Jude Morrow has always loved books. When he was younger, he couldn’t speak or converse very well so he found his solitude and peace in reading. He still does! He works as a social worker who specializes in the care of older people. After a long day at work, he loves to unwind with a book.
And now, Jude has written a book about his own life. Why Does Daddy Always Look So Sad? is his candid look at his autistic life experiences.
Tell us about your book, Why Does Daddy Always Look So Sad?
It’s an account of my early life and the struggles I faced when growing up. I always knew I was different and my parents fought to get me the support I desperately required. I didn’t mix well with other children and I wasn’t easy to live with. Whilst young, I availed of therapies and exercises to help me survive in a world that wasn’t designed to cater for those with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
I learned that I was going to be a Dad and the quirks and behaviours I thought I left behind came back to haunt me. The uncertainty of parenthood and the massive life change made me feel so vulnerable. If I was going to create a loving connection with my son, I knew I had to seek help to make positive changes. The main theme of my book is acceptance. I always denied who I was and developed toxic habits to keep my true self hidden.
What inspired you to write it?
When I was impatiently waiting for Ethan to be born, I looked for guidance on parenting as an autistic person. I found that resources were very limited and primarily aimed at neurotypical parents of autistic children. I wanted to write from a different perspective. My parents and sister, although proud and loving, struggled to live and cope with me as a child. They always pondered what would happen to me when I became an adult. I wanted to demonstrate that those of us with autism can grow to be happy and successful people.
How does being autistic influence your writing?
When I write, I write from my own mind. Although my words may be striking and provocative to read, I want to demonstrate what life is like behind my eyes. I know I see the world differently from other people. I have sensory issues and thoughts that may not occur for most. I want to describe this as best I can to give others an understanding of what my daily life is like. Do I understand life, society and interactions? No, not really, although I want to give an insight into my interpretations of these things.
Who is the ideal reader and how do you see the book being used?
I hope my book has a universal appeal and readers gain a greater understanding of autism. I know there are fellow autistic people out there living with a dark feeling in the pit of their stomachs. It’s the constant fear of being marginalized, rejected or humiliated. I lived with that feeling. It was a scary place to be and I hope those on the spectrum can understand and identify with my experiences.
I have been on a journey to rid myself of that feeling as much as possible and learn to love myself. I want others to do the same whilst giving their caregivers an insight into their minds.
What’s the message you want your readers to take away after reading the book?
I want everyone out there, whether they are confirmed as autistic or suspect they may be, to feel like they are a perfect version of themselves and not a broken version of normal.
Do you have a proud moment you’d like to share?
Since publicising the book, the response has been overwhelming. So many people have messaged me on social media to thank me for writing my story. Many parents wonder the same thing my parents did: What will happen when my child grows into adulthood? I’m happy that they will be able to find comfort and hope from my book.
If our readers leave with only one message after reading this interview, what would you like it to be?
Never apologise for being autistic.
I always felt inadequate and longed to be like others. All I wanted was to fit in with my peers and be accepted. I never thought myself worthy of love or good fortune due to my perceived bad omen of having Asperger’s. I want all of us on the spectrum to love and celebrate who we are.
I no longer see myself as ill or different but rather blessed and fortunate.
What words of encouragement can you offer to other autistic creatives?
Never be afraid to express yourself. It doesn’t matter what medium you choose; music, art or sport. Express yourself in a way that suits you.
Get in touch with Jude:
- Buy Why Does Daddy Always Look So Sad? on Amazon US or Amazon UK*
- Jude Morrow’s official Why Does Daddy Always Look So Sad? Facebook Page
- @judemorrow on Instagram
If you liked this interview, you may also like:
- The Remarkable Courage of Being Seen
- How Naoki Higashida Makes you Rethink “Autism”
- More books by autistic authors
- More curious interviews with interesting authors and entrepreneurs
- Shop in our Amazon Influencer Autism Book Shop
*The links to buy the books are our affiliate links. By purchasing using these links, you will not only support the author, you’ll be raising funds to support our autistic team of contributors for their work too.