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About the Author: Donna Williams

Donna Williams is the author of Nobody Nowhere: The Extraordinary Autobiography of an Autistic, in which she tells of her lifelong battle with autism -- a developmental disorder originating in infancy and characterized by self-absorption, repetitive and rigidly structured behavior, language dysfunction, and an inability to interact socially. Williams depicts in her book a world of disembodied color, pattern, and sound. At times she would madly rub her eyes and withdraw into "bright spots of fluffy color," attempting to escape what she called the "intrusive gabble" of other people. Torn between a dread of physical contact and a desire for emotional connection, Williams would often beat herself then assume a fetal position. "Hurting herself," as New York Times Book Review contributor Daniel Goleman relates, "or doing shocking things ... were ways to reassure herself that she did indeed exist."

Goleman explains that books such as Williams's provide a valuable insight into an unfamiliar world, "revealing to outsiders that what may seem bizarre and unpredictable follows its own internal logic, however strange." Writing for the Los Angeles Times Book Review, Chris Goodrich found that Williams "proves herself to be rigorously analytical and remarkably free of self-pity, despite a life fraught with fear, pain, and misunderstanding." Nobody Nowhere was written by Williams in her efforts to better understand her world. Only upon the advice of two therapists familiar with autism did Williams decide to publish her writings. Goleman noted that the work provides "a fascinating testimony to an intelligence undimmed by mental turmoil," while Goodrich proclaimed that "Nobody Nowhere is as brave a book as you'll ever read."

Williams told CA: "Autism is not a 'mental disorder' anymore than it is a communication, social, perceptual, or neurological disorder. It is a pervasive development disorder (PDD) affecting many areas of development. It is not a mental illness, nor is it synonymous with mental retardation."

Source: Contemporary Authors Online, Gale, 2003.
Source Database: Contemporary Authors
PEN (Permanent Entry Number): 0000115308


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The Remarkable Autobiography of an Autistic Girl by

Goodreads rating: 3.93

Paperback, Published in Dec 1998 by Jessica Kingsley Publishers

ISBN10: 1853027189 | ISBN13: 9781853027185

Donna Williams was a child with more labels than a jam-jar: deaf, wild disturbed, stupid insane... She lived within herself, her own world her foreground, ours a background she only visited. Isolated from her self and from the outside world, Donna was, in her words, a Nobody Nowhere. She swung violently between these two worlds, battling to join our world and, simultaneously, to keep it out. Abandoned from all connection to the self within her, she lived as a ghost with a body, a patchwork of the images which bombarded her. Intact but detached from the seemingly incomprehensible world around her, she lived in what she called 'a world under glass`.

After twenty-five years of being misunderstood, and unable to understand herself, Donna stumbled upon the word 'autism': a label, but one which held up a mirror and made sense of her life and struggles, and gave her a chance to finally forgive both herself and those around her.

Nobody Nowhere is disturbing, eloquent and ticklishly funny: it is an account of the soul of someone who lived the word 'autism' and survived in an unsympathetic environment despite intense inner chaos and incomprehension. It describes how, against the odds, Donna came to live independently, achieve a place at university, and write this remarkable autobiography. It is now an international bestseller, sold in over 14 languages throughout the world. This is a book that will stay with you as one of the most exceptional works you will ever read.

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