Author: Keith Stuart
Publisher: Little Brown Book Group
Expected publication: 1st September 2016
Genre: Contemporary, Fiction
Source: Netgalley and Publisher
Date read: 29th August 2016
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Discover a unique, funny and moving debut that will make you laugh, cry and smile.
Meet thirtysomething dad, Alex
He loves his wife Jody, but has forgotten how to show it. He loves his son Sam, but doesn’t understand him. Something has to change. And he needs to start with himself.
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 rediscover both themselves and each other . . .
Can one fragmented family put themselves back together, one piece at a time?
Inspired by the author’s experiences with his own son, A Boy Made of Blocks is an astonishingly authentic story of love, family and autism.
*I received a copy of this book from Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review*
This book was heartbreaking but also heartwarming and will definitely make you smile. This is a debut novel by Keith Stuart and how he and his own son connected through the game Minecraft. Although this is a fictional novel, the descriptions of Autism are very realistic and sometimes reads like a memoir.
The story is told from the perspective of Alex, he has a young son (Sam) with Autism. Sam appeared to be a difficult child from birth, what with the constant crying, being hypersensitive to noises and his lack of social interaction they discover several years down the line that Sam is Autistic. Alex has always seemed to have a problem connecting with his son,not knowing how to deal with Sam or the cues to a meltdown, he avoids home and works as much as possible which causes the breakdown of his marriage.
With his marriage on the line Alex must change! First of all to start being there more for his son. They both truly start bonding when Sam discovers Minecraft and becomes obsessed with the game. The fact they can play as a team starts the ball rolling and Sam starts opening up and Alex begins to realise not to be afraid of Autism.
The book not only delves in to Autism but also grief, gambling, families and love. The pacing of the books is slow but has plenty of interactions with other characters.
There is a back story of Alex’s past and why he has problems connecting with his son and the dynamics of his family which makes the book more complex and depth.
The interactions between Alex and Sam are raw, truthful and heart warming. You are there throughout the journey and can feel how much Alex is progressing as a father and how they are bonding.
This book is so thought-provoking, It must be so difficult for parents with children that have Autism. There must be schedules, everything must be so! The problem is you can’t control the world and everything that goes on around you. It certainly makes you think if there are respite centres around, as you could definitely tell how much strain was put on Alex and Jody’s relationship.
I would recommend this book if you are looking for an honest and real insight in to Autism and from someone who has first hand experience.
I rated this 3 out of 5 stars.