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.
I have reviewed Keith Stuart’s Boy Made of Blocks before – go here if you’d like to read that. In short, it is a heartwarming debut novel about a father’s relationship with his autistic son, and how they rebuild their relationship through Minecraft.
I have to admit, I was initially hesitant to read Boy Made of Blocks because it is not an own voices narrative. Stuart has talked quite a lot about how his son has autism, but, as most of us know, this does not necessarily mean that it is a good representation. (Check out my review of Mockingbird for a narrative that was written by a mother of a child with Asperger’s. It went woefully wrong.)
However, so far, I’ve been pretty impressed with what Stuart has to say. In a recent article, he stated:
“I wanted to portray autism not as a problem but as a different way of looking at the world,” he says. “It’s not a deficiency, it’s an alternative. The way he sees the world is fascinating.”
It is important to note here that I do not have autism. I have been unable to find a review by someone who does have autism, but I will be on the look-out. For now, I’m going to tentatively say that Boy Made of Blocks is pretty good representation.
To finish up for today, here is Rosie King talking about her experiences with autism, as well as that of other children. She has also presented a TedTalk called How autism freed me to be myself, which is definitely also worth a watch. I wonder how much of this was scripted – but it is nice to see an #ownvoices presenter, even if she is only a child.