Donna Williams was born in Australia, in the 1960's, when autism was not heard of, although the condition existed as commonly as it does nowadays. Imagine a child who was born with senses "turned up to full volume". The world is bombarding her with sounds, colours and textures; it all is so overwhelming
that it creates a sub-universe. There is the girl locked in her sensory experience, as in a bubble impenetrable to other people. Words and faces are very difficult to read,so as emotions.
Donna's mother could not cope with the child like this ever since she realized her little girl will never become the little ballerina. Her father instinctively kind, managed to communicate with her through stories. Donna was always sick, impulsive, ecstatic and adventurous. A lot of her erratic behaviour was due
to all the wrong medication she was put on after, in early childhood, she was diagnosed as psychotic.. With that, left to deal with the world on her own.
She writes her memories of phisycal abuse from her mother with a very disturbing, but typical for an autistic person detachment. All that was happening only to her body. Real Donna was inside, nothing could hurt her there. She developed two personalities apart from Donna which helped her to survive. The male called Willie was a mischievous, naughty boy always in trouble and ready to fight. The second, female called Carol helped her to survive school as she was the well behaved worldly girl. It did help,although she still could not understand why people do what they do, could not understand more than three sentences in a row, but knew when the people were real when the fight was coming.
At the age of fifteen her family could not deal with her anymore and she was left alone in this cruel world. A man she knew briefly, mentioned moving in together one day. In her literal understanding she packed next day and, to his surprise, turned up on his doorstep. He didn't say it was a long term, plan... This incident opened another chapter of Donna's journey to understand and fit in. She was again abused, taken advantage of, left to care for herself. She was a nobody nowhere. Unable to explain her feelings, unable to understand the others, with not much of a common sense.Lost in the unreadable, she stored the patterns, she became a master of parody and mimicry which did help to communicate and make friends.
A crazy girl. With all those misfortunes and barriers - she loved life, she wanted to belong and enjoy it.
Carol and Willie wanted to know who Donna is, and wanted her to surface.
Finally in Donna's twenties, she became so ill she had to seek help. At that point she was lucky to meet the right people, who have first diagnosed her with numerous digestive and immune disorders and then autism. It took a year for Donna to regain her cohesive self and begin to guide her life rather than live from day to day. This was only first year of the ten years of treatment
"Nobody Nowhere" was written during the time when Donna tried to understand where she'd been and where she will go from here. As she says, the book was left behind in UK and accidentally became an international bestseller. The second part of her autobiography titled "Somebody Somewhere" was published next.
Today Donna is a living proof of that autism cannot stop anyone from living the life to the full. She is a recognized lecturer, teacher, artist and a musician. She wrote nine books altogether, a few screenplays and films.
"Nobody Nowhere" will take you on the emotional rollercoster. Tears and laugh will mix with awe and you will find it so hard to put down. I wish we had more publishing "accidents" like this.