Friday, 30 September 2016

Book Review: A Boy Made of Blocks by Keith Stuart


Title: A Boy Made of Blocks
Author: Keith Stuart
Author Info: Tumblr|Twitter
Genre: Contemporary
Source: NetGalley
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group UK
Publication Date: 1st September 2016
Rating: 4 stars

Tell Me About It
Alex loves his family, and yet he struggles to connect with his eight-year-old autistic son, Sam. The strain has pushed his marriage to the breaking point. So Alex moves in with his merrily irresponsible best friend on the world’s most uncomfortable blow-up bed.

As Alex navigates single life, long-buried family secrets, and part-time fatherhood, his son begins playing Minecraft. Sam’s imagination blossoms and the game opens up a whole new world for father and son to share. Together, they discover that sometimes life must fall apart before you can build a better one.

Inspired by the author’s own relationship with his autistic son, A Boy Made of Blocks is a tear-jerking, funny, and, most, of all true-to-life novel about the power of difference and one very special little boy.
My Thoughts
A Boy Made of Blocks was a book I wanted to read for a variety of reasons. The subject of this book really struck a cord with me, as a nursery nurse I have worked with children on the spectrum, with various degrees of severity. I have work colleagues and friends who also have children on the spectrum, even looking after one of them and having first hand experience of the emotional ups and downs.

A Boy Made of Blocks is initially a slow start, and I did find myself struggling to read this, especially as the beginning of the book was more about the breakdown of the relationship rather than the boy himself. But as the book progressed and we see more of this family it did get interesting.

I love how a computer game was able to bring a Father and Son closer, to find that bond again and develop an understanding. Video games have been slated for children playing on them rather than going out (my own Nephew is guilty of this most days) and to have this game help this family so much was remarkable. The emotions that I experienced reading this book were unexpected. I cried, I smiled, I felt happy and also hopeful, but amongst those were sadness and loss too.

A Boy Made of Blocks is more than struggling, more than trying to find a way to communicate. It's about hope, and belief, it's about fighting for what you want and taking on new challenges. It's a book that makes you stop and take a look, that makes you think about what you see and how you judge others by thier children's actions (I do this even though I know what children are like).

Final Verdict
A Boy Made of Blocks is a book that has to be read by anyone looking to understand autism, it explains the experiences in a real way, with no sugar coating anything. It's pure and honest and I am glad I took a chance on this one.

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