A Boy Made of Blocks by Keith Stuart

Published on 5th January 2017 | Paperback and eBook price £7.99

A beautiful, funny and surprising story of family and love, perfect for fans of The Rosie Project, David Nicholls’ Us and Nick Hornby’s About a Boy.

MEET THIRTY SOMETHING 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… To him the world is a puzzle he can’t solve on his own.

When Sam starts to play Minecraft, it opens up a place where Alex and Sam begin to rediscover both themselves and each other… When life starts to tear one family apart, can they put themselves back together, one piece at a time?

A Boy Made of Blocks is a beautiful, funny and heart warming story of family and love inspired by the author’s own experiences with his autistic son.

The book opens:

I am estranged.

This is the first thought that hits me as I leave the house, cross the road and climb into our battered old estate car. I guess the correct term is we are estranged, but then mostly, I suppose, this is my fault.

My thoughts:

So what is happening here as the book opens?  Well Alex is leaving, he is moving out of his family home as he is finding it too difficult to cope with living in the same house with his wife and autistic son.  So he moves in with his best friend Dan.

This is essentially a story about a family trying to get through daily life.

We’ve basically spent our whole marriage worrying about Sam – his outbursts, his silence, the days he’d scream at us, the days he’d hide in his bed and shrink from any contact at all.

It is handled really well with sensitivity. There was so much that I liked about this book.  Stuart’s descriptions of the minutiae of daily life are very good.

It is a beautiful book – definitely one of my favourites that I have read recently.  What is really amazing is how helpful the videogame Minecraft proves to be in assisting Sam.

I think any parent who has a child, whether autistic or not would find this an utterly beautiful and moving story.

About the author:

In 2012 one of KEITH STUART‘s two sons was diagnosed on the autism spectrum. The ramifications felt huge. But then Keith and both boys started playing videogames together – especially Minecraft. Keith had always played games and, since 1995, has been writing about them, first for specialist magazines like Edge and PC Gamer then, for the last ten years, as games editor for the Guardian. The powerful creative sharing as a family and the blossoming of communication that followed informed his debut novel.

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