Have you ever heard the saying "Meet a child with autism, and you have met ONE child with autism"? This book reminds me of that saying. It is ONE child's answers on autism. It is a rare book, because that one child was a child who was non verbal. Unlike myself, who grew up with Asperger's, who was expected to intuitively know the world around me, yet I did not.
The book is written in question and answer format. In between answers, occasionally, Higashida's short stories are thrown in. The absolutely most annoying aspect of this book to me, is that questions are asked multiple times with only minor variations. Even more annoying is when different answers are given.
If you are a parent who is grasping for any understanding of what your non verbal child must be thinking, then I think that you should read this book. However, I think you should remember that it was written by ONE thirteen year old boy. Everyone's experiences and explanations are going to be different. Also, like a typical thirteen year old it is written like the author is the final authority on everything. For example, Higashida writes about how children with autism are attracted to water because of some sub-primal connection. While being way over dramatic I also completely disagree with his answer. I think children with autism are attracted to water because of the way light shines off it - I know this is why I am attracted to water. I also think that swimming can be a great sensory experience, water pressing on all aspects of the individuals body. This, to me, is a much simpler and more realistic explanation for while children with autism are attracted to water.
It is not that I disagree with anything that Higashida says in his novel The Reason I jump, it is more that I think it was a bit too dramatic. It also relates individuals with autism with the divine, and gives individuals with autism too much of an above society label. Based on my experience, both personal and professional, this is not the case. Individuals with autism, are just individuals that do not always fit the mold that society presents. I would think that a book that Higashida wrote now that he is a young adult would be much different then the one that he wrote when he was thirteen. Yet, that is one of the interesting aspects of reading this book. There are not many books on the market written by an adolescent with autism.
This is one of those books that I think my opinion goes against popular opinion. I am honestly confused about the popularity of this book. It makes me want to search out great Asian literature (that has been translated into English).
I am most commonly drawn to books with strong and detailed characters. This book did not have characters, it had people stuffed into designer clothes. People were described first by the labels that they were wearing. Their personalities and physical characteristics were rarely mentioned. The people were all a mass lump only separated by poor and uber rich. I know nothing about designer labels, so this all went completely over my head and detached me from the book.
If my boyfriend 'forgot' to tell me he was a billionaire before taking me to meet his family, especially if I know that his culture is deeply rooted in tradition, I would be livid. Rachel does not even get upset until the end of the book and by that point it no longer makes sense. Of course it only lasts for a few pages.
This is the only book that I think the movie will turn out better than the book. From what I heard the movie is at least set up like a fairy tale. The book is not. While I am not a big fan of fairy tale romance books, that would at least make sense. How this novel is structured left me wondering, why? If there was an overall message of this book I think it is - if you have money make sure to flaunt it, but only in a humane way.
I wanted to DNF this book so often, the only reason I kept going is because this book is so huge and I wanted to write a review of the entire novel. I actually tried to make myself like this book and then something else ridiculous happened and I could not.
I listened to this book in audio book, which did not help. The accents kept changing, for the same character. They often did not fit the character. I felt like I had to fight past the narrator to get to the book. Except the book itself was also not that great.
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