2017 Book Reviews · Blog Tours

A Boy Made of Blocks by Keith Stuart

A Boy Made of Blocks is a moving, funny and heartwarming story of family and love inspired by the author’s own experiences with his son, the perfect latest obsession for fans of The Rosie Project, David Nicholls and Jojo Moyes.

‘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 father who rediscovers love

Alex loves his wife Jody, but has forgotten how to show it. He loves his son Sam, but doesn’t understand him. He needs a reason to grab his future with both hands.

A son who shows him how to live

Meet eight-year-old Sam: beautiful, surprising – and different. To him the world is a frightening mystery. But as his imagination comes to life, his family will be changed . . . for good.’

 

I don’t know how to even begin to express just how quite magical this book is. This is one of those rare books that will squeeze at your heart long after you finish it.

A Boy Made of Blocks revolves around the life of Alex, Jody and Sam. Alex and Jody were once happy, but years of struggling with their eight year old Sam’s autism and Alex avoiding home or Sam by working as much as possible has left Jody angry, fed up and lonely. After one argument too many she tells Alex to leave and find some happiness and so Alex finds himself staying at his best friend Dan’s.

Alex is struggling with Sam’s autism, he and Jody once held a united front but years later with no improvement with his behavior, his constant explosions of screaming and lashing out, his meltdowns on days out and his struggles at school with work and making any friends has seen Alex pull away. He has no idea how to cope with Sam and the fact he has no control over Sam’s behaviour leaves him feeling frustrated and a failure. Due to not being present enough, Sam looks to Jody for everything and will recoil from Sam’s touch, something that Alex really struggles with but something that he has brought on himself.

Something else that is causing Alex utter unhappiness is the death of his brother when they were at school. Alex has never truly faced up to what happened and he’s living with guilt and heartbreak, a heartbreak that will never go away until he truly comes to terms with what happened.

With Alex gone, Jody continues battling through each day with Sam, she adores him and has put her life on hold in order to look after him and understand him. As Jody tries to move forward with her life she gets a job, but Alex finds himself made redundant from his job and so as Jody starts her new job it is down to Alex to become a more hands on dad, he will have to fetch Sam to and from school and entertain him after school, this is all a huge challenge for Alex, he has no common ground with Sam and he avoids school gates of any kind since his brothers death.

Alex and Sam’s first trip out alone together doesn’t quite go as planned, they head to the park, but Sam isn’t like other children and able to run about whilst his dad sits and reads a paper on a bench. Instead Alex has to constantly go over what will happen on their trip and in what order, then while at the park he must be constantly alert for anything that may scare Sam and cause him to have a melt down, like the huge dog that just wants to play. But for Sam, anything that is unpredictable is a terrifying concept for him! Sam also will do the same thing every single time he goes to the park and in exactly the same order and if there is another child in his way, he will quite simply barge them out of they way if necessary, in order to play in his very methodical order, so making friends has been near impossible for him. As for Alex, he isn’t the type of dad who will get involved and loosen up enough to be silly or play, instead he just stands back and watches Sam play, so there is no chance of them bonding because through fear, Alex is always held back.

At school Sam is struggling and both Jody and Alex are continually called into the school because of violence, Sam is lashing out at other children and is often removed from the situation and try as they might to get answers to what is happening Sam is silent and will not talk about what is happening. He struggles to talk or convey emotion and so they are at a loss, they are looking at moving him to different schools where he will hopefully be happier…. if that’s possible, but changing his routine and up heaving his life in such a way could cause even more upset for Sam, so the choice isn’t easy.

One day Jody gives Sam an Xbox and a 6game called Minecraft…. and Sam’s life is about to change in ways no one thought possible. Alex is finally about to understand his son but is it too late? And will finally understanding his son save his marriage?

This book is utterly mesmerizing from the very first page, once I picked this book up it didn’t leave my hands until I finished it. It grabbed a hold of me and refused to let go. Seeing Alex go from a hopeless dad/husband to a dad determined to understand his son and make him a happier child was so incredibly moving, and there were plenty of times I was reading with tears in my eyes. Throughout the book I was unashamedly cheering on Alex, he could do this, he had it, he just needed to believe in himself. There were many times that I wished I could reach in and physically shake Alex myself, but thank god for Dan, Alex’s best friend, because that’s exactly what he did!

Seeing the HUGE change in Sam as he found his way in the world through a game was utterly compelling, how he suddenly went from a almost silent child to one that could talk a hundred miles per hour was incredible and I read in awe. Sam deserved to be happy and deserved to be given a chance and to finally be understood, and when this starts to happen it was impossible not find myself grinning like a fool with tears sliding down my face.

Alex’s struggle was so real and it felt as though these characters weren’t just in your head, they felt real, their situations felt real and that is one of the reasons why A Boy Made of Blocks was just impossible to put down. Although it may sound a gloomy read it is so far from it, the whole story is incredibly uplifting and it will make your heart burst with happiness and love.

I now want to stand in bookshops and FORCE this into the hands of everyone, this is quite possibly one of the best books I have ever read, all the hype it’s getting…. doesn’t even come close to just how good this book is!

A Boy Made of Blocks is mesmerizing, brutally honest, funny, touching and a book that EVERYONE should read, this is not a book to be missed. This book left me speechless and I cannot urge you enough to read one of the most compelling stories ever to be written.

A Boy Made of Blocks is available in NOW!!

 

 

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