Back when I was still wandering the waters of am I autistic, I read Naoki Higashida’s first book The Reason I Jump. I was on a train from the bookshop in the Chilterns back to my regular bookshop to meet my colleagues for work drinks, and I whizzed through it. I arrived flapping and buzzing with information, which they kindly took on board even though I was definitely oversharing in that autism specific interest kind of way.
When the publicity bods at Hodder told me last year that another of Naoki’s books had been translated into English, that rush came back to me.
Naoki Higashida, an autistic Japanese man, once again delivers in creating a wonderful book of short essays, poetry and short fiction. This edition was originally published in Japan in 2015, deemed as the most illuminating of Higashida’s books by author David Mitchell. Fall Down 7 Times Get Up 8 also includes a number of essays that were originally printed in the Japanese edition of The Big Issue, which he quite regularly writes for.
Higashida’s short essays are insightful, illuminating and beautiful; he has a way with words that captivates me. As a mostly non verbal autistic man, he writes about the ways people treat similarly disabled people – talking as though they aren’t there, habitually removing their dignity or choices for the sake of ease, the frustration of being unable to communicate the nuances of your needs. His writing is essential reading for anyone interested in disability rights, as well as for anyone wanting to know more about autistic people.
Living in a way different to everyone else requires a degree of courage.
His poetry is rooted in dreams; simplistic, poignant and beautiful. His writing is lyrical, careful. His observations on human behaviour are astute.
lies in first
that one owes
As an autistic person, I can say that autistic and neurotypical people will find a lot to love here.
This is a book that can be both devoured in one go and read a short essay at a time. It is a book that settles in your mind, flickering thoughts that linger.
I’m very hopeful that more of Higashida’s books will be translated by David Mitchell and KA Yoshida over the years, as his writing floors me every time.
Buy it from Book Depository!
What to read next:
- The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higashida
- Fingers in the Sparkle Jar by Chris Packham
- Odd Girl Out by Laura James
Want to read more books about or by autistic people? Check out the Essential Autistic Reading List.
Thank you ever so much to Sceptre Books and the team at Hodder for sharing this important book with me.