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The Reason I Jump: one boy's voice from the silence of autism Hardcover – 1 Jul 2013

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Sceptre (1 July 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1444776754
  • ISBN-13: 978-1444776751
  • Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 2.2 x 20.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (760 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 9,397 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


An extraordinary account of how autism feels from the inside. (Observer)

The most remarkable book of the year. The book throws a pontoon bridge over the chasm dividing autistic and neuro-typical experience. (Charlotte Moore, Books of the Year 2013 Spectator)

The Reason I Jump reads effortlessly, each page challenging preconceptions that autistic people lack empathy, humour or imagination. (Independent on Sunday)

This is a wonderful book. I defy anyone not to be captivated, charmed and uplifted by it. But above all, you will never feel the same about autism again. (Evening Standard)

The freshness of voice coexists with so much wisdom . . . it will stretch your vision of what it is to be human. (The Times)

[The Reason I Jump] has been impossible to forget. (Ian Thomson, Books of the Year 2013 Evening Standard)

Book Description

A rare and important insight into the mind of an autistic child.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

136 of 140 people found the following review helpful By poppyfairy on 26 July 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is just brilliant. I have two teenage children both with very complex autism, a daughter and a son. Over the years I have attempted to read some books - whether by 'experts' or other parents - on autism. The 'experts' books I have found not helpful as autism affects each person so uniquely and what the 'experts' say is often cold and difficult to personalise. I have found other parents books often quite depressing and have not managed to get passed the first few chapters. My experience with my children is my own journey - but my children are just the most amazing, courageous, beautiful people, and I kind of get tired seeing/reading negative things. These young people cope with so much, and this book by this young man is the first real honest insight into the thoughts and processes of autistic young people.

Sometimes there aren't any answers to the questions that are posed, but that in itself is an insight. I feel I know my children so well, but there are things written which my children wouldn't be able to explain to me, but are totally applicable to them. I read some of the questions/answers to my son; he kept jumping up and down saying 'That's how it is. That's how I feel.' At one point he was moved to tears and just said 'Oh wow'. My son would never have been able to tell me those things himself but to hear it voiced by another young man, who has a similar life journey to my son, helped him tremendously. So I would say this book is not only invaluable to parents and carers, teachers and support staff. But mostly, I would say it is for other young autistic people themselves, it gives them an opportunity to explain to you what's applicable, what's the same, and opens up discussion on how things are for them.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Lady Fancifull TOP 500 REVIEWER on 28 Feb. 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Naoki Higashida was 13 when he wrote this book, a young Japanese boy with autism. Using a complicated (to my eyes) grid with Japanese characters he pointed to each one in order to indicate what he wanted to write. His focus is to explain autism from the inside, in order to let the rest of us - and presumably, most of all - those who have a child with autism, a sibling with autism, who teach children with autism - understand the supreme mismatch between what those of us who are not autistic see and mis-interpret and what people with autism feel.

I came to this book because I am a great admirer of David Mitchell's writing, and thought initially this was a book BY Mitchell, before discovering it is a book translated by Mitchell and his wife, Keiko Yoshida, and with a foreword by Mitchell, in which, with typical intensity and precision, he guides the reader into an imaginative exercise to try to help us make the jump into an inside experience of autism. And yes, I found it bewildering and terrifying, which is rather the point Mitchell wants us to realise, before Naoki Higashida eloquently explains the rich, profound, tender complexity of his interior world.

What Mitchell's foreword also reveals, again with the empathetic, compassionate humanity which is a hallmark of his writing, is that there is a back-story to this translation by Yoshida and Mitchell - they are the parents of an boy with autism.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Half Man, Half Book on 14 Jun. 2014
Format: Hardcover
The spectre of autism is one that affects both the individual and those around them. Whilst current research is making great strides in understanding the brain in both autistic and normal people, not so much has been understood about the how and why their behaviour is as it is.

As he has some difficulty providing verbal answers, his mother devised an alphabet grid where he spells out the words. This meant that he could start to communicate at his own pace and not be stressed trying to find the right word for an immediate reply. Higashida sets about answering a series of questions that have been posed about his feelings and behaviour and his perspective on the world. He does his very best to explain just how he feels in certain situations, the times when it is best to help him, and the times when he needs to be left to conclude his anguish alone. His compassion and empathy for others come across in his answers, but there are aspects of his autism that he cannot explain or understand, such as the way he reacts to sounds, that he just knows it is like that. What also comes across is his deep connection to all things natural, from wanting to fly like a bird, or just immerse himself in the landscape.

The introduction and translation by David Mitchell and his wife, KA Yoshida is sensitively done, and there are beautiful black and white artworks by Kay & Sunny throughout the book.

Whilst this is not a book that will illuminate everything that you need to know about autism, it does go some way into shining a light into the darker corners.
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