Today I am sharing a review of A Boy Made Of Blocks by Keith Stewart. It is losing based on the authors relationship with his autistic son.
This book has a main theme of Alex who is the dad of his son , called Sam. Sam is a child who is diagnosed with high functioning autism so, he can communicate but to what extend no one is really sure.
Alex has been the main bread winner, whilst his wife had to leave her job to cater for Sam’s needs 24/7. Naturally, this seems to have caused a rift between Alex and Jody due to pressure, stress, confusion etc when raising an autistic child.
As we have found out further along in the book that communication between Alex and Jody was broken down therefore causing Jody to call time on their marriage, for now it was deemed a trial separation.
On that Sunday Alex left the family home feeling devastated, so he moved into a friend’s apartment which was a typical bachelor pad with all the mod cons including an XBox.
Alex gets into a more depressing situation when the mangers at his job have changed and decide that they no longer need Alex as mortgage adviser. Therefore Alex decided to take three month redundancy deal that the company offered as an incentive.
This causes Alex to spirals into depression.
A new arrangement between Jody and Alex where on a Saturday Alex would look after Sam. Normally Alex and Sam would go to the park but this worried Alex particularly as Sam was hostile to other children and very scared of dogs. There relationship is very basic and it is all new for both Sam and Alex where they are on the beginning of journey if you will in finding out about one another.
Jody buys Sam an Xbox and then gets into the game Minecraft. Sam desperately wants his dad to join in. At first Alex sees this of a pain especially as Sam is constantly calling Alex to check every small development in the game.
There were issues that were concerning Alex around technology and whether it was good for Sam to spend such a long time on the XBox. However, this game was a great distraction for Sam as he could totally escape all his worries, especially as he was getting bullied at school for being different. We find out later on in the book that it is quite clear that when dad does get involved playing Minecraft with Sam it sort of strengths communication and building a stronger relationship between father and son.
When Sam is not centre of attention he is more open and thinks clearer without having to worry about talking and what to have to say. Rather, communication flow is more natural between Sam and Alex. This has helped Alex understand his son more better through the game and can be less jumping to ideas bur more empathetic to why Sam does the things he does. I find this such a brilliant insight into knowing about Autism. Sometimes, you need to have some sort of physical activity that is about order and structure to help ease the anxiety for a person with autism and help the communication between two people.
There are obviously other branches of ‘drama’ if you will regarding Alex’s brother who died due to a car incident when Alex was young. The theme around guilt, running away and facing up to things is a big topic at the end. His sister, mum and Alex all learn to face up to doubts and thoughts. With the main notion of communicating their worries can break down the tension and built back relationships instead of hiding for fear of the outcome. This can help the process of grief and moving forward in all the individuals lives.
There is little nuggets of wisdom form Sam and we can learn a lot from Sam with making things simple outlook of the human race. Seeing them as objects and colours that need to fit together.
Overall, it is a heartwarming story and tells the tale of strangers almost rebuilding and strengthening the relationship between families. I love the fact that it is a personal account and feels real rather then just listening again and again to the trible of the professionals.
There is a new book after this one which I will definitely will be reading in the future be as it would be lovely to hear the new developments of what has bee happening in Sam’s life. Especially, as at the end of this book Sam has moved to a new school that specialises in autism.
This book is definitely a must if your interested in autism or want to hear about a autistic parent’s point of view.
Cheers for reading X