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Ryan DeJonghe - The Avid Reader

I didn't always read, but that changed in June of 2013. I dropped the unnecessary stuff and picked up the awesome stuff--like reading! I started posting my reviews on Amazon and within a few months rose to the top 0.1% of reviewers. My reviews then went to Goodreads, and now my blog (http://ryandejonghe.wordpress.com) and Twitter (@Ryan_Reads). If you are reading this, why not leave a comment or send me a note? I love talking to other folks about books and my reviews. Publishers and authors, feel free to drop me a note if you want me to review your book. I usually stick to mainstream publishing, but I'll consider anything. If I review your book, I’ll give you a fair and thorough review and let you know when the review goes live. You can reach me at dejonghes@gmail.com. Happy Reading!
The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism - K.A. Yoshida, Naoki Higashida, David Mitchell

There are two reasons I choose this book. One, because I’ve heard so much about it (including from my sister—hi, Kathy!). Two, because of David Mitchell. I’m super excited about the upcoming THE BONE CLOCKS and wanted to read and review this and CLOUD ATLAS leading up to that. THE REASON I JUMP not only shows the life of thirteen-year-old autistic Naoki Higashida, but also serves as a conduit for a parent of an autistic child to share the beauty found within autism with the world. Thanks to Mitchell and his wife, we are able to read in English what otherwise would have been missed. That’s what this book means to me: capturing the beauty that is otherwise missed.



Someone helped and taught Higashida to use an alphabet board to communicate. The messages he delivers are mostly in answer to questions, such as “why do you jump so much?”, or “why do you make so much noise?” (nothing is too personal), and the rest in short stories.



At first, the message of struggle is clear. To communicate, when communication is impossible. To want to be watched, when no one knows what to do. To be a part of the group.



The message then moves into the more detailed world of Higashida. If you pay attention, there is much we can learn. His world, as many with autism, is not measured in time. It is measured in beauty and fascination. After answering several questions, he shares the story of the tortoise and the hare. Their second race, the tortoise tips over, but everyone is at the starting line, helping him and not at the finish, cheering the hare. Later, he shares his story of the airplane, where he feels comfort strapped down above the earth in his own gravity.



Yes, there are complexities, but there isn’t critiquing. There are fears, but there is serenity in movement. It may seem like two different worlds, but each has a message for the other. We just have to listen. Thankfully, the message was given and translated to make that process easier.