Saturday, 11 June 2016

A Boy Made of Blocks - Keith Stuart

A novel inspired by the author’s experiences with his autistic son, Zac

A wonderful life affirming debut that will make you, laugh, cry and smile

The rights sensation at the Frankfurt Book Fair, twenty territories (and counting) sold 



A BOY MADE OF BLOCKS

Keith Stuart

Published on 1st September 2016 | Hardback and eBook price £12.99


MEET THIRTY SOMETHING DAD, ALEX… He loves his wife Jody, but has forgotten how to show it. He loves his son but doesn’t understand him. Something has to change. And it needs to start with him.

MEET EIGHT-YEAR-OLD SAM… Beautiful, surprising, autistic. To him the world is a puzzle he can’t solve on his own.

But when Sam starts to play Minecraft, it opens up a place where Alex and Sam begin to re-discover both themselves, and each other… can one fragmented family put themselves back together, one piece at a time?


A Boy Made of Blocks an astonishingly authentic story of love, family and autism. Fans of About a Boy, Us and The Rosie Project will love this heart-warming, heart-breaking & wonderfully funny debut from an exceptionally talented new writer.  

Review

So, there are a few novels now that have autism as their theme and I have probably read all of them. However, to say you've read one you've read them all is a very narrow view - autism affects different people in different ways and therefore each story is unique.

I've just finished reading this book and had to read the last couple of chapters with tears streaming down my face. Not because it was sad - it was just incredibly moving and I felt like I was there in the book taking part in the wonderful journey that Sam and Alex were on.

To step back a little, when I began the book I immediately liked the writing style. It is so effortless to read, the story just unfolds before you.  I admit I didn't care for Alex at first, he seemed so shallow and running away from everything, but as time went on I began to really get to know him and his son Sam and learn a lot about Minecraft. Although Minecraft is a main theme in the book, you don't have to know anything about it to understand it, I had only heard of the name.

There is also a reason Alex is running from everything - he's been running a long time and that part of the backstory was heartbreaking to read. There are a few different stories that support the main one, but they didn't detract from it just added to the interest. Most of the book is about relationships - with family, friends - people you just met, it's very diverse.

You get to know all of the characters as they are so well developed. Not just the main characters, but all of them even down to the teachers at the schools, you immediately know what they are like, you can relate and identify them. I would love to meet Alex's Mum - I really enjoyed her character.

This is a book that will stay with me for a long time - so insightful and down to earth. I would urge you to read it - you won't be disappointed.

I'm giving this book 5+ stars. I don't think I've ever done that before - I've just invented a new score on my star rating system!

My thanks go to Little, Brown Book Group and Netgalley for allowing me to read an advance copy of this book.

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