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.
I have enjoyed Lauren Graham's past works and was anticipating the release of her third. Since I had it on my TBR since before much information was released, I did not realize that this was not a full length book until I was already half way finished with it. I listened to it on Audiobook and at first thought the length left was for a chapter. I double checked and realized it was for the entire book.
Ultimately, there are good words of wisdom contained in the volume. The basic theme is that you are enough, and there are no small parts. It is a great message, I just feel that there was room for more to be said. Specifically, I felt that there was more for Graham to have said on the subject.
I also enjoyed that once again Graham did the narration herself. However, I felt that it would have been better released as an essay or part of a collection rather than a stand alone book.
I was first drawn to this book because of the title. Magical thinking is a developmental phase in childhood where basically children believe in what is not real. Fiction, at least the more fantastical type, is almost a way of telling off developmental psychologists who have determined that this thinking ends around the end of elementary school.
I had no idea what the novel was actually about. I had never read anything by Joan Didion. All I knew is that this book had won some awards and was suppose to be good.
What I found was one woman's story of coming to terms with a year that she can never forget. A year that she lost her husband and nearly lost her daughter as well. It is a story of tragedy and coming to terms with that tragedy and not coming to terms with that tragedy. The novel is raw and truthful and caused me to feel a type of pain that I had not previously known.
The writing was excellent. I now have Didion's works added to my to be read pile. I am interested in seeing how her style plays out in other topics. I was intrigued how she used phrases throughout the novel to tie points together or to drift back to other points. I was amazed how she wove in poetry, research, and a neurology textbook she picked up in a hospital gift shop. Didion must be a remarkable women.
I plan on reading the biography about her as well.
The only part of the book where I started getting lost was the ending. It didn't end. She just kept writing in a train of thought kind of way. Even the author addressed this - she didn't want it to end. If it ended then it would be over. Her husband would never be coming back. Even when she lost me she pulled me in further.
This site may contain affiliate links, these links refer back to products. They do not cost the consumer any additional money. They do help fund the blog. In addition, some books may be provided to the site for free in exchange for an honest review, others come from the library, others are obtained for free off Amazon, some come from my private purchase. Regardless of how the books were obtained all reviews are my honest opinion.