A Boy Made of Blocks by Keith Stuart

I was sent this book from Little Brown books, in exchange for an honest review, and as part of their blog tour. 

From the blurb: 

In the tradition of Nick Hornby and David Nicholls comes a warm and tender novel in which a father and his autistic son connect over the game of Minecraft.


Alex loves his family, and yet he struggles to connect with his eight-year-old autistic son, Sam. The strain has pushed his marriage to the breaking point. So Alex moves in with his merrily irresponsible best friend on the world’s most uncomfortable blow-up bed.


As Alex navigates single life, long-buried family secrets, and part-time fatherhood, his son begins playing Minecraft. Sam’s imagination blossoms and the game opens up a whole new world for father and son to share. Together, they discover that sometimes life must fall apart before you can build a better one.


Inspired by the author’s own relationship with his autistic son, A Boy Made of Blocks is a tear-jerking, funny, and, most, of all true-to-life novel about the power of difference and one very special little boy.

Alex is not a happy man, he hates his job, his wife has kicked him out and he can’t connect with his son Sam, who suffers from high spectrum autism. 

Alex is pretty much wallowing in self pity, hates the world, and avoids spending one-on-one time with Sam. Sam can be difficult,upsetting and violent, even on a good day. When he has an outburst only his mum Jody can calm him down. Alex feels unnecessary and inconsequential. He becomes more withdrawn, spending longer hours at work, justifying it to himself by saying he needs to support his family.  

Needless to say, Jody has had enough. Alex moves in with his best friend Dan, and even though he appreciates it, he can’t help but take out his misery on his friend, making judgements about his lifestyle. 

When Alex loses his job it all comes to a head, and he decides to stop worrying about where his life is going, and try to get to know his son. Sam has become obsessed with the game Minecraft, and through playing with his son, Alex finally starts to connect with him. 

This is a lovely, accurate and heartbreaking portrayal of life with an autistic child. The author based the story on his own experience with his son, and this shines through. I have experience with autism, and used to babysit for a close family friend who’s son was autistic when I was a teenager. 

I think this is probably a very important novel, and if you or someone you know’s life has been touched by autism you should definitely read it. 

This was an honest, funny, and moving book, but there were a few things I didn’t like.  I understand that Alex is supposed to be a bit of a miserable git, but at the beginning of the book he is sooooo unlikeable. He comes across as arrogant, patronising, judgemental and quite vicious, even disloyal in parts. As you continue reading he starts to show glimpses of humour, and you start to understand that he has had quite a difficult life, but you have to really push through the first 70 pages or so. 

If you are interested in reading more about A Boy Made of Blocks you can follow the blog tour, details on the picture below.   

Let me know in the comments if you will be reading this book.

Cheerio!

Stephani Xxx 

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