A Boy Made of Blocks

  • by Keith Stuart
  • Narrated by Gavin Osborn
  • 11 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The Richard and Judy Book Club 2017 Best Seller
A beautiful, funny and surprising story of autism, family and love, perfect for fans of The Rosie Project, David Nicholls' Us and Nick Hornby's About a Boy.
Life is built on the little things....
Eight-year-old Sam has always been different - beautiful, surprising and autistic. For all he loves his family, dad Alex has always struggled to connect with Sam, and the strain has pushed Alex's marriage with Jody to the edge. So Alex moves in with his merrily irresponsible best friend on the world's most uncomfortable blow-up bed, wondering how to win back his wife and son.
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 the two to share. Can one fragmented family put themselves back together one piece at a time?
A Boy Made of Blocks is a tear-jerking, hilarious and, most of all, true-to-life novel about the power of difference and one very special little boy.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Moving: autistic isolation to family integration

An informative, interesting and ultimately very moving account from the perspective of the father (Alex) of an autistic child (Sam). We see the frustrations and challenges of the parents and the resultant relationship strains. We feel the pain, anger and guilt that accompany the nurturing of a seemingly unresponsive and 'disruptive' child... would we cope any better?

Interesting insights and strategies re managing children on the spectrum are peppered across the text, identifying mechanisms through which to facilitate communication, achievement and satisfaction, building on strengths, identifying and controlling some of the triggers to the child's isolation and frustration.

Alex is a distant and perhaps selfish father, unable to find the means of communicating with his son... until he discover's Sam's brilliance in playing an online game Minecraft. This game and Alex' slowly developing understanding and respect for eight-year old Sam, is central to this story. Alex himself had a traumatic youth having lost his older brother in a tragic traffic event while both were still at school. We experience also the pain of not having dealt with prior traumas and of the lasting strain this places on daily life.The route to improved outcomes in this troubled family is the discovery of the computer game that requires agility, planning, strategy and more - this becomes the vehicle for the all important lines of communication between father and son.

This is a fascinating, engaging and very moving book. It's well written and sensitively narrated. While I never stopped and rewound the audio to contemplate how beautifully a sentence was crafted or an idea conveyed, it is certainly a compelling end enjoyable read. Step out of your comfort zone and into a set of troubled relationships, frustrations and difficulties for a while.

Spoiler alert ... many of the frustrations, challenges and losses come right in the end.... While this might not reflect much of real-life, it is a tonic and feel-good outcome to the understandable daily tensions and strains.
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- Anthony

Similar to 'Me before You' by JoJo Moyes

I had never heard of this author and chose this as on Richard and Judy bookclub.
Keith Stuart has a son diagnosed on the Autistic Spectrum in 2012. This is his debut novel. I felt the narrative was good.
This is a fictitious tale of a family with a child on the spectrum based on his experiences.
Alex the father has virtually no relationship with his autistic son. This causes severe disharmony within his marriage to Jody and he leaves the family home.
I found it hard to warm to the character of Alex as I felt he was somewhat lacking in any emotional connection to anyone. This made his relationships feel directionless. Maybe this was because of his past life experience with his brother’s death.
Having worked with children on the spectrum I felt Sam was represented well with his autism simply explained.
I thought there were too many characters and it felt so ‘full on’.
The following are all going on simultaneously
* Alex is not bonded with his son
* Alex and his friend Dan living together and all that entails
* Emma Alex’s sister returns home after 10 years travelling fleeing past experience
* Alex and Sam bond over Mindcraft
* Alex struggles with the death of his brother
* Alex’s mother has a health problem
There were other sub plots but the above were the main ones. I think it would have been better if less was going on so the focus could have been on Sam and his autism.
In my opinion it started off well with autism as its focus and then merged into a version of Jojo Moyes ‘Me before you’.
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- Amelia

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-09-2016
  • Publisher: Hachette Audio UK