I heard about this on a blog that reviewed science fiction and fantasy books mostly but also new Manga that took the reviewer's fancy. He said it was brilliant, so I picked it up. I was also interested in it because I have Asperger's Syndrome. Asperger's and Autism aren't exactly the same, but they come from the same spectrum. This Manga shows not only a touching portrayal of raising an Autistic boy, but also the attitudes that Japanese people have towards both gender roles and bringing up children. It starts with a young mother whose salaryman husband doesn't pay attention to her or his new son, until she decides she's going to run away with the child for help. The child will not look at her and does not like being hugged, and other people who see her plight blame it on bad mothering. What the reality is: the fact that the child has Autism, is misunderstood by many around her, apart from a supportive parent's group she finds that assists this poor woman. Eventually, the father realises what is really needed from him, not the endless striving at a corporation, but striving as a father to his child. And that's just the first half of this massive volume! This is a much better explanation of Autism in children than "The Curious Incident With The Dog In The Night-Time" ever was. The art is pretty well done as well, the Manga style of drawing really conveys the emotions of the characters. Somehow the stress of parenting is done justice by this artform, because Manga is such an expressive medium where characters wear their emotions on their sleeves. Even the Autistic boy's difficulty of conveying emotion effectively is depicted in a realistic way, I feel. Not too sugary a story about how a marriage is united by a child either. It's not lovey-dovey all the time, and there's a lot of distress on the parent's part. But still, they do a better job at coping than many other parents without the same issues with their children. This seems to be not just a story about Autism, but how marriage and family in Japan is constructed by their society. Highly recommended.
About This Item
With the Light...
|Number of Pages|
With the Light... Vol. 1
|Assembled Product Dimensions (L x W x H)|
8.25 x 5.75 x 1.50 Inches
I heard about this on ...
This is a 523-page man...
This is a 523-page manga originally published in Japan as Hikari To Tomoni. It is a beautiful portrayal of the hardship and joys of having an autistic child. My own little guy is 2.5 years old and was just diagnosed as high-functioning autistic, though I have suspected his condition for a long time. The child in the book, Hikaru, has a much more severe autism, but so many of the emotions are the same. I have been afraid for so long that my son's inability to do so many normal things was my fault, because of my own inadequate parenting. The manga panels on this subject made me get teary-eyed because they captured those fears so well. The translation is very well done. I cannot relate as well to Hikaru and his family as they get older, but it is still a beautiful story. Some of the people they encounter are so petty and cruel; I felt so furious as I read. It is a very emotional story. If you have a family member with autism or are a teacher, this book is very educational. The formatting is in typical Japanese style but is very friendly towards those who are not accustomed to reading "backwards." Read it, share it, and cheer for Hikaru all the way.
More engrossing than I...
More engrossing than I'd expected, and more touching. This is a family I'll continue to root for through further volumes.
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