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

The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism 2014-10-15


Brent submitted a new resource:

The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism - A rare road map into the world of severe autism.

You’ve never read a book like The Reason I Jump. Written by Naoki Higashida, a very smart, very self-aware, and very charming thirteen-year-old boy with autism, it is a one-of-a-kind memoir that demonstrates how an autistic mind thinks, feels, perceives, and responds in ways few of us can imagine. Parents and family members who never thought they could get inside the head of their autistic loved one at last have a way to break through to the curious, subtle, and complex life within....

Read more about this resource...
I found this one easy to read. My mother bought one for herself, one for my sister, and one for my brother. I failed to get the point of the selected fairy tales, but he explained his behaviors well enough.
Review #30

Naoki Higashida’s The Reason I Jump is one of the best known and selling books by an autistic author. You’ll notice in my reviews that I’ve kind of shied away from best sellers since they’re already well known / reviewed and so there’s less value in my review and thoughts. That, and best sellers tend to come with high expectations.

This book was one that I’ve been interested to pick up – to see what all the hype was about, and because the author, who was 15 at the time of its original publication, in Japanese, and 13 when he wrote it, if I understand correctly, brings several perspectives we don’t often see: young/teenaged author, someone from Asia, and someone who uses AAC (augmented and alternative communication).

The Q and A style format is also highly unorthodox, and this is one of those situations where I think depending on who you ask (when giving a rating), some will reward it’s uniqueness and some would penalize it.

Unfortunately, I’m in the latter camp. The grouping of the questions seems random, and there’s also some random mini-stories slipped in without context, in addition to a short story at the end which is supposed to give us a glimpse into his thoughts, but leaves me highly confused (it’s about him dying and seeing his parents’ grief).

I’m also challenged by the text – I don’t know if it’s in the original text or if some stuff got lost in translation, but some of the “answers” seem cut-off – there were a number of occasions where there seemed to be the beginning of an interesting commentary, but I was left hanging. I am also concerned that there’s a number of generalities made about autistic individuals when they might have been the author talking about himself. Finally, some of the questions and answers are missing context.

One question and answer set which I found particularly problematic was, question #12 is “You seem to dislike holding hands with people.” To start with, that’s not even a question. That’s a statement. Secondly – in the answer he states he often lets go of people’s hands to go darting off to something that caught his attention – but my question would be why is his hand being held in the first place?

Notwithstanding the bonus points for intersectionality, the numerous challenges I have with this book force me to make significant deductions. Rating: 3.0/6.0

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