How Can I Talk If My Lips Don’t Move?

Austinite Tito Rajarshi Mukhopadhyay became a poster boy for the learning potential of autistic children with his first book, The Mind Tree , a collection of stories and poems he wrote between the ages of eight and eleven. In How Can I Talk If My Lips Don’t Move: inside My Autistic Mind , the now-eighteen-year-old tries mightily to explain how the entirety of his world—perception, reaction, logic, emotion—diverges from the average person’s. Sounds might be understood as colors; inanimate objects might take on human qualities (“I knew that the mirror heard everything because only when I stood in front of it could I hear the walls and floor talk”). But though Mukhopadhyay and his autistic brethren are wired differently than the rest of us, he clearly conveys how they have more in common with neurotypical individuals than appearances would suggest. There’s an inspirational story at the core of How Can I Talk about Tito’s mother, Soma, who tirelessly taught him to write so he could communicate, but it’s impossible to overlook the naked heartbreak of one seemingly tossed-off line: “I am not worried about hell because I have experienced it here on earth.” That is a rare insight that no ordinary tongue can tell. Arcade, $25

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