We’re only going to understand neurodiversity when more stories like Invisible Differences are told.
Invisible Differences is a warm story. Too often in the media people with neurodiverse conditions are either the butt of a joke or people with strange super-powers. Community and the A-word are the only two depictions of the neurodiverse experience that I think treat people on the spectrum with the respect that they deserve.
I can now add to that list Invisible Differences. Marguerite our heroine goes on a journey of personal discovery and acceptance. The struggles that she faces both at work and in her personal life are brought into sharp focus early on in the story. For example, she finds noise at her office distracting to the point that it leaves her exhausted and hiding in the toilets. Or, how the prospect of attending a party gives her excruciating social anxiety.
Life for neurodiverse people is hard. It is harder still when those around you don’t or won’t understand. Being comfortable with oneself is sometimes very difficult. It is even more so when you feel you can’t meet the demands that society makes of you.
The translation of the dialogue is charming. The art in Invisible Differences is clean and lovely. Colours are used cleverly to show the build-up Marguerite’s anxiety or to show things that stimulate her. Neurodiverse people are often seen as somewhat inflexible to the point of being unreasonable. Marguerite is often asked to do things which for most people would find straight forward but for her require a Herculean effort. This is a tale about self-acceptance and at every beat, the art and text work together tremendously. It avoids cloying sentimentality or many of the other feel-good traps a story like this might fall into. The highest compliment I can give the book is that it left me questioning some of my own attitudes which I think is a sign of story well told.
I highly recommend Invisible Differences.