A Boy Made of Blocks: A Novel

A Boy Made of Blocks: A Novel

by Keith Stuart

Hardcover

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250111593
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 09/06/2016
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 682,305
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

KEITH STUART is the games editor of the Guardian and a veteran video game journalist who has spent 20 years playing, investigating, and writing about video games and their possibilities. He lives with his family in Somerset, England. A Boy Made of Blocks is his first book.

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A Boy Made of Blocks: A Novel 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
toReadistoEscape 10 months ago
I wanted to read this book because the description said it was a humorous, heartwarming story. I love all the books Jojo Moyes wrote and the description said I would love this book if I like Jojo Moyes. I don’t think it lived up to the claim of being as enjoyable as any of Jojo Moyes books. This book had a very slow start and the father was a difficult character to like from the beginning. You start to understand him and tolerate him as the book goes on. For me, this book did not live up to its description. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book courtesy of NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
_NormaJean More than 1 year ago
If this is Keith Stuart’s first novel, I can hardly wait to see what he writes next. Mr. Stuart wrote a novel that is both heartbreaking and uplifting. He writes from experience because he has a son on the autism spectrum. I have a friend who has a high functioning autistic son, so I know some of the struggles the parents face. Alex was a workaholic. He had a demanding job, but he also worked a lot more hours than he really had to work. He didn’t know how to handle his son’ behavior, so left his wife to cope with their autistic son and used his job to escape from the reality of Sam’s world. A Boy Made of Blocks is a wonderful story of a father and son finding each other again. I highly recommend it. It will give you a better understanding of what parents of autistic children go through. Keep the tissues handy. Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for a chance to read and review this book.
lauriesophee More than 1 year ago
A Heartwarming book about parents with an autistic son. The father, Alex,still grieving over a terrible and unresolved childhood experience, is frustrated over his inability to communicate with his son. His wife,Jody, interprets this as indifference, and this leads to their separation. As time goes by,Alex does begin to bond with Sam, his son, through the magic of a program on the x-box. Not only does the relationship blossom, but Alex comes to recognize the beautiful truth "an autistic person is not a problem, but a person." Alex and Jody begin to work together in guiding Sam, and their efforts help bring reconciliation between them. This story offers enlightening insight into autism, and we see the need for friendships and the importance of family. A wonderful novel, not to be missed!
brf1948 More than 1 year ago
This is an excellent tale of a family coming together to support Sam, an autistic 11 year old child. Written in the first person of the father, Alex, A Boy Made of Blocks is a fast read and a very interesting story. Mother Jody finds herself overwhelmed doing all of the work involved in this triangle of support, as Alex buries himself in his work and when not working, is caught up in an endless quest to discover what it will take to make Sam normal. The parents separate as Jody cannot cope with both her fellas in an endless spiral of neediness. And this does help Jody, but Alex and Sam both find themselves even more disassociated with their lives. Then Jody finds an old Xbox 360 at a jumble, with a few games including Minecraft - the key to salvaging this family and making a world for Sam that he can be comfortable in. Their triangle becomes a pyramid of support that can enclose them all. A very intriguing idea, done very well. I only wish the title were different. I would not have picked this book to read had I not read the full description first. I'm retired - I have TIME to read all the reviews, etc.
AliTheDragonSlayer More than 1 year ago
As a keen reader this book took me on a voyage of discovery. Slightly different from my usual 'entertainment' value but definitely raised my interest from a medical/professional view point. I found it to be incredibly moving but full of hope and positivity along with some 'rock bottom' moments. I hesitate to say I really enjoyed it because that feels as though it undermines the content, suffice to say I learnt a lot and even if it means I am a little less intolerant of 'that' child in a coffee shop then it has had an impact. Alex and Jody's marriage is in trouble .. their 8 year old son Sam is putting considerable strain on them and it takes a separation for Alex to realise quite what life with Sam entails and how much Jody has been dealing with. Sam is working his way through his own little world, needing specific routines, only eating a few foods, losing control of any emotion when he can't understand what is going on around him. A simple trip to the park or a cafe can be traumatic. It is only when Alex is away from the situation he embarks on a method of trying to finally connect with his son. The tool of choice or more appropriately the one that triggers a reaction is Minecraft a video game where they can escape into a make believe world. To witness the progress Sam makes is extraordinary. As his parents' fight the system to get him into a decent school, as Sam makes his own friends and finds a way to thrive in his world is all beautifully explained. I loved the moments with Sid .. that really struck a chord. This book alone allows the reader to view the world through other eyes and for that it deserves all the praise it can get. Go into it with an open mind, be prepared to have a quiet sniffle but most of all absorb the meaning and be kind to each other. You never know what somebody else is dealing with. A story filled with love, hope, humour and dreams. I read and reviewed this book voluntarily via Netgalley.
WhisperingStories More than 1 year ago
Eight year old Sam is autistic. After years of drifting apart, his mum Jody, as his dad Alex, decide to part company, with Alex being the one to leave the family home. Alex is in his thirties, and is now living in his friend Dan’s spare room. To top it all off, he has just been made redundant. He has a strained relationship with his son, as he doesn’t understand him, nor know how to communicate with him. He even finds it too much to take his son to the park. When Sam is given a games console by his mum, Alex isn’t very happy with his wife, but over time he learns that through the power of Minecraft, he can start to understand, and learn to communicate with his son. Being the mother of a thirteen year old autistic child, though not quite as severe as Sam, I could understand what life was like for his mum and dad, alongside having an understanding of how Sam worked too. Dad Alex doesn’t feel equipped to be able to raise a child with autism. He doesn’t quite understand that children with autism see the world differently, most often in High Definition with the sound turned up. You get the feeling that he is quite scared of his son, especially being on his own with him. I’ve seen this scenario over and over with a few parents. They get frustrated, often not with the child, but with themselves as they feel that they don’t know how to cope. Mum Jody worships her son, and does everything she can to be there for him, help him, and truly understand him. She finally gets to the end of her tether with her husband. Not only are they growing apart, but his attitude towards Sam is pushing her away. She clearly loves Alex very much, but something had to give and that meant asking Alex to leave. One thing that I find a vast majority of autistic children love, certainly the ones that I know, is electronic games, whether that be an iPad, games console or computer. They seem to be able to connect with the virtual world a lot better than they do with the real world, so when Alex found an in-road to his son through Minecraft, I wasn’t surprised. I found that the book had a natural and easy flow to it, and you find yourself getting lost in the life of a father and son. I actually didn’t realise at first that it wasn’t a memoir, but a fictional story. This is how realistic Keith Stuart’s writing is.The story will have you working out, emotion-wise. One minute you will be laughing and feeling happy, the next you may as well let the tears flow as sadness creeps in. This is a beautiful, heart-warming story about a father and son, and how Minecraft became the joining bridge between them.
Rosemary-Standeven More than 1 year ago
I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review This is a wonderful story about the frustrations and desperation of a father caring for a son with autism amid the break-up of his marriage and his own difficulties relating to a past family trauma. It is about how he finally comes to appreciate and understand the world of his son, and how they started to communicate through a video game. Although the book is fictional, it is based on the author’s experiences with his own autistic son, with whom he bonded through "Minecraft". It is so difficult to reach inside the world of a person with autism. The normal rules of social interaction do not apply, and what comes across as misbehaviour and rudeness, is often an attempt by the person with autism to interact with a world that make no sense at all: “His imagination is a gigantic furnace that sculpts meaning out of this mess of noise”. How often do you see a screaming child at the supermarket, and inwardly curse at his parents? After reading this book, you may reconsider, whether there is more to the misbehaviour than is at first apparent. Alex is more than aware of the judgements made by people with whom Sam comes into contact, but is unsure how to deal with them. The characterisation in the book is excellent – you really empathise with Alex, as his world seems to fall apart, and then as the miracle happens and his son reaches out to him. You fall in love with Sam and his literal interpretation of life: “‘When I am grown up I will definitely plan everything very well,’ he (Sam) says. ‘Well, sometimes life just throws stuff at you.’ ‘I will duck.’”. As Alex learns more about Sam, so do you as the reader learn and appreciate more about the Autistic Spectrum and desperately hope that all people on the Spectrum have the opportunity to find something like Minecraft that will act like a key from their world to ours: “All along, I thought it was him, wilfully trapped in his own world. But it was me”.