Monday 4 April 2022

I'm Not Upside Down, I'm Downside Up {Book Review}

*This post contains an affiliate link and I may receive a small commission if you click and buy. It won't cost you any extra* 

I'm thrilled to be able to share that there is a new title being added to the list of books published on the topic of Pathological Demand Avoidance. "I'm Not Upside down, I'm Downside Up" has illustrations by Mollie Sherwin and as their strapline says, it is NOT a boring book about PDA. 

front cover of book half blue half orange illustration of girl in green dress upside down on her head in a dog bed
I'm Not Upside down, I'm Downside Up tells the story of Ariana, an autistic, Pathological Demand Avoidant girl. Most people think she is just naughty and misbehaved so she wants to explain what is going on in her head and why she reacts the way she does. There are eight chapters plus an intro and epilogue, and I thoroughly enjoyed it all! Ariana starts by sharing how she would be happy knowing she was doing the opposite of what others wanted her to do, even if that was to her own detriment. But she goes on to explain all the thoughts that go on behind that phrase, and the fact that it's the expectations that make her bristle and cause the difficulties.

There were so many parts to this book that I related to as a parent of a PDAer. Chapter two looks at freedom and begins with how Ariana hates it when her mum says good morning to her. Ariana explains:

"..when I throw something hard at Mummy then it's like when she says good morning to me; it's like she's throwing something hard hitting me in the heart. It's like someone is barging into my world unannounced and uninvited. I tell her all the time that it makes me angry when she tells me my morning should be good, but she never listens."

School is mentioned a few times in the book and another passage that jumped out at me was:

"I don't feel like I need a teacher. If I wanted one I'd ask you for one. I teach myself things when I'm ready. School doesn't teach me in the way my brain can learn. I'll never be successful at school anyway - because school teaches me that it's not OK to be me!"

One chapter considers Christmas and the kind of expectations and demands around special days and relationships with the wider family. It opens with "Change is my worst nightmare. I don't quite know how to describe how misunderstood I feel by everyone and how invisible they make me feel. I try so hard, and people don't acknowledge my efforts."

Chapter 5 change is my worst nightmare i don't quite know how to describe how misunderstood I feel by everyone and how invisible they make me feel

Danielle Jata-Hall is parent to a PDA daughter and also a blog writer at PDA Parenting. She is a public speaker, PDA advocate and an online campaigner. Mollie Sherwin, the illustrator, was diagnosed as Autistic with a PDA profile at the age of seven. Mollie has a natural talent and love for art and all things creative. The illustrations in this book are amazing and really help to bring the story alive. 

This book is full of brilliant insights into PDA. Parents and educators alike can learn from this book; it's a quick and easy AND invaluable read and I highly recommend it to everyone.

Back cover of book with blurb and endorsements text that is included in Amazons product description

"I'm Not Upside down, I'm Downside Up" is available from Amazon now. 


  1. I'd forgotten that Mollie is such a wonderful artist.

    1. Yes! There are lots of fab illustrations throughout the book.


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