Synopses & Reviews
"This is a story of two battles, a battle to keep out 'the world' and a battle to join it."
She inhabits a place of chaos, cacophony, and dancing light--where physical contact is painful and sights and sounds have no meaning. Although labeled, at times, deaf, retarded, or disturbed, Donna Williams is autistic--afflicted by a baffling condition of heightened sensory perception that imprisons the sufferer in a private, almost hallucinatory universe of patterns and colors. Nobody Nowhere is Donna's story in her own words--a haunting, courageous memoir of the titanic struggles she has endured in her quest to merge "my world" with "the world."
"An extraordinary personal journey...Ms Williams maps a territory that has seemed the most impenetrable of all... A fascinating testimonial to an intelligence undimmed by mental turmoil." Daniel Goleman, The New York Times Book Review
"As brave a book as you'll ever read." Los Angeles Times Book Review
"By turns fascinating and harrowing...a riveting autobiography" People Magazine
A young Australian woman once trapped inside autism's nightmarish prison takes readers into this little-understood world in her searing, lyrical autobiography. Donna Williams offers unique insight into the workings of an autistic mind and sheds new light on what autism is--and is not. Photographs.
At the age of four Donna's main carers are gone when her grandfather dies and her grandmother is sent away. Now, left in a wild, violent, obsessive and alcoholic atmosphere the seemingly deaf, somewhat 'psychotic' and disturbed Donna is put on course with the goal of transforming her into a pretty and perfect dancing doll.
But inside of Donna there are other people she has collected along her road to survival; Willie who is like a civil rights activist on steroids and the smiling facade of Carol.
Carol plays the mother's doll to protect the soul of the real Donna. Intertwined with Willie's violent and defensive outbursts and paranoic protection and Donna's often bizarre and quite Autistic responses and behaviours, Carol, behaving like people on TV sit-coms, goes to school,even goes through the motions of 'friends', and develops a broad range of mimicked speech, stored phrases and charicatures, saving Donna from a life in an institution and often from the very real threat of death.
As the teenage years approach Carol and Willie fight it out for control of the body with the real Donna on the sidelines as the lot of them drift into homelessness, poverty and domestic prostitution passed from stranger to stranger.
After an attempted suicide she falls into the care of a psychiatrist and goes on to get a university education. But knowlege is not wisdom and without independence skills, Donna follows a stranger across the ocean where, on arrival, he abandons her to an itinerant bag-lady existance throughout Europe. This second journey begins with a man who will change her life and sense of self forever as she meets and falls in love with a real life 'mirror'with the same challenges as her own and, later faced with the loss of this first deep love, goes on a desperate and dangerous quest to find out 'what kind of mad' she is in the hope there is hope she can change it and as a result finds out she is Autistic; a realisation that ends up changing the entire field of Developmental Disabilities forever.
An international number one bestseller, with over 10 weeks at number one on the New York Times Bestseller List and today published in over 17 languages throughout the world, Nobody Nowhere is a moving, gripping, surreal, myth-shattering, sometimes hilarious but ultimately uplifting book and one that will stay with you as one of the most moving and exceptional works you will ever read. Life, 'normality' and 'reality' will not be the same after you read this book.
About the Author
When Donna Williams was nine they found out that she actually couldn't understand sentences. Hard to imagine that from there she has become an author with 9 published books including two international bestsellers.
Her writing career began when a typewriter was left in her room at the age of nine. She typed a whole line of letter patterns. Over the next four years the letter patterns would become word lists and the word lists would eventually become poetry hidden in a roof void for nobody to see. Donna Williams' career as a writer had begun.
She went on to write songs, re-entered education and developed an ability to write essays, then exploded into the literary world with her first two autobiographical works, the international bestsellers, Nobody Nowhere and then Somebody Somewhere. She followed these with two more autobiographical works, Like Color To The Blind and Everyday Heaven, which also sold internationally and then wrote a series of text books, Autism; An Inside Out Approach, Autism and Sensing; The Unlost Instinct, Exposure Anxiety; The Invisible Cage of Involuntary Self Protection Responses and The Jumbled Jigsaw and the poetry work, Not Just Anything.
Today she continues to write in a range of genres, including moving into fiction and film. Outside of her writing, she is an accomplished artist, sculptor and songwriter and regularly gives international lectures. She lives in the hills in semi-rural Melbourne with her husband Chris.