2016 Book Reviews Keith Stuart Little Brown My 2016 Favourite Books
Book Review: A Boy Made of Blocks by Keith Stuart
Title: A Boy Made of Blocks
Author: Keith Stuart
Published: September 1st 2016 by Little, Brown UK
Blurb: In the tradition of Nick Hornby and David Nicholls comes a warm and tender novel in which a father and his autistic son connect over the game of Minecraft.
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.
Review: A Boy Made of Blocks is a wonderful story and it will definitely be one of my books of the year. It is narrated by Alex, a recently separated father. He is one of those characters that grows on you until you end up caring for him like he was your own best friend. For years, he had trouble connecting with his autistic son and decided to focus a tad too much on work and avoid his family and its dynamics. It's no wonder that his wife has decided it's time for a trial separation.
During this separation, Alex will find out a lot about his family but also about himself. With every new chapter, we discovered a bit more about him, his past and his relationships with his son and wife and with every new information and interaction I became more and more invested in the story, especially in Alex and his son Sam's growing relationship. They have finally found a way to connect in the most unexpected way, thanks to the video game Minecraft. And as they slowly build their own virtual castle, they also start building the foundations for their own relationship. I can tell you that I felt privileged to be able to witness this development.
The style of the book really helps you connect with the story. It flows easily and it's full of warm and fun moments. The characters are well developed and all feel real. Plus, there are a few sub stories that complement the main one perfectly, adding a bit of humor, a bit of sadness and a bit of love and making the whole package one of the most memorable books I've read in a long while.
As I've said, the story has a lot of fun moments but it also portrays the difficulties and struggles that a family with an autistic child must face. I'm sure it'll be an eye-opener for many and will leave no one indifferent. Since finishing it, I have been recommending this book to anyone who will listen. Definitely worth a read.
Rating: 5 stars
I would like to thank the publishers for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.*