Nobody Nowhere..autistic (英語) ペーパーバック – 1994/2/1
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"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."
6 1.5-hour cassettes
(外国の人のために英語でも書いておきます。For English speaking people, I'll write above also in English.)
I was profoundly impressed by her book. I read book 1, "Nobody Nowhere". I'm on the way of reading the sequel, second book "Somebody Somewhere", which is also an magnificently impressing and healing epic narrative. I'm of course determined to read the third sequel.
I would like to remind the people who are considering to purchase the audio CD. The CD is her songs, not a recitation of the book. Music is great. She wrote the words and composed melodies. She has an enormous singing prowess. I would like all you to understand it.
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.
This story is written in an unconventional style. Her words are lovely, and everything written is easily understood. However, the order of the "chapters" can make it hard to follow at times. This is not to say that this book was inadequately written. On the contrary, this order artistically demonstrates what it is really like to be autistic. The words are all there, but it is up to you to decipher them.
As someone who recently found the label "autistic" myself, I feel as though this book is invaluable to me. This book illustrates situations that I am far too familiar with. It captures the feelings and thoughts that I have felt and thought myself. Not every autistic person is exactly like Donna. In fact, I feel that her story most pertains to those who struggled through their childhood not diagnosed, without a community to rely on. However, that is not to say that this story doesn't pertain to others as well. In fact, there is still a lot that can be learned here by parents of autistic children or by everyday people who are curious about those with this disorder.
At the end of the story, there is even some tips on how to help or interact with autistic children. And, she provides some insight to common behaviors.
If you are curious about autism, this is a great book for you to read, but it is best read after you have already gained some general knowledge about autism first.
If you are a parent with an autistic child, this is a great book for you to read, but autistic people are people, so do not assume that every situation can be applied to your child as well.
If you think that you are on the spectrum but have never been diagnosed, this is a great book for you to read, but understand that this book will not be able to give you all of the answers that you might crave.
Overall, this is a wonderful book, and I am quite happy to have it in my collection.
Part I. Nobody Nowhere
There is no typical person with autism; yet, like many people on the spectrum, Donna Williams was distant from the world. That was her world. A gifted writer, Donna sought to reconcile her world with the world around her.
Donna, like many people with autism, often had difficulty in perceiving and understanding other people’s speech and facial expressions. Yet, she felt extremely motivated to try—and be like them. And she drew upon one of her marked strengths: communicating in writing. In Nobody Nowhere and its follow-up, Somebody Somewhere, Donna was able to tell her story and express her feelings in an intensely personal and poignant way.
Even Donna’s first dream was nothingness—spots of “fluffy color” surrounded her in a sea of whiteness. She rubbed her eyes until a loud slap from her mother’s hand landed on her, interrupting her attempt to understand her world. She resumed rubbing her eyes, which ended with yet another slap—it was time for her to learn about “the world.”
Donna writes extensively of her troubled childhood, a world characterized by abuse, ridicule, lack of support and, eventually, rejection. However, as painful as it was, her dysfunctional childhood that gave her the impetus and “freedom to find emotionally detached corners of the world from which to study and teach myself things through my two characters.” Donna conceived two characters, Willie and Carol, with whom she could relay her emotions and eventually communicate with the world. In a strange twist, Donna is thankful for her “bad” parents; without her, Donna claims she would not be able to live independently and, worse, be confined to an institution.
Oftentimes, Donna was besieged with illogical emotions, such as that affection and kindness could incapacitate her—or at least cause pain. Ignoring such a deluge of sensations often left her “without emotional feeling and with a purely robotic mental response—if that.” Then, again, losing all awareness of the world—of all things usually considered real—and ultimately losing all sense of self offered Donna her only dependable security. People who practice Zen medication and yoga do the very same to achieve inner peace and tranquility.
Donna developed a close relationship with Bryn, who introduced her to the poetry of T.S. Eliot, who wrote “In my beginning is my end” and “in my end is my beginning.” From the paintings of Vincent van Gogh, Donna learned that beauty can be found in simplicity, and one needs to look beyond the surface of things often dismissed as ugly.
Donna’s tumultuous childhood consisted of the adults of her family and school to impose the complexities of the world, when she sought simplicity to make sense of her world, which she expresses in heartfelt poetry:
Shattered dreams, broken glass,
Echoes of a shattered past,
Too many names strewn about,
The kind that one can live without.
They’re the shadows here, within,
That tears apart personality.
After a particularly difficult spell, Donna decided it was time to say good-bye to Willie. She took a boy doll, placed him in a shiny black box, and buried it. “Let go, I say, my tear-soaked stranger…. I’m afraid that you have drowned beneath the many dreams which did evade you and the many stars so out of reach. Let go, I say. I must take over … and perish in a past of shadows, so that I may walk a stronger path.
Dealing with Carol, however, was much more challenging. She smiled, but it was one in which “you can see the fear in the grimace-like smile.” It took rekindling an old friendship with Mary to undo the spell.
“As always, my motivation to interact was to prove my sanity and avoid getting locked in an institution,” she writes. Over the years, Donna’s school career would take her through many schools. As an adolescent, anxiety and pain tormented her. Sometimes, Donna thought she was going mad. She had her share of destructive spells and tantrums and could scream out, “I’m not *$ mad!” Art and music were her favorite classes. Other times, she would go out and wonder, to “make my own classes.” Donna’s journey was a perilous one.