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Reader Reviewed
A Boy Made of Blocks by Keith Stuart
  

A Boy Made of Blocks

Relationship Stories   Books of the Year 2016   Family Drama   Literary Fiction   Reading Groups   
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One of our Books of the Year 2016.

A brilliant debut from a fresh and unique voice, ‘A Boy Made of Blocks' is a book that will make you laugh, cry and think to yourself ‘thank goodness, it’s not just me!’ This wonderful book is one that every parent, every friend of a parent and every person who ever raised a judgemental eyebrow whilst witnessing a ‘difficult’ child should read.

Alex is reeling from life. He's left the family home and has never felt further from his wife and son. He loves them both dearly but parenthood can put a strain on any relationship and having an autistic son adds even more pressure. Sam, his beautiful yet unreachable son, is a problem that Alex is finding impossible to solve and whilst suffocating under the responsibility he feels towards his family Alex finally hits rock bottom.

Until that is Sam discovers Minecraft and so begins an adventure of a father finally finding a way to understand his son and maybe himself too.

I adored Keith Stuart’s writing style. It was fresh and honest but with no trace of bitterness. Some moments were so beautifully written they made my heart ache and moved me to tears. He captures so much in so few words and I came to love his characters and felt truly sad when I reached the final sentence. A beautiful debut that not only changed the way I look at autism and children considered ‘different’, but also the struggles we all face within our lives today.' ~ Shelley Fallows

A 'Piece of Passion' from the publisher...

'It’s hard for me to be objective about A Boy Made of Blocks: it’s the book I most want people to read, partly because when they do, they universally love it. It both has massive commercial potential and is a singularly modern, heartfelt and meaningful piece of writing. It is absolutely not an ‘issues’ book, but a wonderful, funny, emotional story full of memorable characters, wit, and warmth. It’s the kind of novel people fall in love with – I certainly did – and has one of the most uplifting finales I can ever remember reading.' ~ Ed Wood, Editorial Director – Sphere Fiction

Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can click here to read the full reviews.

  • Helen Appleby - 'Inspired by the authors own experiences this novel will make you laugh and cry and is an amazing and authentic story of love, family life and autism. I couldn't put it down such a heartwarming read.'

  • Phylippa Smithson - 'Whilst this is definitely a fiction book, it is a must for any parent with a child in their life on the autism spectrum. Powerful stuff.'

  • Emily Curnow - 'Not many books affect my emotions, but the conclusion of this one made tears stream down my face.'

  • Helen Claire - 'A phenomenal read, that is endearing and powerful. Not too proud to say I cried.'

  • Mary Gibson - 'I loved this novel. Based on the author's own experience of raising an autistic son, it is a love letter about family.'

  • Hannah Ward - 'Such an absorbing read! This is a story about grief, anger, regret, guilt and love.' 

  • Nicola Edwards - 'A beautifully moving story of the relationship between a father and his autistic son that is captivating and emotional. I loved it!'

  • Sarah Harper - 'Honest and intimate, it was as if I had joined the characters on their own emotional roller coaster and when I stepped off at the end I felt privileged to have had the opportunity.'

  • Victoria Halliday - 'A terrific, well-written and compelling novel about family relationships, and our ability to build connections with one another through the most unexpected of mediums.'

  • Jane Brown - 'A simply beautiful story of a father and autistic son who manage to unite through the modern world of computer gaming.'
  • Neil Williams - 'A fantastic tale of a father and son and the special bond between them...I laughed and cried through their ups and downs. The best book I've read in ages.'

Synopsis

A Boy Made of Blocks by Keith Stuart

Meet thirtysomething 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 Beautiful, surprising, autistic. 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 heartwarming story of family and love inspired by the author's own experiences with his son.

Reviews

'Funny, expertly plotted and written with enormous heart. Readers who enjoyed The Rosie Project will love A Boy Made of Blocks' - I did Graeme Simsion

'A Boy Made of Blocks is constructed around not just a great plot, but a rare sense of honesty and insight.' -- John Harris Guardian

'A heart-warming and wise story ... I shed a few tears but was left with a warm glow' Cathy Rentzenbrink, author of The Last Act of Love

'Heartwarming, funny and special. I devoured this cracking book. The Unmumsy Mum Very funny, incredibly poignant and full of insight. Awesome.' Jenny Colgan

'One of those wonderful books that makes you laugh and cry at the same time' Good Housekeeping

'A Boy Made of Blocks is one of those unique and exquisite stories that grab you from the very first line. Searingly honest and poignant ... tremendously moving. A truly beautiful story.' Heat

'Even the hardest of hearts will be warmed by this poignant tale based on the author's life with his autistic son' Mail on Sunday

About the Author

Keith Stuart

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, A Boy Made of Blocks: a story about a dad who wants to communicate with his autistic son; a dad who has forgotten how to play. It is a story about letting go, about being a kid - which is how Keith learned about everything important in his life, starting with his son.

Author photo © Ashley Bird

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Book Info

Publication date

29th December 2016

Author

Keith Stuart

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Publisher

Sphere an imprint of Little, Brown Book Group

Format

Paperback
416 pages

Categories

Relationship Stories
Books of the Year 2016
Family Drama
Literary Fiction
Reading Groups

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

ISBN

9780751563290

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