What Readers Had To Say

I read Dummy: A Memoir, I love the project and I want to make this film and I would love to see Dummy made into a movie. This is an important book.

– Barry Morrow (Oscar winner for the Rain Man script)

This wonderful book, “Dummy,” by David Patten is a true story of tragedy turned into triumph. But it is much more than a success story, it is a story that speaks to the eternal light of the Soul and how it finds its way through an odyssey of darkness and despair back to wholeness and freedom. In the end this story is a testament to the power of love and grace and how they can be found in the most unexpected of circumstances.

– Adyashanti, spiritual teacher and author

Your book is fascinating. I read it with the greatest interest. It is a real epic of triumph over adversities of every sort, but also a loving portrait of many interesting people… This book is genuinely inspiring because it isn’t written as a self-help manual, though it could have been. Your modesty is more striking in some respects than your very genuine reasons to boast, which is also admirable. I felt better about myself after reading it, though I had none of your problems, and all the luck some people take for granted. Your insight that one is in effect a spectator to an Awareness that goes on with or without one is valuable and applies equally to all us human beings… Anyway, thank you, congratulations, and all the best with the publication. I hope that your story will be read widely and distributed to many. There are all sorts of reasons to delight in it

– Andrei Codrescu, NPR commentator and author of Whatever Gets You through the Night

When an autistic, dyslexic and functionally illiterate individual writes a book, it is surprising. When that book turns out to be the account of an odyssey from a troubled youth, including a suicide attempt and dealing drugs in the underbelly of Chicago, to a successful life as high tech entrepreneur with a warm and happy family, it is fascinating. When, however, the book reveals a spirit of such indomitable integrity that it will not be crushed, no matter how high the cards are stacked against him, it is truly awe-inspiring.

“Dummy” is a beautifully written and riveting read on many levels. It provides an articulate insider’s understanding of the subjective experience of autism and how, by dint of incredible dedication on the part of his mother, he was able to penetrate the usual autistic shell of isolation and forge meaningful, and indeed insightful human relationships. It provides sobering testimony to the failure of the school system to understand and cater to his cognitive challenges, making drug dealing a default choice of livelihood.

It is an interesting commentary on society that David couldn’t adjust to its social norms of bullying, lies and duplicity, whereas with thugs and criminals he was better able to cope, because at least they said what they meant and he knew where he stood. In the end, what gave David the biggest push toward changing his life was the power of love, but not in any clichéd sense of the word. In a dynamic reminiscent of the Prayer of St. Francis, at age 14 he found a young woman even more broken than he was.

Throughout the book there an innocence and sweetness of character that keep shining through the dark events of his youth. After years of incredible trials and despair after his girlfriend’s near overdose, he had a spiritual epiphany that changed his life:

‘Now I realized that it wasn’t about becoming more than I was, but about accepting who I am. I wondered to what degree the life I was living and the world I was living in were of my own making. Were they the result of what I believed the world to be? … if the world was a place of meaning and my life had a greater purpose than mere survival, then my choices and actions had profound significance. They shaped and defined who I was.’

David’s story and message are a gift to us all, and I would not be surprised if this book rises to the plane of spiritual classic.

– Miriam Knight, Editor New Consciousness Review


This is a very moving book, uniquely told with great heart.

– Andrew Harvey, author of A Hope: A Guide to Sacred Activism


Dummy is an extraordinary memoir that provides an extremely rare glimpse into the thoughts and struggles of one boy’s life with learning disabilities and autism. His triumph over and through his many obstacles made me want to stand up and cheer. This inspirational book is a must-read for every parent, teacher and child seeking to reach their full potential.

– Arielle Ford, author Wabi Sabi Love

Dummy is well written, compelling and humanizing. David Patten has succeeded in producing a gritty, unapologetic addition to autobiographies about triumph over adversity, particularly those of one’s own inner demons.

– Donna Williams, best selling author and presenter in the field of autism

Dummy is a classic page-turner! The twists and turns of his life journey are particularly compelling because of his open-hearted self-reflections and insatiable thirst for freedom from the confines of social stigma. An important book. A well-written book. And an inspirational read for anyone who feels isolated or hopeless about their circumstances.

– Sunny Massad, Ph.D., author of UnTherapy: A Positive Psychology for Enlightened Living and president and founder of the Hawaii Wellness Institute