on 10 August 1999
A well written biography which lets you into her life, and understand why she is the way she is. An excellent reference book for anyone who has contact with autistic people, and some insight and understanding on people who act differently for those who havent. Everyone should read this book.
on 8 June 2006
This book for me was inspirational and thought provoking. It allowed me an insight into the mind of a person with Autism and shed light on why particular behaviours maybe displayed. Thus, enabling me to respond more appropriately to a person with autism's needs, rather than the task that needs to be carried out!
I found the book distressing in parts (due to how Donna is being treated by others) however, the strength and dermination of her is remarkable. There were parts in the book that made me laugh e.g. her inability at times to generalize and the reactions of others.
Considering i find reading difficult (due to dyslexia) i was unable to put this book down. My family where impressed as it usually takes months to read a book, but this took a week for me! Overall, this book has increased my understanding about what Autism is and what people with Autism experience externally (interacting with others, behaviours, sensory overload etc) and internally (fear, vulnerability, tranquility etc). I Hope i have done enough to convince you that this book is a must for gaining/enhancing personal understanding of Autism!!!!
on 28 July 2013
I have Asperger's Syndrome and am keen to read other people's experiences. Donna tells it 'as it is', the reality of being different and having to find a way to make yourself understood, at the same time struggling to learn the necessary skills to fit into a largely neuro-typical world. I could identify with many of her situations - not all to the same intensity - non the less, identifying myself in her words was a hugely comforting and normalizing experience.
Yes Donna, we are all fruit salads - I love that expression and will carry it with me in the years to come. Thank you.
on 13 March 2006
This is a truly absorbing autobiography that touches the reader deeply. I could not put it down and was thoroughly addicted to it for three days. Despite Donna William's torturous relationship to her own emotions , she at once relates to the reader, exposing her deep lonliness and isolation - fears that are universal to all of us.
This is a must read for all - especially to those interested in psychology, sociology, anthropology.
on 7 March 2009
I suppose Donna Williams indicated very creatively what it is like to have autism. Actually she felt different and distant from 'the world', and became withdrawn into 'her world', where she played 3 characters - Carol, Willie, and Donna herself. And it must be extremely hard to get into 'the world' because she had to face a whole bunch of social minefields not only at school but also at home, where her evil mother and older brother terribly bullied Donna. So I suppose a nobody nowhere means she had nowhere to be comfortable in 'the world'. I suspect like most autistic/Asperger people she saw everything differently from other people, who often called her eccentric.
After all she was trying to get into 'the world' as she dealt with various kinds of people including autistic ones. I guess it means the starting point of a somebody somewhere.
on 20 October 2009
I really did enjoy reading this book, although if i am honest i found it hard going in places. I kept having to re-read sentences for it to register, the poems unfortunately went over my head. I finished the book and the next day i actually met Donna Williams who was a lovely lady. I had to stop myself hugging her for all the bad things that she had been through, i'm not sure she would have appreciated that! As the mother of an ASD child i'm glad i read the book and i do have her next book,'somebody somewhere' waiting and ready to read.
This is quite a challenging book for me to review. It is an autobiographical account by an Australian girl called Donna who has "characters",as she terms them, named Carol and Willie.
Donna adopted the identity of these "characters" at times of need, Willie appeared to her when she was about two and "was no more than a pair of piercing green eyes whcih could only be seen in the darkness". Willie became the self Donna directed to the outside world, with his glaring eyes and clenched fists. Willie had "a look of complete hatred". Carol was a girl Donna met at at early age who brought her home to her house. Donna wanted to live in Carol's world. When Donna became Carol, she smiled and laughed, and could act "relatively normal". Donna disappeared and Carol "took the stage".
It would be interesting to learn how Donna's condition with her role-playing characters compares with that of those suffering from multiple personality disorder or whatever the correct term is nowadays.
Though Donna may have had several symptoms characteristic of autism, such as problems with the understanding of certain concepts, she did succeed in establishing several amazingly close, though perhaps absolutely short-term, relationships both as a child and an adult, the adult relationships being with others suffering from similar difficulties as herself. But what I'm trying to say is, I don't connect autism, which is a condition where you not only have your own inner world, as I suppose Donna did, shut others out and often never even learn to speak, with a person capable of fluent speech and who establishes deep relationships. In fact reading this book makes me ponder over the whole matter of diagnoses - I have to think rather that according to the various ways we were treated/abused as children, we all suffer from various flaws in character, and when several/many individuals are discovered to possess a group of similar such flaws, this is then dubbed to be a particular "disorder". In fact, no matter what, we are all individuals, differing considerably from each other.
Donna had various flaws and difficulties, but worked on all these by herself in order to turn into a more normally functioning human being. She explains to us her various cognitive problems, strange patterns of behaviour, etc, etc and it was a long process for her to make her own diagnosis, working as stated mainly on her own, though she did at one point find a nurturing friend and kindred spirit in the form of a psychiatrist, whom she herself sought out.
She has a keen intellect and among her achievements completed a university education.
Her mother was abusive, her father weak and passive, and the whole family (she had two brothers) was thus dysfunctional. The book was complete with photos of Donna as a child and later, and of her brothers and auntie. It was a bit shocking for me that the cover photo of Donna at the age of 3 or 4 is the spitting image of a photo of myself at the same age.
The book is well-expressed, though still I haven't managed to comprehend the way Donna's mind worked and how she processed her early experiences. In the final pages Donna explains her various symptoms, their causes as she understands them and their symbolic meanings.
It bothered me somewhat that the book had no chapters, ans this somehow made it seem a bit chaotic, as though her various experiences, chaotic in themselves, were piled up on top of one another and thrown towards us with no interludes.
An interesting book from the psychological point of view, and well worth reading.
on 4 January 2016
This is a brilliant book. A must-read for all who study autism. Whether "autism" is simply a label or not , is another matter. The auithor of this book - Donna Williams- demonstrates a very high, deep, and unique way of thinking. People with autism, are very special people indeed.