But when a single mother and her nine-year-old son move in across the street, Edward’s timetable comes undone. Over the course of a momentous 600 hours, he opens up to his new neighbors and confronts old grievances with his estranged parents. Exposed to both the joys and heartaches of friendship, Edward must ultimately decide whether to embrace the world outside his door or retreat to his solitary ways.
Heartfelt and hilarious, this moving novel will appeal to fans of Daniel Keyes’ classic Flowers for Algernon and to any reader who loves an underdog.
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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Ian on 12-03-14
Heartwarming and humane
When we meet Edward, at 39 years of age (well, 39 years and (about) 280 days) at the beginning of the novel, we see that his routines have paved the way to a life that is filled with routine, devoid of challenges, but ultimately isolating. He has no friends, and has a particularly strained relationship with his father, a wealthy local politician who pays all of Edward’s living expenses but keeps him at a distance, physically and emotionally, unable to come to terms with his illnesses. However, during the 600 hours - 25 days (count them – I did) I spent with him, Edward is shaken out of his routines by events, both happy and poignant, that force him to re-examine his carefully-controlled life. He tries online dating; he begins interacting with his new neighbors, a single mother, Donna, and her 9-year-old son, Kyle. Ever so slowly, Edward starts to connect with other people. Not every interaction goes smoothly – online dating is different from ‘more traditional’ dating - but over the course of the 600 hours, we start to see a transformation (I love the word ‘transformation’) in Edward. His relationship with the Donna and Kyle shows signs of developing into a meaningful friendship. The nightly letters of complaint (none of which, on the advice of his therapist, are ever sent,) start to become more reflections than complaints. And all the while, Edward slowly, on his own terms, makes his way into a society that he has avoided for so long.
Craig Lancaster builds Edward’s character through spare, straightforward prose that keeps the story well-paced and readable, and adds just the right amount of emotion, so that by the end, we are rooting for Edward and the remarkable 600-hour journey he has made, and that we seem to have made with him.
The narration in this wonderful tale is magnificently done, with the voice of Edward in all his moods and reflections, of the different people with whom he interacts capturing a world that is both engaging and fulfilling.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
By Vanessa on 16-06-16
I have listened to this and the second book in the series - very rarely do I laugh out loud when listening to a book - I literally laughed until tears appeared!
A wonderful story - well written but I am sure the narration added something more to the books - I am in love with Luke Daniels!
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Lulu on 27-08-12
A Very Good Book with a Very Difficult Hero
I cannot say exactly what made this book so special. The author uses a narrative tool that has been used fairly frequently recently and uses it very well. The main character's developmental problems are often trivialized as nothing more than idiocynracies or quirks in other books. This book treats the psychological problems of Edward quite seriously. And yet he uses them to slowly let you meet then understand Edward and the people who inhabit his life, those that are real and those that live in Edward's favorite TV show.
The lessons Edward learns as he slowly and belatedly grows up, the hurts he suffers, the irrational habits he cannot help, the relationships he struggles with, the slights he feel that always result in complaint letters, all of them help you understand a very complicated man. The author understands his character and uses these tools to help you understand him as well.
The narrator does a great job, although I would swear that Sam Elliott steps in and does the voice of Edward's father.
I really recommend this book. It is complex, layered, detailed and yet really, quite simple.
75 of 77 people found this review helpful
By george on 03-10-12
Surprisingly entertaining and witty.
I always fear (and sometimes avoid) stories that have disability or impairment as central to the theme because of the tendency authors have to turn every person with disability into a life affirming angel or a sex crazed villain - and not much in between.
However, knowing a little about OCD I was well prepared.
What I wasnt prepared for was how well the topic was presented and how interestingly the main character was portrayed. Edward very quickly became a person I would gladly live next door to. Craig Lancaster has written a wonderful story for his first novel. Lets hope for more.
38 of 39 people found this review helpful