A middle-aged white woman with short hair wears a blue tracksuit and looks challengingly at the camera.

Hannah Gadsby on her memoir, Ten Steps to Nanette, and how her autism diagnosis changed her life

Hannah Gadsby’s memoir, Ten Steps to Nanette, opens at the scene of a fancy Hollywood garden party at the home of actress Eva Longoria.

Celebrities are queuing to talk to Gadsby, whose Netflix comedy special, Nanette, had just sucker punched the world.

But the world-famous comedian extracts herself from a conversation with celebrated singer-songwriter Janelle Monáe to examine the preternaturally green lawn underfoot.

It’s an immediate insight into Gadsby’s brain, where thoughts and ideas bubble over — often clashing abruptly with the real world.

“My world is so much different than it was five years ago. I cannot explain how different it is,” she tells ABC RN’s Big Weekend of Books.

She’s referring not only to the global success of Nanette and its follow-up show, Douglas, but also to her 2017 diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder and ADHD.

“It was an eye-opening thing, to start to understand that you think differently,” Gadsby says.

‘Begin at not normal’

Ten Steps to Nanette details Gadsby’s quest to understand her own biology, beginning in her conservative and isolated hometown in north-west Tasmania.

Her memories from childhood and her teen years have jagged edges, often tinged with self-loathing and confusion over her sexuality and neurodiversity.