Book Review: The Reason I Jump

Via Goodreads
Via Goodreads

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.

Favorite Quote:

“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

Camp NaNoWriMo April 2014

Camp NaNo

 

I have been anticipating this day since the first day of March. I told myself I was going to edit a novel during the month of March and I did! Hunter is in the process of being re-typed as a second draft. So, that’s that.

I wanted to have plenty of time to plan for Camp NaNoWriMo. I knew what novel I wanted to write, but I didn’t have it planned out. I literally finished editing Hunter on March 30. Then I spent all day yesterday (March 31) doing homework. I worked until 2:30 then got the majority of this week’s homework done because I wanted the first week of Camp to be a productive one.

Would you like to know something sad, though? I went into work yesterday and they asked me, “Are you available every day this week and next week?” I said yes because I need the money, but of course it would happen during NaNo…not to mention this month I have my cousin’s birthday, my father’s birthday, Easter, planning for my sister’s upcoming wedding, homework, and now work on top of it. But, it’ll be good to practice my time-managing skills.

Anyway, I’m writing Diary of a Killer for Camp. I’m sure most of you know I have a completed novel called Diary of a Lover. No, this is not a sequel. It’s a complete different set of characters in a different setting. The only similarity is the title because they are both written in “diary” format. Each chapter is a new diary entry. Oh, they have psychology in common, as well. Of course, I know nothing of psychology so a lot of research will be required, so…this will be fun.

I didn’t get a chance to plan it so when I started writing after work today all I had was the title and that was it. I didn’t even have the protagonist’s name…I didn’t even know the gender. In case you’re all wondering, it’s a boy! Yay, congratulations! As I wrote the first chapter, I started coming up with ideas for the novel, so I’m hoping everything will work out. I’m also summarizing each chapter as I write them to help keep the plot in line as well as for when I finally edit it. Hopefully that will do some good when I research things, too.

I will post a summary soon…ish. I have to actually write one first. 😉

For all of you doing NaNo, good luck! And I hope you reached above and beyond the word goal (I got 2,002 words today). If you guys are participating, feel free to add me as a buddy on NaNo (Fiery_Sapphire) and also let me know your word count and what you’re writing. I’m very interested! 🙂

Happy December!

Where Did The Year Go…

NaNo Winner 3

 

Well, it’s December first. I can’t remember anything that happened this year and we still have a month to go. Needless to say, November was a busy month, but it’s all a blur to me now. The first 17 days of November I wrote…a lot. And I won NaNoWriMo. I had planned on going above and beyond the 50k mark because I wanted to finish the entire manuscript. However, I think I got a little too tired from all that writing before. I hit about 52k and then stopped. But I got a nifty certificate to go with my Camp NaNo ones!

The best part is that Kris won NaNo, too. This was her very first year winning and last night she got home from working 8:30-5:30 and wrote about 5,000 words in order to hit the 50k. She finished around 10:30 at night, but she made it just in time! She and I are going Christmas shopping today. If we find anything we want, we may treat ourselves for winning.

In other news, I started a new project. Yeah, I know…I have too many writing projects going on at once. But I figured that for the month of December I can go back and forth between that one and Detective Florence. I’m hoping that I will be able to finish that novel by the end of the month so for my New Year’s resolution I can say I want it to be completely edited by the end of 2014. Heh, we’ll see what happens.

Anyway, this new project is a collection of silly poems for kids. Random? Totally. Friday night Kris was writing her NaNo novel and I didn’t feel like writing mine. I was in a bit of a hyped up mood and ended up writing a poem about a fat dog named Sit. I would post it to give you guys a sneak peek, but I submitted it to Chicken Soup. They have a new book coming out called “The Dog Did WHAT?”

Now I’m sure most of you have heard of Chicken Soup for the Soul. Most of you probably have a few of their books. The stories and poems submitted are non-fiction, heart-felt, inspirational. Some make you laugh, some make you cry. Kris thought this poem was so adorable that she begged me to submit it. I don’t think it will get published as it’s obvious that it’s a silly fictional poem. But like Kris said, “The worst they can do is say no.” So I sent it in anyway, but I highly doubt it will get published.

The deadline for entries for this particular book is January 5, 2014. So it’s going to be a while before I hear back (if I hear back at all…I don’t think they contact you if it’s a rejection). So I will post it eventually. But I’m also shooting to make a whole book of these poems and maybe get that published someday. I have four poems so far. Go me!

So I was going to post an excerpt of Detective Florence today, but since I never finished the full manuscript, I’m going to wait. When I finish the novel (hopefully by the end of the month) I’ll post an excerpt of it.

Congrats to all those who won NaNoWriMo this year! 🙂

Day 15

Pep Talk…

The first game.
The first game.

 

Well, it’s day 15 of 30 for NaNoWriMo. We are wrapping up the end of week two and this day also marks halfway through the month. So, let’s talk about our novels some more to celebrate making it through the first half of the month.

What inspired your novel?

For me, this is an easy answer. I don’t usually know where my ideas come from. I tend to come up with title ideas and spin plots based off of the titles. However, I came up with this novel idea a long time ago, but it was completely different from what I’m making it be now.

My novel is called Detective Florence (Book One). It’s a mystery where Detective Florence gets laid off from the police department and starts up his own private detective agency. The daughter of his late partner gives him his first case with a robbery. But it soon turns into more than he bargained for when a dead body turns up.

I have never written a mystery before and I’ve never been too much into police work, detectives, all the law stuff. But a few years, my sister and I were on the shopping channel on the Wii Nintendo system and we came across a game called Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney. We bought it for the Wii Ware and decided to try it out. We fell in love with the game!

Coming from the couple of writers, we fell in love with more than just the game–the different plots from the cases, the characters, the dialogue, everything. Of course, we bought the third game not knowing there were too others before, but it was still playable. Some of the characters made more sense to us once we bought the first and second games and played those.

There are three Phoenix Wright games, two Miles Edgeworth games (except only one was released in the US), one Apollo Justice game, and they just came out with the fifth game called Dual Destinies. Kris and I are in the middle of playing that one now.

So my novel is based off of a video game and I’m having a pretty good time with it.

What inspired your novel?

Day 10

20 More Days…

 

Write

 

I didn’t write as much as I wanted to do today. So I’m glad I got a lot of words in yesterday. Today was still pretty productive, though. I got to hang out with my two sisters and future brother-in-law, so I can’t complain.

Today marks day ten of NaNo. We have 20 more days to go. I hope everyone is doing fantastic on their novels!

As promised, because today is Sunday, I added something new about my NaNo novel, Detective Florence. It’s the character profile for my male protagonist, Detective George Florence. Read it and hopefully you’ll fall in love with him just as I have. I’m also hoping that it will coax you into wanting to read the novel (whenever it’s finished, edited, and published, that is…).

So as I writing today, I realized something…there have been a few years when I’ve tried to write more than one novel for NaNo. Or tried to get to 100k in one or two novels for NaNo. I have about 16k left to write and I feel like I haven’t made a dent in the plot, yet for my novel.

Sure, the plot is moving. But it’s a murder mystery. There’s a lot of things going on. So many questions that need to be answered by the end of the book, but my characters are the ones who need to find the answers so the readers can figure it out, as well. At the pace I’m moving with my word count, it makes me wonder if (without trying this time) I will in fact hit 100k. Or maybe I’m just over thinking things.

But as I said, there are 20 days left. I guess a lot can happen in these next few weeks. Anything can happen.

If you want more Writing Buddies on NaNo, feel free to add me, Fiery_Sapphire, or my sister Kris, Winged_Spirit.

Today’s Word Count: 3,560
Total Word Count: 33,651
Today’s Page Count: 11
Total Page Count: 107