LIKE COLOR TO THE BLIND by Donna Williams

LIKE COLOR TO THE BLIND

Soul Searching and Soul Finding

KIRKUS REVIEW

 The third revealing volume in an ongoing autobiographical series that is beginning to take on the breathtaking quality of a thriller: Will Donna Williams find her real self? Will she and Ian build a life together? Will she reunite with her family? Williams, diagnosed as autistic, began her chain of memoirs (Nobody Nowhere, 1992) by offering herself as Exhibit A in an exploration of what it is like to be a person with autistic symptoms. For instance, like many other ``high-functioning'' autistics, she was unable to express or even feel emotions like anger or affection, and only mimed acceptable social behavior. Frequently overwhelmed by sensation--light, sound, touch--she would become confused, immobilized, at the most inopportune times, such as when crossing a busy street. Somebody Somewhere (1994) followed her struggles to reengage with the ``real'' world. More and more able to control disruptive flights of consciousness and ritualistic behavior, Williams moved on to replace false selves with real feelings. In this new work she describes her relationship with Ian, someone ``like me,'' who became her friend and then her husband. Together they worked to peel away the masks they had created to hide themselves from the world. Living together in an English cottage, they developed a system of ``checking'' each other. Were the choices they made- -about, for instance, what to have for breakfast--true choices, or simply the fulfillment of images imposed by parents, or television, or an indefinable ``should''? Together they came closer to understanding the feelings that other people call ``love.'' Williams's gift for metaphor, and her ability to render experience and feeling with a compelling clarity, open her world to a group of readers much larger than just those interested in autism. Sadly, Donna and Ian part, but they shared ``the heaven and hell which is the stuff of growth and development.'' What comes next? Readers are likely to be waiting impatiently for volume four of this extraordinary narrative.

Pub Date: July 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-8129-2640-4
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Times/Henry Holt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 1996




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