage london a different kettle of fish

It is certainly unique and I have never read anything like this before. This book is a good read both for parents and children alike and should be compulsory reading in school, giving you a great insight not just into the life of autistic people but also to make you realise how things can be seen differently by people with disabilities.

It is also a book about London seen through the eyes of a special young man who does not take things for granted. You will experience a London as you have never seen it before!


“I’m looking at the Solar System display when I hear a child close by shouting at his mum, to which she replies ‘No need to bite my head off!’ I’ve heard of laughing your head off (to laugh a lot) and even biting your tongue (to be quiet) but biting someone’s head off puts a rather more vivid picture into my mind!” During a trip to London, taking in tube announcements, guitar shops, and the Science Museum Michael Barton explores and explains the confusing neurotypical world of contradictory signage, hidden meanings and nonsensical figures of speech.

Barton’s quirky and comic illustrations bring to life the journey from the comfort of his familiar university surroundings into the hectic bustle of central London.   A fun and enlightening read for friends, family, caring professionals and anyone interested in an alternative viewpoint on the world. Sure to strike a chord with other day trippers on the autism spectrum.

To most, Central London is a thick-soup of congestion, tourists and overwhelming options. To Michael Barton, one of 700,000 people in the UK living with autism, a daytrip to the UK’s capital is awash with metaphors, hidden messages and contradictions. In his book, Barton documents this tumultuous day to give readers an opportunity to see London and  life through an autistic person’s eyes using his hallmark wit and wisdom as well as quirky and funny illustrations.

This is what Michael said in his own words about his special London journey:

“People like myself wish to live a life that is very logical and consistent, and we need to have a measure of control over our surroundings so that they’re within our comfort level. However, somewhere like London throws it all out of whack, which makes for a very interesting adventure indeed. My goal was to give a unique and vital insight into our world; how we perceive it and how the things that most people never think of give me great stress and challenge. Many autistic people don’t venture into the unknown often enough, due to the stigma of their condition. I’m doing my bit to change that by showing just how different and interesting the life of an autistic person really is. We don’t see our condition as a challenge, but as a gift.”

A Different Kettle of Fish: A Day in the Life of a Physics Student with Autism is available from Amazon.

The Author

Michael Barton is a 22 year-old Physics graduate that studied at the University of Surrey, UK. He is also the author of It’s Raining Cats and Dogs, both published by Jessica Kingsley.

Michael is an experienced speaker giving talks at conferences, workshops, shows, schools and training sessions about his experiences of being at the high functioning end of the autistic spectrum. He focuses on the positive aspects of being autistic, which gives people a more optimistic view of the future.

Michael is an accomplished musician, playing jazz piano, bass guitar, French horn, drums and percussion (including spoons) with a variety of bands. He was the President of the University of Surrey Judo club in his final year and is a keen rock climber.



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