REVIEW OF ‘A BOY MADE OF BLOCKS’ BY KEITH STUART

5 stars *****

Published by Sphere, 1st September 2016

 

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 was first drawn to read this book because of a newspaper story about how the author wrote the book based on his real-life experiences with his autistic son.
I loved the writing style from the outset. The main character, Alex, has a compelling voice that feels strong and authentic throughout the novel. Although he is a pretty pathetic dad at the beginning, the reader warms to him quite quickly, largely because he acknowledges his many faults and really does want to do better for his wife and his son.
The author manages to combine troubling, sad and funny in this book which is no mean feat and he does it very well. I found myself reading with concern for the characters, laughing out loud and wiping away the odd tear.
A Boy Made of Blocks is a very powerful and emotional read that keeps the reader turning the pages and rooting for all the characters to deal with and overcome their various life problems. Highly recommended.