I have read this book three times. The first time I grabbed it to read, along with “Somebody Somewhere,” because I had worked with autistic children and was totally fascinated by them. My student teaching supervisor in college had pronounced me autistic at the time but I paid no attention to what he said although I could relate to “Nobody Nowhere,” and loved the book. Donna Williams held me as a captive and admiring audience and I couldn’t get enough of her work.
The second time I reread this book was on a whim, long after suffering a breakdown myself. I was much older and wiser on this second reading and, as I reread her story, I realized that I, too, was on the spectrum, as I had begun to suspect. This book gave me the courage to get diagnosed with Asperger’s at age 61.
The third time I reread this book was as an author of my own experiences of learning to love with Asperger’s and Bipolar Disorder. My admiration for the book withstood all three readings. In fact I am more impressed with her work and her life now more than ever. She is very high-functioning and has given the world of autistics and Aspies a reality that other people can relate to and understand. It is a real contribution to those on the Spectrum and to their families, teachers and therapists. This last reading also brought home how the abuse Donna suffered was appalling and, yet, I totally understood how, as she writes, it actually helped her to overcome many autistic ways. Love is very problematic for Aspies and Auties and sometimes we prefer distance to closeness because closeness is extremely painful for autistics and, to a lesser degree, for Aspies.
I would recommend the sequels to this book: “Somebody Somewhere,” “Like Colour to the Blind,” and “Everyday Heaven.” They make up a set. Donna Williams’ poetry is also very special. Read “Not Just Anything.” She is a brilliant woman and has conquered her pain with courage and intelligence and creativity!