Manuscript help, book reviews and author interviews
The main reason behind Alex’s estrangement with Jody is, his inability to cope with the pressures of being a parent to Sam. “Sam was a beautiful baby. He was always beautiful. He was born with thick brown hair and these big sultry lips- like a tiny incontinent Mick Jagger. Right from the start he was difficult….I realised very quickly there was nothing I could give her to make it easier. This was it. This was life now.”
Written in first person, the idea for A Boy Made of Blocks came from Keith Stuart’s own life. In 2012, one of Keith’s two sons was diagnosed on the autism spectrum. Keith writes about video games for a living. His sons’ fascination with Minecraft and how it helped bridge the gap between them, inspired him to write the story of Alex and Sam.
As I started reading, I wasn’t sure who I felt more emphatic towards- Sam, Jody or Alex. There were times when I felt that Alex was self-centred. As a father, he had the choice to leave Sam everyday, leaving his wife at home, catering to Sam’s needs. With a special needs child in the picture, the definition of marriage changed. While Jody and Alex struggled to make sense of their relationship, Alex’s bond with Sam too bore a big question mark.
…Here is an important lesson I learned fairly early on about autism. The 1988 movie Rain Man starring Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman is NOT a documentary. Autistic children do not all have special powers. If I took Sam to the casino in Bristol, he would not be able to count cards and earn us a small fortune. Instead the noise would terrify him, and he’d end up cowering under the roulette table until security removed me for bringing a child into a casino….
The book is not a literary marvel. It’s a moving story of a family trying to connect. In the end, it’s all about being there with the children.
A definite read for parents – because the needs of every child are special!!!