Born on a Blue Day is the memoir of Daniel Tammet, a man who is probably unique in the world. Daniel not only has Savant Syndrome, a rare form of Asperger’s that produces amazing mental powers, but also synaesthesia, the ability to see numbers and words as specific colours and textures. This combination of conditions means that he is able to learn new languages in just a few weeks and they helped him to break a Guinness World Record by remembering Pi to 22,515 digits.
I found the whole book fascinating. Daniel explains exactly what he see and feels, giving the reader a good understanding of both Asperger’s and synaesthesia.
It was particularly comforting for me to read about his early life, as my son (who has Asperger’s) exhibited many of the things he described (e.g. a constant need for rocking as in infant) which I haven’t seen in other books before.
After describing a difficult childhood, in which he felt isolated from his peers, Daniel describes how he found independence by taking a teaching job in Lithuania. He goes onto explain how he came to terms with his medical conditions and now helps scientists to try to understand differences in brain function.
I found the final section, in which he explains how he came to realise that he was gay and finally find love, particularly touching.
He isn’t the best writer in the world and his Asperger’s syndrome tends to mean he goes into unnecessary detail in some areas, but for the insight into this unique mind it is well worth putting up with less than perfect prose.
Recommended to everyone, but I think this is a ‘must read’ for anyone with an interest in Asperger’s or synaesthesia.