This book is written by a 13-year-old autistic child but several reviewers are not convinced. In the several reviews I read they discussed their scepticism about how much of the translation was added to. The book was originally written by Higashida but translated from Japanese to English by David Mitchell, the author of “Cloud Atlas”. Mitchell and his wife, KA Yoshida, provided the translation. As a father of an autistic child, some reviewers debate whether David Mitchell was too emotionally close to the subject to translate it objectively.
Here are links to some of the reviews:
Personally, I found this book interesting. I suppose that seeing as we cannot guarantee how accurately the translation has been made then it needs to be with taken with a pinch of salt, especially because Naoki had nothing to do with the English translation.
Each of the chapters is a question and then Naoki’s answer to that question. Within the text he does not mention many other people but uses ‘us’ and ‘we’ frequently. He seems to be referring to all autistic people at these points. Is it truly possible to know how every person with a condition is responding to a certain stimulus? I’m not sure.
What I do know is, that to get just a snippet of insight into an autistic person’s mind is going to help anyone to understand the condition better, communicate better, not be afraid then it is useful.
I am a teacher. I have taught autistic children in the past. I have taught children with Asperger’s. I believe that trying to understand the way an autistic person’s mind may work and have more of an idea of how it may be possibly help a person with autism whilst also understanding that everyone is different is important.
Just as one introvert cannot write a book explaining how all introverts think, or one woman write about all women. So we cannot expect one autistic child to be able to do the same. David Mitchell says it himself when he writes.
Every autistic person exhibits his or her own variation of the condition – and the more like retina patterns than measles – and the more unorthodox the treatment for one child, the less likely it is to help another (mine, for example).
However, it was a relatively quick read and interesting insight into the mind of an autistic child if not all. I am glad I picked it up from the shelf to read.
I find it hard to give this a star rating because all my other reviews are based on things relating to fiction like voice, setting, description, authenticity of relationships, etc. But I definitely recommend it as something that should be read to enable us to understand, maybe just a little bit, autism.
Have you read it? What did you think? Please comment your thoughts below and let me know.
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Next on my T.B.R list is THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN by Paula Hawkins