Synopses & Reviews
NEW YORK TIMES
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.
“A rare road map into the world of severe autism....[Higashida’s] insights...unquestionably give those of us whose children have autism just a little more patience, allowing us to recognize the beauty in ‘odd’ behaviors where perhaps we saw none.” People
“Please don’t assume that The Reason I Jump is just another book for the crowded autism shelf....This is an intimate book, one that brings readers right into an autistic mind — what it’s like without boundaries of time, why cues and prompts are necessary, and why it’s so impossible to hold someone else’s hand. Of course, there’s a wide range of behavior here; that’s why ‘on the spectrum’ has become such a popular phrase. But by listening to this voice, we can understand its echoes.” Chicago Tribune (Editor’s Choice)
“Surely one of the most remarkable books yet to be featured in these pages.” Publishers Weekly
“The Reason I Jump is a Rosetta stone....I had to keep reminding myself that the author was a thirteen-year-old boy when he wrote this...because the freshness of voice coexists with so much wisdom. This book takes about ninety minutes to read, and it will stretch your vision of what it is to be human.” Andrew Solomon, The Times (London)
“[Higashida] illuminates his autism from within....Anyone struggling to understand autism will be grateful for the book and translation.” Kirkus Reviews
About the Author
Naoki Higashida was born in 1992 and diagnosed with ‘autistic tendencies’ in 1998. He subsequently attended schools for students with special needs and graduated in 2011. He has published several works of fiction and non-fiction and won awards for his writing. He also gives talks about autism and writes a blog. He lives in Kimitsu, Japan.
KA Yoshida as born in Yamaguchi, Japan, and specialized in English Poetry at Notre Dame Seishin University.
David Mitchell is the author of the international bestseller The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet; Black Swan Green; Cloud Atlas, which was a Man Booker Prize finalist and made into a major motion picture; Number9Dream, which was short-listed for the Man Booker as well as the James Tait Black Memorial Prize; and Ghostwritten, awarded the Mail on Sunday/John Llewellyn Rhys Prize for best book by a writer under thirty-five and short-listed for the Guardian First Book Award. He lives in Ireland with his wife and two children.