Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Fall Down 7 Times Get Up 8: A Young Man’s Voice From the Silence of Autism, by Naoki Higashida. Translated by KA Yoshida & David Mitchell. Random House, 2017

Higashida is on the spectrum; he was nonverbal for a long time and even today he struggles with expressing himself verbally; he has what he calls restricted speech. He finds it easier many times to use his computer or a spelling board to communicate. When he was thirteen he wrote his first book, ‘The Reason I Jump’ to try and explain some of his actions to neurotypical folks. His new book, written as a 24 year old, takes that further, telling us what it’s like to live in his world. It includes some of his ‘aha’ moments, when he figured out things that most of us take for granted. His is a life of anxiety and distractions coming from his own brain. He absolutely doesn’t feel sorry for himself, though; while he’s unhappy with parts of his life- like his inability to properly express to his mother how grateful he is to her- he is in general upbeat. I found it very interesting that he has obsessions that have to be dealt with to stay calm- as one with OCD myself, I could certainly those, as well as his sensory overload.

The book is written in short chapters; some only a couple of pages long. Many are posts from his blog, so this gives a bit of a disjointed feeling reading the book.  The translators have a child on the spectrum themselves, and I suspect this gave them a special attachment to this project. I recommend this book to anyone with a family member or friend on the spectrum, especially if that person has trouble communicating. Five stars. 

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I received this book free from the Amazon Vine program in return for an unbiased review. 

Neither of these things influenced my review.  

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