EPISODES is a memoir like no other. Debut writer, Blaze Ginsberg, offers a unique perspective on his life as a highly-functioning autistic 21 year old. Inspired by the format of the Internet Movie Database, Blaze organizes his life events as a collection of episodes. Some episodes are still running, some are in syndication, and some have sadly come to an end. With an innovative style and approach that is all its own, EPISODES reinvents the traditional memoir; and it will inspire young readers to see the world as they've never seen it before.
About the Author
Blaze has been writing short stories, poems, and songs since the age of nine. In 2006, he began writing his own book, a memoir that covers his years in high school and his first steps toward adulthood. Inspired by Internet episode guides such as imdb.com and TV.com, his memoir, EPISODES, describes his life as a series of TV shows in which he’s appeared. Blaze puts it this way: “I started watching PBS kids’ shows on TV when I was three years old and liked them very much from the start. They gave me my true voice out there in the world. I would imitate actions and situations I saw on the shows. Sometimes I let the shows speak for me when I didn’t know how to say things myself. So the TV shows were like a stand-in for me.” Blaze currently lives and attends college in San Diego.
Read an Excerpt
my freshman year of high school 1 (2002)
(A.K.A. ONE OF THE BEST SCHOOL YEARS EVER 1)
series: 2002–2003 release date: SEPTEMBER 3, 2002
genre: FRESHMAN FOOLISHNESS status: ENDED
blaze ginsberg: himself
Friend of mine and for a short time, a possible girlfriend. I met her in the summer of 2002. Is an only child. Left our school, Surrey, in the summer of 2003 because she hated it and was throwing tantrums about it like Dudley Dursley from Harry Potter. Also had a lot of crying cases in My Freshman Year of High School. Liked Marvin Gaye and pretty much agreed with me about everything. If there was anything I did not like, she did not like it either.
Played herself in 2002’s My Freshman Year as a girlfriend (not romantic) of mine. Later played herself in the series Blaze, Courtney, and Amber. Claims she rescued me on my tenth birthday in 1997 when I ran away from home.* In September 2002 I reunited with her and we became buddies instantly. Is very sensitive to how people approach her.
Was one of my teachers at Surrey. She and her boyfriend went to high school with my uncle Bo, and they are still friends with him. She is pretty strict with her students and does not have a high tolerance level for bad behavior. One day in class she made us put our heads down like we were in kindergarten because of our bad behavior.
mr. kent: english teacher
Mr. K is also serious with his students about their behavior and whatnot. Mr. K really goes into detail when reading a story, like when we read The Body by Stephen King. I asked Mr. K why a character was crying over something small in the book and Mr. K told me it was because he (the character) never cried when his brother died. Mr. K got me interested in reading certain books like The Perks of Being a Wallflower. He is very into literature.
ms. kennedy: speech therapist
Speech therapist at Surrey. Very nice and caring, and she always wants everything to be the best it can be. She and I met when I was having a problem with another teacher one day and we became friends from there.
jane: occupational therapist
The Surrey School occupational therapist. Was very close to me. I liked her from very early on because of her personality. She really liked the stories I wrote when we were working together. She also had kind of a low tolerance level for bad/insubordinate behavior.
dr. r: counselor
various friends: themselves
My first year at The Surrey School (a.k.a. My Freshman Year of High School) may be number 1 in my top two best school years to ever exist in human civilization (for me that is). The Surrey School is a special school for kids with learning differences/those who are not able to function in a regular school. The classes are very small (only about ten kids per class) and there are only about 100 kids altogether in the school. I was at The Surrey School for many reasons, but mostly because middle school was a total disaster. In my other schools before this there were very few teachers who cared and were willing to work with people like me.
At Surrey, things really made a big turnaround from the way school used to be. This year was something unforgettable and legendary beyond conceivable knowledge because it really changed the way school had been for me for the past ten years. Prior to this year, I never really liked school too much, and most of the time I didn’t really want to be there. Freshman year changed everything. Even though I had teacher issues and got sent out/was in trouble a lot, this was a good year because I was slowly starting to become a grown-up, hanging out with homies, talking to girls, and thinking about my future. Also this was a good year because I was starting to interact with other people more than I had in the past. Although I didn’t realize it at the time, the ten years of school before Surrey were kind of depressing because I was really too much inside my own self and not relating to other people. So even though my interactions with people during my freshman year at Surrey were sometimes negative, at least I was having interactions.
Episode 1 Season 1
title: PILOT air date: SEPTEMBER 3, 2002
It is my first day of high school and it is somewhat nerve-racking. I enter the school before class starts. I see Courtney but turn away from her because I am feeling shy. Later on I report to class. My day starts off with Physical Science. I am a bit spacey because I have not had to sit and listen in class for quite some time. It ends all right. After that I report to Math and I need a VTO (voluntary time out) because I am antsy and need to walk around. I am allowed ten minutes and then I go back. The teacher has an aide named Rebecca; I work with her on the math. Later I go to class for RL (reading/language). It is not too great because I have been struggling with the teacher since the summer session. (I had taken Summer School at Surrey in June as a trial period to see if I would be able to go there or not). Then it is time for English. I feel a bit anxious (or, as I call it, “tight”) because it’s still the first day of school, but nonetheless it’s fi ne. Then I go to lunch. After lunch, I report to PE. We play football, run laps, and it is pretty fun. Later I report to Tutorial and it is fun, although I do not do any of my homework which is what tutorial is for.
me: “Can I get a VTO, please?” (Teacher writes one up)
me: (seeing that the VTO paper says “Student Referral”): “What? I’m in trouble?”
teacher: “Oh no, that’s just what it says. It’s fine, it’s a VTO.”
A VTO is when you get ten minutes to leave class and walk around the school or sit on the bench to chill yourself out. You get one VTO per class per week. If you abuse the privilege, by staying out of class for too long, you get sent to the offi ce and get your VTOs temporarily suspended.
“Bird of Beauty” by Stevie Wonder (Fulfillingness’ First Finale 1974)
This song plays because it goes really well with running laps. I like the way it makes me feel.
* THE INCIDENT WHEN I RAN AWAY FROM HOME OCCURRED AFTER I HAD AN ARGUMENT WITH MAYA. I WENT OFF WALKING BY MYSELF AND HALF THE NEIGHBORHOOD ENDED UP LOOKING FOR ME.
Table of Contents
Introduction By Debra Ginsberg,
Main Cast Biographies,
1. My Freshman Year Of High School 1,
2. Thanksgiving Special 2002,
3. Blaze, Courtney, And Amber,
4. My Freshman Year Of High School 2,
5. Thanksgiving Special 2003,
6. Blaze, Matt, And Danny 1,
7. Games 1,
8. My Crush On Hilary Duff 1,
9. Thanksgiving Special 2004,
10. Blaze, Matt, And Danny 2,
11. Games 2,
12. My Crush On Hilary Duff 2,
13. Senior Year 1,
14. Thanksgiving Special 2005,
15. Games 3,
16. Senior Year 2,
17. Vista View College Days 1,
18. Knowing Tara (Vista View Spin-off Series),
19. All-store Meetings At Natural Market,
20. Thanksgiving Special 2006,
21. Vista View College Days 2,
22. Dance Of Revenge (Special),
23. Government Offices 1,
24. Holding On: A Rough Summer (Movie),
25. Government Offices 2,
26. My Crush On Sara Paxton,
27. Thanksgiving Special 2007,
28. Episodes, The Book (Miniseries),
genres: comedy / drama / family / more,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
In Episodes: My Life As I See It, Blaze Ginsberg, a highly functional autistic teen recounts life from his freshman year at Surrey School (for children who do not thrive in public school) at age 15 through the beginning of college at age 21. In the book¿s introduction, his mother, who authored Raising Blaze about him, states that Blaze has taken some important events of his life and made them into several TV series with himself as the recurring character. The series concentrate on school, holidays and work. Blaze has obsessions, primarily with Hilary Duff, recycling trucks, buses and getting a girlfriend and he writes plainly about them as well as his resistance to change, difficulties with teachers and with several jobs. He evaluates girls as potential girlfriends, immediately asking for their phone numbers. Many do not return his phone calls. If he dislikes something, he banishes it for years. He comments on school buses that he likes and dislikes.Each series has a cast listing and each episode has a summary, notes, soundtrack listing (some of which are obscure), goofs, and quotes. The format is unique and suits the story. While the book gives readers a sense of the difficulties that Blaze faces and his achievements are admirable, the story and writing are not compelling. There is much repetition and many of the situations are not interesting. Episodes is a good telescope into the life of an autistic teen and is worthwhile from that perspective. However, it will be a hard sell for discretionary reading.
Blaze Ginsberg is a unique individual. In his book, he discusses his life as a high-functioning autistic teenager. Blaze's novel is also unique in the way that it is formatted. He views his life as a group of episodes, much like a television series. Different things are important to Blaze - who he talked to during the day, trying to find a girlfriend, going to his college classes. Some of the episodes are in syndication, some have ended, and others are on-going. The Thanksgiving episode appears once a year. The characters (Blaze's family) remain the same, but the story is always a little different. Guest stars will occasionally make an appearance, and Blaze is quick to give them credit. To some, it might seem that the episodes are disjointed, but to Blaze, it all makes sense. I will be honest, it was difficult for me to start this book. I was one of those readers who felt Blaze's plot was disjointed, but now I understand the workings of his mind. A typical book has chapters, a continuous plot, a definitive ending. Blaze's novel has all of these things, but they are developed and executed differently. Once I realized this, I was able to enjoy the novel that much more. I'm glad I read Blaze's book, and I congratulate him for having the courage to write it in the first place.