Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 209
Born on a Blue Day is a first-person account of the life of an autistic savant named Daniel Tammet. He has a phenomenal memory and can perform mathematical calculations in his head with astonishing speed and accuracy. Tammet is also a synesthete. Synesthesia is a rare neurological syndrome that involves a kind of cross-wiring of the senses, and thus Daniel perceives numbers and words as shapes, colors, textures, and motions. In the book, Tammet recounts the frustrating experiences of his childhood and adolescence and explains how he came to understand the world in his unique way.
Tammet is only one of about fifty people who have both synesthesia and autism, conditions that typically cause problems with expression and interaction. He is obsessed with routine, he is challenged by abstract thinking and idiomatic language, and he struggles to feel empathy and bond with other human beings. Yet he was able to built a successful life for himself as a speaker and educator. Tammet has been able to support himself financially and maintain a successful long-term romantic relationship, and he has the remarkable ability to express himself clearly. Thus, in the book, he explains how he was able to overcome the challenges of his conditions, achieve independence, and understand the world.
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