"...Everyone Is Entitled To My Opinion." ~Madonna

Tuesday, January 26, 2016


The Reason I Jump was written by thirteen-year-old Naoki Higashida, a young boy with autism, and was translated by David Mitchell and KA Yoshida, a couple with a an autistic son. It is the personal account of how it is to live day after day with autism, told by people who live with this misunderstood condition.

Naoki has painstaking used a vocabulary grid to construct words and sentences that he is unable to put into spoken language. Using a question and answer method of writing, Naoki answers the questions that we all would like to ask, but that seem too personal. He explains why people with autism talk too loudly and with weird word order and why they can not make eye contact when they speak to someone. The questions are answered with honesty and warmth.

To me, the best part of the book was the introduction by David Mitchell. David said that translating this book was a labor of love and helped him to understand his own son better. Probably this is why I felt that the introduction gave me a better understanding of autism.

The rest of the book was slightly repetitious with similar questions being answered with similar statements. It must have taken Naoki a very long time to put his thoughts in words so I can appreciate the effort that went into his writings.

 I am not sure if the problems with the book are in his original piece or in the translation. It is not easy to translate any work and keep the emotions, the personal feel that the original author had in mind. I never felt as connected to Naoki as I thought that I would. As a result, this was not a book that I would recommend. It might be interesting to read David Mitchell's account of his personal involvement with his son and what interaction he had with Naoki Higashida.

If the book served any purpose for me it was to make me aware and more patient with autism and its many forms ... and maybe that is what was really important.