Book review: The reason I jump, by Naoki Higashida


The reason I jumpA book with seemingly an odd title, it caught my eye in the local book shop sale bin because it didn’t immediately explain what it was about. I am glad that I picked it up because it is a stunningly excellent book, that tells the story of what it is like to have autism, from a 13 year old boy’s point of view. Yes, he wrote it.

The book is structured in short two page chapters, most start with a question, all questions many people wonder about Autism, and all questions I imagine he has been asked at some stage. Like, for example:

  • Why don’t you make eye contact when you’re talking?
  • Why do you make a huge fuss over a tiny mistake?
  • Why do you flap your fingers and hands in front of your face?
  • Do you like being alone?

And many many more fascinating questions and answers. It’s structure makes it easy to pick up and put down, although I did read the whole book inside 24 hours!

Interspersed there are little stories, like this one.

There once was a black crow who liked a certain song ‘the seven little crows’. Normally in stories crows are bullies and villains who everyone hates, but not in this song. This troubled the black crow who would ask himself ‘how come it’s always the crows that are the bad guys?’

 

One day a white dove who had lost her way met the black crow. She asked ‘where does this path go?’ Then the white dove stared down at the ground, looking lonely.

 

The black crow wondered what was a wrong, and asked what was the matter?

 

On the point of tears the white dove said ‘I’ve been searching for the path to happiness for a long time, but I still can’t find it anywhere. fad I am supposed to be the bird of peace, too….’

The lack crow was surprised to learn that even a bird as beautiful and as loved by everyone as the white dove nonetheless had deep problems to worry about. His answer was this: ‘but all paths are one connected path’

 

The white dove looked taken aback by this unexpected answer. But after a time she smiled. ‘How about that. So the path thatI have been searching for all this time is the path that I am already on.’ In excellent spirits the white dove flew off, up into the blue sky. The black crow too, turned his head skywards, then flappy his wings vigorously, and away he flew. and the black crow looked no less perfect against the deep blue sky than the white dove

When I first read this I immediately thought what a wonderful way to describe how we are all looking for something in life, without looking right under out noses a pt what we already have.

Then I read it again. The second time the message I took from it was different: we are all different, and that is ok, and we can still be happy no matter how different we are or what other peoples pre-assumptions are.

He finished the. Book with a wonderful story he wrote that I to to illustrate how painful it is when you. Cannot express yourself to the people you love.

I think this is a wonderful book, a must read. For anyone who works with or knows anyone with autism.

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