Nobody Nowhere was written in 1992, just three years after receiving the diagnosis of Autism. The book is made up of many experiences throughout Donna's life starting at the pre-school level. It was not until page 58 that the reader learns that Donna lived in Australia, now residing in England.
From the age of eleven Donna has been on painkillers for rheumatism. Donna danced until the age of seven although never learning left from right. A quote that seems to shed some light on the title for me was when she heard this, "You can't go Donna. There is nowhere to go." Then Donna wrote this, "If anything I'd ever heard summed up the nature of the trap I was in, those words captured it like Shakespeare."
Her grandmother smelled of camphor and to the time she wrote Nobody Nowhere, Donna was buying eucalyptus oil and spreading it around rooms and in corners to keep out everything else, except for that feeling that association with the smell gave her.
The way Donna saw things was bit by bit, a string of pieces strung together. Donna got her first job at the age of fifteen, sorting goods in a department store. Donna got a goat from a service station when she was twenty-one, naming it after her late grandfather.
For years Donna slept with her eyes open and her dreams would come true years later. Donna had brothers older and younger than her and a Mother that abused her, calling her a drug addict and slut. Donna was three people, Carol, Willie and Donna. She would escape into the characters and felt it was okay to feel only three years old.
It was confusing at times since Willie and Carol are described as personalities. Donna saw Mary from the Psychiatric outpatient department for several years, who thought Donna was Schizophrenic. As Donna explained, "Carol was always sent out to test the waters before Donna decided it was safe to jump in."
Donna went to the park as a six year old in a nightie with tons of makeup on her face, met a girl named Carol who took her home. Carol's mother did not know what to make of Donna and cleaned her up and had Carol take Donna back to the park to the swing. This was the first time another child had spoken to Donna and she added Carol to her personality. Willie was her younger brother and she reverted back to him often.
Donna wanted to work in a bank because the employees wore uniforms and people who wore uniforms were respected, so she thought. Donna traveled to England around the age of twenty-five and did some stand up comedy while in Holland. Donna had purchased a piano when still in Australia.
Donna referred back to friends she met throughout the book and moved every two months since it felt like two years to her. She had many male friends as well as female friends that came and went.
Nobody Nowhere does not touch upon the Special Education Laws or assessments that I have experienced with my two autistic children. Since her diagnosis was later in life that aspect of the disability is not mentioned since she did not experience it.
This was an interesting account of Donna's life and how she dealt with the outside world and intertwined her three personalities to cope. I feel this is a worthwhile read for any parent or relative of an autistic person. Teachers and psychologists as well as therapists would better understand how an autistic person sees themselves.
Originally published on Epinions
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