“Labelled deaf, abnormal, nut, retard, spastic, mental, moron, ‘blonk’, crazy, weird, wild and insane, Donna Williams lived in a world of her own. She existed in a state of dreamlike recession, viewing her incomprehensible surroundings from the security of a ‘world under glass’. Few people understood her, least of all Donna herself, and she yearned to become ‘normal’. At the age of twenty-five, Donna discovered a word, a new label, which brought with it a handful of answers, a chance for forgiveness and hope for a sense of belonging:that word was autism.”
This isn’t my typical choice of book, I usually go for light hearted books about love and life, I’m the stereotypical girl in that respect. However, I stumbled across this book when gathering information for my EPQ. The focus of my essay is autism and the causes as well as the lives led by autistic people.
I didn’t think I would enjoy the book, I thought it would be a challenge to get through and would solely be for work purposes, I even had designated times I would read it-not too early in the day in case I drifted off to sleep, and not too late in case…again..I drifted off to sleep.
However, when I started the book I quickly became hooked. As you may have gathered, I’m fascinated by autism, but I can safely say anyone would find this book interesting.
It is an autobiography written by an autistic women, looking back over her life. This is a rare case of written documentation of a first hand account of the perspective of a sufferer of autism on their life. Many autistic patients have an incredible memory, and so her account travels back to the age of infancy.
It is one of the most fascinating books I’ve ever read, and has become one of my favourites. It is not a light-hearted book in any sense, her story is sad and at times disturbing, however the outcome leaves you hopeful and opens your mind.
I read this book a couple of months ago and even now at times I still just sit back and think about it. There is no doubt I will read it multiple times, it is just one of those books that has a long lasting impact on a person.
Here is an extract from introduction, before the book even begins:
“This is a story of two battles, a battle to keep out ‘the world’ and a battle to join it. It tells of the battles within ‘my own world’ and the battle lines, tactics used, and casualties of my private wars against others.
This is my attempt at a truce, the conditions of which are on my terms. I have, throughout my private war, been a she, a you, a Donna, a me and finally an I. All of us will tell it like it was and like it is. If you sense distance, you’re not mistaken; it’s real. Welcome to my world.”
It is the first addition of a series of four books: Nobody Nowhere, Somebody Somewhere, Like Colour to the Blind and Everyday Heaven.