Summary (from Goodreads):
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.
Using an alphabet grid to painstakingly construct words, sentences, and thoughts that he is unable to speak out loud, Naoki answers even the most delicate questions that people want to know. Questions such as: “Why do people with autism talk so loudly and weirdly?” “Why do you line up your toy cars and blocks?” “Why don’t you make eye contact when you’re talking?” and “What’s the reason you jump?” (Naoki’s answer: “When I’m jumping, it’s as if my feelings are going upward to the sky.”) With disarming honesty and a generous heart, Naoki shares his unique point of view on not only autism but life itself. His insights—into the mystery of words, the wonders of laughter, and the elusiveness of memory—are so startling, so strange, and so powerful that you will never look at the world the same way again.
In his introduction, bestselling novelist David Mitchell writes that Naoki’s words allowed him to feel, for the first time, as if his own autistic child was explaining what was happening in his mind. “It is no exaggeration to say that The Reason I Jump allowed me to round a corner in our relationship.” This translation was a labor of love by David and his wife, KA Yoshida, so they’d be able to share that feeling with friends, the wider autism community, and beyond. Naoki’s book, in its beauty, truthfulness, and simplicity, is a gift to be shared.
This book is a quick read of being a mere 135 pages. I read it in just a couple of hours. The topic is gentle, but can be sensitive to some. Being a special education teacher this book jumped out at me when I first heard of it. My co-worker actually recommended it to me. My sister, also a special education teacher, was the one who gave it to me not knowing I wanted it.
Told through an “interview” style, the reader gets a good insight on what it’s like to be autistic. Naoki Higashida explains to us how difficult it is to be autistic and how confusing it is. However, he also explains the good things about being autistic as well. “Normal” people just don’t see the world the same way an autistic person does.
It explained a lot to me because I could relate most of the questions to the kids at my work. For example, why do they spin so much? Or, why are they so fascinated with numbers? If you want to know the answers, I suggest you read the book. It’s very informative.
“To give the short version, I’ve learned that every human being, with or without disabilities, needs to strive to do their best, and by striving for happiness you will arrive at happiness.” –Naoki Higashida, The Reason I Jump