image holder

The Reason I Jump; Naoki Higashida

Book review by Kristy Webster | published Monday, September 30, 2013 |
Thursday Review Contributing Writer

Wow. I don't even know how to do this book justice, frankly. I read it in one sitting then passed it on to my fifteen-year-old son who is on the high-functioning side of the autism spectrum. I have continued to rave about and recommend this book to extended family members in hopes that others will come to a better understanding and deeper appreciation for my son's unique and often mysterious inner life.

I've read lots of books that center around autistic characters—The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Marcelo and the Real World, Memoir of an Imaginary Friend--finding that sometimes fiction is more helpful in revealing the unique characteristics exhibited by those on the autism spectrum and their often profound and beautiful way of perceiving the world. I've read a few non-fiction how to deal kind of books as well, but I can honestly say this is hands down, the most useful, empathy inducing book on autism I've ever read, and perhaps ever written.

For anyone either curious or struggling to understand the inner life of a person with autism, The Reason I Jump (Random House, August 2013) is nothing less than essential.

I will leave you with a quote from Naoki that will most likely leave you as awestruck and affected as it did me:

"Q58: What are your thoughts on autism itself?"

I think that people with autism are born outside the regime of civilization. Sure, this is just my own made-up theory, but I think that, as a result of all the killings in the world and the selfish planet-wrecking that humanity has committed, a deep sense of crisis exists. Autism has somehow arisen out of this. Although people with autism look like other people physically, we are in fact very different in many ways. We are more like travelers from the distant, distant past. And if, by our being here, we could help the people of the world remember what truly matters for the Earth, that would give us a quiet pleasure."