The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism

Naoki Higashida, trans. from the Japanese by K.A. Yoshida and David Mitchell. Random House, $22 (176p) ISBN 978-0-8129-9486-5
Just thirteen years old, effectively unable to speak , Higashida used a special alphabet grid to compose this slim, informative book, which provides an unprecedented look into the mind of a young person with autism. Constructed in a series of questions and answers, interspersed with short fictional stories, Higashida gallantly attempts to explain why he and others with autism do the things they do, which often confound caretakers and onlookers. He bares his heart by putting forth the questions people ask, or long to ask—such as "why do you talk so loudly and weirdly?" and "do you have a sense of time?"—providing insight into the life of someone with autism. Higashida often achieves a clarity and wisdom that is surprising for such a young person, like when he suggests that autism should be viewed as simply another personality type. Other times the reader is reminded of his age, when he earnestly pleads on behalf of himself and others with autism for understanding and patience. The result is a mixture of invaluable anecdotal information, practical advice and whimsical self-expression. This is imperative for Higashida because, as he so elegantly puts it, "being able to share what I think allows me to understand that I, too, exist in this world as a human being." (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/23/2013
Release date: 08/01/2013
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FORMATS
Hardcover - 176 pages - 978-0-345-80780-9
Open Ebook - 176 pages - 978-0-8129-9487-2
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