Read A Boy Made of Blocks by Keith Stuart Online


A Boy Made of Blocks is a funny, 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. A father who rediscovers loveAlex 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 tA Boy Made of Blocks is a funny, 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. A father who rediscovers loveAlex 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 liveMeet 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....

Title : A Boy Made of Blocks
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780751563276
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 400 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

A Boy Made of Blocks Reviews

  • Paromjit
    2019-03-20 14:56

    This is a lovely heartwarming read about a father who has struggled to connect with his high end autistic spectrum young son, Sam. Sam is a difficult and socially awkward child who has been cared for primarily by Jody, his mother. She is exhausted and at her wit's ends and hopes that a trial separation will bring Alex to his senses and get him more involved with Sam. Alex is aware of his inadequacies but at a loss how to address them plus he is working in a dead end job. He ends up living with his best friend who is frenetically engaged in an active single life.When Jody gets Sam an Xbox, Alex is not sure that this is in Sam's best interests and worries that it will do little to get Sam to improve and interact with others socially. Sam adores playing Minecraft and to Alex's astonishment this provides a route to getting to know Sam and interacting with him. For Sam it is not the answer to everything but nevertheless Minecraft contributes in a major way to improving his development in a number of areas. We discover more about the secrets and trauma that Alex has festering inside him. This makes us understand him and his issues considerably. All this allow for relationships to begin anew.There is a strong feel good aspect to the tale. There is a ring of authenticity in the manner in which autism is conveyed and the difficulties associated with the condition. The character development in the book is great. The writing style is engaging and draws in the reader easily. I liked this novel a lot but I wish I had read it before Jem Lester's Shtum which in my view is a superior read on the themes of autism and marriage breakdown. This would have stopped me comparing the two books so much. Nevertheless this is a lovely read. Thanks to Little, Brown for an ARC.

  • Emma
    2019-03-17 19:44

    Right from the first chapter, I absolutely despised Alex: the very useless father of young Sam. I read his selfish, childish avoidance of his life with muttered epithets and wondered how the hell his wife, Jody, had lasted so long with this man child. I was seriously annoyed. And without realising it, completely invested. What came afterwards is the slow, stumbling building of a relationship between father and son. Full of setbacks and wrong paths, both characters learn about each other as we learn about them. My dislike for Alex changed in to something else when I noticed that he was trying, really trying for the first time in the novel to see Alex and to understand and connect with him. It was beautiful and moving. All around them in the novel other relationships were being evaluated and reconstructed, but it is this one new bond that commands the attention. It is love being born in front of your eyes. Stuart is masterful here, this happened without me being aware of the words. I can't speak to the language used because I honestly didn't note it at all, I was too busy feeling. While the ending left me in tears, it was in happiness for this fairytale- one that Sam deserved above all. The book doesn't shy away from showing the difficulties a child on the spectrum might bring to the life of a family, but it makes sure to bring in the surprises and love too. It might not always be so perfect in real life, but in this story, it was just right.Many thanks to Keith Stuart, St. Martin's Press, and Netgalley for this copy in exchange for an honest review.

  • Magdalena
    2019-03-02 18:53

    "Life is an adventure, not a walk. That's why it's difficult."Beautifully written emotional story of a father trying to rebuild his life and reconnect with his autistic son and an estranged wife. Alex is one of those characters that I learned to like as I kept on reading. When I started reading he comes across as being selfish and childish. As the story goes on I realised he's a more complex and interesting character than I thought. Having to deal not just with his son autism but also a past tragedy Alex eventually realises that he needs to make life count, he needs to make his relationships with family and friends more meaningful and most importantly he needs to properly connect with his autistic son. Full of humour and warmth A Boy Made Of Blocks is a compelling story that I'm happy to recommend.

  • Dem
    2019-02-23 14:54

    This is the sort of book that pulls at your heart strings and certainly makes you realize the challenges that Autism brings to a family and the struggle it is to get the appropriate help and educational needs their child requires and is entitled to.While I did like the book in places and felt the author did a good job getting across to the reader just how difficult life for an Austistic child can be and those who care for him, I didn't feel the book reached its full potential as the emotion or the character development just wasn't there for me and it became repetitive and drawn out in places.The book tells the stroy of Alex a father leaning to connect with his autistc son Sam through the Computer game Mine Craft. Its an interesting read but I felt it became quite repetitive and bland towards the middle of the story and this may be my lack of computer gaming knowledge or lack interest in mine craft.I read this for a bookclub summer read and while it was just an ok read for me, it will be interesting to see how much discussion this one will create. This book has quite high ratings here on GoodReads and my review is just my reaction to the bo.

  • Maria Espadinha
    2019-02-23 18:00

    A Porta MágicaPermitam que vos apresente esta família:Sam é o filho : um jovem autista daqueles que se escondem debaixo das mesas, que detesta contactos físicos, e em que até o olhar dos outros figura algures lá pelo rol dos itens mais incómodos.Jody é a mãe : diligente e a tempo inteiro. Vinte e quatro horas pronta a assistir e socorrer o seu filhote, como seria expectável numa mãe a 100%.Alex é o pai : por exclusão de partes coube-lhe o papel de ganha-pão. Para o efeito entregou-se a uma actividade com que pouco se identifica -- uma daquelas supostamente provisórias até aparecer outra mais do seu agrado!...Trabalha horas a fio, o que quase lhe impõe um estatuto de outsider em relação ao resto da família.Retratados num quadro algo surrealista, vemos mãe e filho presos por um cordão umbilical quase invisível, contemplados por um pai distante que os observa por trás dum vidro fosco. Alex atravessa um período de crise: já pouco comunica com Jody, sendo a separação inevitável. Quanto ao filho, ambos mantêm um relacionamento quase nulo. Sam vive num mundo só seu, onde o pai não tem lugar!Daí ser tão urgente uma interface, uma plataforma de contacto directo -- algo que simplesmente os aproxime!Sendo o Software Cósmico tão generoso e criativo, a ansiada interface pai-filho é materializada na forma dum jogo de blocos -- Minecraft.Surpreendente , hein?!... Pois foi mesmo assim! Pai e filho desatam a jogar Minecraft e juntos partilham momentos mágicos e emocionalmente reconfortantes!...Alex aceitou o desafio de ser pai quando seria bem mais fácil desistir.E foi deveras interessante e inspirador, acompanhar todo esse percurso duma aproximação tão frutuoso para ambos... :)"O Rapaz Dos Blocos" é uma leitura que incita à comunicação entre pais e filhos, mostrando que cabe aos pais encontrar aquela porta mágica que dá acesso ao mundo dos filhos. Só assim é possível converter o estatuto do "chato dos sermões", do outsider frustrado e inoperante, no de companheiro e orientador!Para terminar, só uma curiosa observação: já constataram que existem por aqui múltiplos personagens autistas?! É caso para perguntar se alguns (muitos?!) dos introvertidos "livronautas" não terão chegado a este mundo com algum gene meio autista?! ;)

  • Marialyce
    2019-03-08 13:35

    It is extremely difficult to be a parent of a child with autism. The looks, the behavior, the lack of closeness is a trial for the parent as well as the child who just does not seem to fit into the world in which he/she was born into.For Sam, the eight year old son of Alex and Jody, the life and the trials of having an autistic son has weighed heavily on their marriage. Alex and Jody have separated and to add to this unfortunate situation, Alex has also lost his job. Alex withdrawn from Sam while the bulk of Sam's raising is being done by Jody. Alex can't seem to find a link into his son's persona. He is embarrassed and fearful of his son's behavior. He also comes to realize that as he withdraws from his son, he also has withdrawn from his marriage. He needs to find a way back, a link to both his wife and his son.Incredibly, Alex does find a way to connect to his boy. They begin to play a computer generated game Minecraft and through this game played together, Alex develops a rapport with his son. As the story continues, Alex starts to gain the understanding of his son's condition. He anticipates things that will set Sam off and as he delves deeper into his son's ability to play Minecraft, he finds his own ability to be the father that Sam needs. Alex leans acceptance, he learns to find himself and plan for the future that he wants for both Sam and Jody.Interestingly, the author of this book is a computer games editor who has personal knowledge of autism as his own son is affected by it. As he presents Alex we see the fear of the unknown come into focus. What will happen to Sam? Will he be able to thrive in a world he does not understand autism and all that connotes? “There is no such thing as stability any more,” for surely a child with autism upsets the set pattern one has about raising a child. It takes hard work and a sense of dedication and love to begin the journey that Alex and Sam take. At the end, we see father and son have begun to foster a wonderful relationship as both come to recognize and embrace the world that has been given to them. Alex does find exactly what he is looking for and in that he brings his love for Sam and Jody full circle.Thank you to Keith Stuart, St Martin's Press and NetGalley for providing a copy of this novel.

  • abby
    2019-02-22 17:56

    "Life is an adventure, not a walk. That's why it's difficult."3.5 starsAlex's life is falling apart. His wife, Jody, has asked him to move out their home. The sticking point in their marriage is Alex's inability to connect with and parent their eight-year-old autistic son, Sam. He's struggling at his stressful job, and he's still carrying unresolved trauma from his childhood. So maybe it's not too surprising that he finds himself, in his 30s, bunking with a mate and sleeping on a lumpy air mattress.Alex almost lives in fear of his autistic child. The thought of taking Sam to the park or spending any time with him alone is enough to induce a panic attack. Sam has been diagnosed with a high-functioning form of the disorder, but he's still different in a way Alex finds impossible to cope with. Sam is afraid of dogs, can't stand loud noises or crowds, has a narrow set of interests and food preferences, and tends to lash out violently when he doesn't get his way. For years, Alex's primary parenting strategy has been retreat.Things start to change between father and son when Sam discovers Minecraft. Alex discovers that not only can he play the game with his son, but that the Minecraft world helps Sam open up parts of him that were locked shut before. The game helps Sam build his vocabulary, open up about his feelings on his school, and learn to interact with other children. It's not a miracle. But it's progress. And that's everything.I don't know any autistic children and have no idea whether the portrayal of Sam is accurate or not. However, as a parent, I could easily see parts of me becoming like Jody and parts of me like Alex. The issues in their marriage seemed very realistic.More than liking this book, I think I appreciate this book because of the importance of the topic it covers. At times, the story went a little slow for me, and I felt like Alex's drama with his sister and mother dragged the book down a bit. I also felt a little hampered by my complete ignorance about Minecraft.Thank you to both the publisher and netgalley for granting me access to this title

  • The Hopeless Romantics Book Blog
    2019-03-24 21:04

    Review: Surj Facebook: http://thehopelessromanticsbookblog.b...I'm a romance reader through and through and that is really all I've read for the last three years. However, when I read the synopsis for "A Boy made of Blocks," there was just something about Alex's story that said "Read me. You won't be disappointed" and I was right. This book was different but so brilliant. It was captivating, addictive, poignant and absolutely life affirming. I'm so tired of feeling like this- helpless, directionless, buffeted from one seemingness unnavigable crisis to another, like a boat lost way out at sea. Told from Alex's POV, I loved the way his story was brought to life. It was honest, realistic and very much believable. Alex did not go easy on himself when recounting his journey to connect with his son and more often than not he did come across as quite the villain. I saw every ugly, tarnished side to him and so many times I could have kicked him in the shins for shirking his responsibilities as a parent. There were even a few moments where he made me cry either with some of his actions or with what came out of his mouth. However, the more I got to know his character, the more I began to understand. Alex had events from his past that he needed to come to terms with and couple that with the pressures of parenthood and the added challenges of having an autistic child, and I think somewhere along the line he just lost himself. It doesn't make his behaviour right but it did help me understand the reasons why he was the way he was. "Have some of this lemon cake, it's lovely, and also, tell me more about your emotionally apocalyptic disintegration of your nine year marriage." "A Boy made of blocks" was one of those books that pulled so many emotions from me. From Alex's very blunt and very dry sense of humour that had me in hysterics to the anger and frustration I felt when he said the wrong thing. Then of course there was little "Sam" who stole a little piece of my heart the moment I met him. His character had my heart breaking, he had me laughing and he even had me crying (again). Sam was a beautiful, courageous little boy trying to live in a world that just seemed so alien to him, and with no one there to really understand his needs and wants, there was this overwhelming sense of loneliness that seemed to cloak him. But could one game really change everything? Could "Minecraft" bring a father and his son closer? Could it put a family back together? I wasn't sure. But the darkness always comes, whatever you do. Eventually you have to turn around and face it. I loved the growth in Sam's character in this book. I'm not a gamer and I have no clue about "Minecraft" but I didn't need to. Instead I allowed Alex and Sam to transport me into their fantasy world where I got lost in make belief right alongside each of them. The bond that was formed because of one simple game and the changes I witnessed in Sam as a result of this was just so heart warming and touching and honestly, that made me cry even more tears (of the happy kind this time thank god!!! lol). "A Boy made of Blocks" is one of the stories that will have you constantly questioning yourself. What would you do in Alex or even his wife Jody's shoes? And honestly, the truth was often suffocating because nothing was black and white and yes, there were times I could see myself getting frustrated or angry or upset as the characters did in certain situations and the guilt I felt almost immediately made me feel so ashamed. I really could feel what this couple went through day in, day out and it wasn't difficult to see how things had managed to fall apart."Life is an adventure, not a walk. That's why it's so difficult." I loved "A Boy made of Blocks." It was masterfully penned with characters that were fortunately and often unfortunately relatable. The unique and very quirky way parts of the story were delivered equally added something special to the execution of Alex's story. A job well done to Keith Stuart. This is easily a ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ read for me. What would be the icing on the cake is Jody's POV. I would have loved to have gotten inside her head and had a good rummage around.

  • Jo (A rather Bookish Geek)
    2019-03-02 15:40

    This book was a journey. A journey for a Father and son to connect with one another. The story is based on Alex and his son, Sam. Sam has autism, and a distance has inevitably grown between them. Alex is at a loss of how to bond with him. I admit here, I almost immediately despised Alex due to his lack of attempts to make peace with Sam, spend time with him, and to be honest, I found him to be rather pathetic! Needless to say that my opinion of him changed further through the book. The author has based the theme of this story on his own experiences of raising an autistic son. The way in which he describes the everyday difficulties a child with autism AND the parent faces on a daily basis is very, very real. I come into contact with children with autism regularly, so I can appreciate a little of what these parents and carers are up against. The autism spectrum is massive. Children can be low or high on the scale, and sometimes, may also have to contend with another disability as well.The title of this book "The boy made of blocks" is based on the authors own experience of the enjoyment of playing the video game "Minecraft" with his boy, and with that, they discovered something they could bond with. The game was a safe haven. It was a place where he could build what he liked, there were no rules and he felt entirely free.As much as I enjoyed this book, I really didn't appreciate the sub plots as they were really unnecessary, and added nothing to the story. I also thought the ending was too happy. It was too perfect. I was expecting something more.

  • Sarah
    2019-02-26 19:57

    A Boy Made of Blocks is a fiction story based on real life experiences with the authors own son.Alex has been trying to do the best for his family by investing his time in his work and providing for the family. Sadly he has been neglecting his wife and son to a certain extent and Jody his wife has had enough.Being a parent can be trying at the best of times but Sam being autistic, at times, makes their experience even more trying which is leaving them both exhausted. Jody has had enough and asks Alex to move out until he sorts himself out and gets his priorities right.Alex to start with I thought was a bit selfish. I know he is doing his best to provide for his family but when Sam’s behaviour was getting hard to handle he would walk away and leave his wife to deal with it. The death of his brother when they were children seems to have a big impact on Alex and it’s something that is also affecting the relationship with his son.Your heart can’t help but go out to Alex and Jody though. They have friends with children and as much as they love Sam they crave that connection which doesn’t happen all that often with him. Through an electronic game, Mine Craft, Alex starts to understand more about how Sam sees the world and a connection starts to grow between the two.What I loved about this book is that it gave me so much more of an understanding for what it must be like to live in a world with autism. Sam is just to adorable for words. As he seems to progress through playing Mine Craft, I felt every bit as proud as Alex and Jody. When it came to the Mine Craft competition I was in absolute floods of tears. I felt very much part of the family as I was so wrapped up in the whole story.There are so many wonderful characters in this novel. Alex’s network of friends are truly brilliant. His family may be very quirky but you can’t help fall in love with his sister and his mum.There has been so much hype about this book and I have to say after reading it I totally get why. A Boy Made Of Blocks is a heart warming and emotional roller coaster of a read. It’s a story that reaches into your heart, grabs hold and stays there. Absolutely loved it!My thanks to Netgalley and Little, Brown Book Group UK for a copy of this book. All opinions are my own and not biased in anyway.

  • Jennifer Blankfein
    2019-03-15 19:03

    I loved this book so much. The straight forward writing makes for easy reading as Alex tells us his heartfelt story. Alex’s eight year old son, Sam, diagnosed with autism, has some difficult behaviors that create stress in the house so Alex spends most of his time at the office, hence his marriage is on the rocks. After moving out of his home and leaving his wife and son alone, he moves in with an old friend and the reality that he needs to make big changes sinks in. His marriage, his connection with his son,his unfulfilling job, and dealing with the loss of his brother all need some attention. Alex has to face what haunts him from the past to tackle the challenges ahead. While helping guide Sam he tells him “Life is an adventure, not a walk. That’s why it is difficult. ”Author Keith Stuart takes us on the realistic journey of loss, the ups and downs of relationships, parenting, and the continual task of understanding and connecting with our children which may entail trying multiple tactics and revising expectations along the way. He says “life puts up so many barriers to people who are different. Any tool that helps us to appreciate those people- whoever they are, however they differ from us- is a precious thing. ” Stuart has a child on the autism scale and although this book is not about his own son it feels authentic. He also writes about video games for a living and his son’s experiences with Minecraft were an inspiration for this story.Additional comments on my blog Book Nation by Jen

  • Karen
    2019-03-23 19:41

    Alex and Jody have recently separated due to their struggles in raising 7-year old autistic son, Sam. It will take a lot of hard work, soul searching and letting go of some old baggage to bring their family back together. The author’s inspiration for writing this insightful and touching novel is drawn from his own life raising an autistic son. I felt the author’s personal connection as he drew me in. Although this is fiction, Stuart helped me to better understand motivators of an autistic child and the counterpoints of conflicted parents sharing the joys and challenges of raising a special needs child.It is interesting to note that the inspiration for writing ‘A Boy Made or Blocks’ was based on Stuart’s introduction of the video game Mindcraft into his son’s life that proved to be a comfort to the boy; a haven where his son could engage without rules, make his own decisions and nobody would make fun of him. The positive side effects of its gameplay apparently extend to many autistic children as numerous articles have been written about this. Quite surprising to learn.

  • Kruimel
    2019-02-25 13:38

    Vijf sterren. Ik heb meermaals als een gek zitten knikken tegen de pagina's. 'Ja!', wou ik roepen. 'Ja, zo is het helemaal.' Af en toe las ik mijn eigen gedachten op de pagina's. Freaky in a good way. Het verhaal is warm, mooi, grappig en zeker goed geschreven. Maar die vijf sterren zijn vooral voor de verschillende snaren die bij meermaals en duidelijk geraakt werden.

  • ReadAlong With Sue
    2019-03-15 14:44

    Once I picked this book up, that was it.I started early evening and didn't put it down until the early hours as the daylight was coming through my window, the early start to another day.This is compulsive reading.Autism. I only know a little due to my husbands brothers child who is now an adult. He is very mild on the autism scale and holds down a job, drives and has a rounded life. However, his social skills are awkward and looking into people's eyes to make eye contact in conversation I can tell is difficult for him.The little boy in this story has more severe complex needs.Jody, the mum copes well. If you can call it 'coping' as with most things in life you just have to buckle down and get on with it.But the Dad isn't coping.It's not just about his son, it's about another tragedy that happened in his past which he blames himself for.Jody can't cope with him like this as well as their sons needs.They become a couple that 'are on a break' so he moves in with his friend.I have to say here, that there are times in this book that made me giggle. I could see how the Dad had such a great sense of humor with certain things he said or thought. And at times I laughed out loud.Then bit by bit things begin to change.His son has a game he plays on his XBox and although at first Dad is a bit reluctant with that idea, after all, shouldn't they be helping him to socialize?Dad gets drawn into game, he can also communicate with his son online playing this game and interacting with his wonderful son.Bit by bit the blocks are being built in more ways than one.But will Jody and him ever find a way forward now that she's kissed someone.She now has a part time job.He was made redundant.Has life moved on and such a gap grown the divide is to big?Although he's closer to his son more than ever.My thanks to Little brown book group for my copy via Net Galley

  • Joanna Park
    2019-03-03 13:38

    Emotional, honest and utterly compelling this is truly an inspirational story that a lot of people can relate to. Alex is unhappy with his life. Stuck in a dead-end job and struggling to connect with his an autistic son he doesn't understand, he knows he has failed but he can't figurte out what to do about it. Everything comes to a head when he is made redundant from his job and his wife suggests a trial separation. At rock bottom Alex decides to make his son his number one priority and sets about trying to understand and bond with him. I really enjoyed this book. The development of the main characters Alex and Sam is beautifully done as is the journey they go on when building their relationship with each other. The description of their bonding moments were my favorite parts of the book. The other characters in the book were really realistic. I liked that they made mistakes and reacted to situations like I would. The author injects subtle humor into the book which was really well done and provided some light relief for some of the more serious issues. His descriptions of things were hilarious like the 'mum cliche' bingo needed for the phrases his mum was likely to say when they met! The only reason this isn't five stars for me is I felt the ending was a little too perfect. I also found some of the sub stories a little annoying towards the end as I really wanted to find out what would happen with Alex & Sam. I would (and have) recommend this book to everyone as it is a beautifully told and inspirational story that will hopefully help spread more understanding and awareness of autism. I look forward to reading more from this author. Huge thanks to the author, Little Brown books and Netgalley for giving me access to this book.

  • Tracy Fenton
    2019-03-25 13:50

    A thoroughly wonderful book following Alex and his autistic son Sam's journey to connect with each other. Full of humour and warmth this story tugged at my heartstrings and I even shed a tear (or two).

  • Renita D'Silva
    2019-03-07 18:45

    Beautiful, poignant and emotional.

  • Sharon
    2019-03-15 18:34

    This is a story about a man and his son.Alex has left the marital home - he and his wife Jody haven't been getting along. A major part of the conflict is how this affects Sam, their young son, who is on the Autism spectrum. Alex is also dealing with something from his past that is most definitely having an effect on how he communicates with Sam, so he needs to find himself and move on before he can even begin to heal his family relationships. Through the game of Minecraft, Alex finds a way to connect with Sam like never before. Okay, if you like the writing style of David Nicholls, I found this pretty similar. I actually found it a similar reading experience to Us - which I really disliked. Halfway through this book I felt myself speed reading just to get through it - and I had to force myself to slow down. Once I left my cynical old bitch hat off for a while, I could appreciate the story and the relationship between father and son. I've also got a son who loves Minecraft. The story was a bit too saccharin in places (the competition) and I felt everything was wrapped up too fast and too neatly, but overall this was a very sweet story and not something I'd usually pick up so I'm glad it was a Richard & Judy Book Club pick because I'd never have gone near it otherwise. It's always nice to read something different.

  • Elke
    2019-03-21 18:47

    Uit! Twijfelde nog wel een beetje tussen 3 en 4 sterren, maar waarom ik uiteindelijk toch voor de 4 ben gegaan lees je binnenkort op The Dutch Reading Society!

  • Suze Lavender
    2019-03-03 18:04

    Alex and Jody are going through a rough patch in their marriage. They're temporarily separated because Alex isn't mentally present in his own life anymore. His withdrawnness is difficult for Jody. They stopped talking long ago and Alex is always at work. Their son Sam was diagnosed on the autism spectrum and their days with him are often a struggle. Alex doesn't connect with his son at all. While Alex is staying with his best friend he has the chance to figure things out, to discover what went wrong and to work on his problems. He misses home and wants to return. However, before he's ready to do that he needs to truly get to know his son and see how special he is.A Boy Made of Blocks is a beautiful story about a father who has made a mess of his life by not living it. Jody doesn't want Alex at home any longer and Alex misses her terribly. Even though he doesn't know how to spend time with his son without despair he loves Sam very much. Because Jody has told him to go, Alex starts to comprehend his own feelings and he learns a lot about himself through the gradual improvement of the relationship he has with his son. I was immediately impressed by the in-depth descriptions of Sam's inner world and loved the connection that slowly forms between father and son in a fascinating way.Sam isn't like most of the other kids at school and has a different view of the world. Keith Stuart manages to show what it's like for Sam to be constantly confronted with rules he doesn't understand. He educates his readers while offering them a fantastic story and I absolutely loved that. It's obvious he knows what he's writing about. Stories like A Boy Made of Blocks are so important, they make people aware and they give people a bit more grip on the subject of autism. The autism spectrum is broad and what both children and adults are dealing with is often misunderstood or underestimated and sometimes even ridiculed. It pains my heart when I see this in my direct surroundings. I hope many people will read A Boy Made of Blocks, so, like me, they can be amazed by the honesty and authenticity of the writer. Keith Stuart expresses his feelings on every part of the subject incredibly well. Reading about the negative reactions of people always makes me really sad, but fortunately there's hope to balance it. A Boy Made of Blocks is moving and while I often had tears in my eyes the story also made me smile. I think it's terrific that I felt so captivated by this novel and I definitely want to read it again.A Boy Made of Blocks is a book about relationship problems in many forms. Alex and Jody are going through a hard time, Alex doesn't know how to connect with his son, Alex needs to restore the bonds he has with his mother and sister and he needs to work on his friendships. This isn't an easy task, but Alex isn't alone. He has a dear friend who is there for him whenever he needs someone, which is another aspect of the story I thoroughly enjoyed. Eventually Alex both forms and reforms meaningful relationships with people. It was amazing to see him grow, together with his son. A Boy Made of Blocks is an absolute must-read. I was mesmerized by the story and read it in one sitting. I highly recommend this brilliant book.

  • Nora|KnyguDama
    2019-02-27 16:03

    KEITH STUART "KALADĖLIŲ BERNIUKAS"Aš tikriausiai esu skaičiusi visas lietuvių kalba išleistas knygas apie autizmą. Ir vos pasirodžius kokiai naujai - ją griebiu. Tai labai įdomi liga, labai įdomūs pacientai. Neįtikėtini jų gabumai ir pasaulio suvokimas, mane nežmoniškai domina. Tad pamačius jog knygynų lentynose jau puikuojasi naujas leidinys šia tema - važiavau, nusipirkau ir kone vienu prisėdimu perskaičiau."Kaladėlių berniukas" - knyga parašyta tėvo, kurio vaikui diagnozuotas autizmas. Keith ir jo žmona vaikelio susilaukė labai anksti ir labai netikėtai. Nespėję gerai vienas kito pažinti, jie jau buvo surišti kitokio - ypatingo vaiko. Kad Semui kažkas negerai jie suprato kone po pirmųjų dienų, mat vaikas nesustodamas verkė ir dieną ir naktį, nereagvo į tėvus. Jam paaugus abejonių nebeliko. Ir taip trapi šeima tapo dar pažeidžiamesnė. Nuolat dirbdamas Keith praktiškai neaugino Semo ir visi rūpesčiai krito ant jo žmonos pečių. Neilgai trukus Keith išsikraustė iš bendrų namų ir atitolo nuo savo sūnaus. Matydamas jį vos kartą per savaitę, Keith nesuprato jo, ir vaikas jo nepriėmė. Jų menkas ryšys nutrūko. Vėliau aplinkybės susiklostė taip, jog Keith privalėjo ilgesnį laiką prižiūrėti Semą ir tėtis patebėjo, jog vaikas be galo domisi žaidimu "Minecraft". Jis nuolat jį žaidžia, apie jį šneka, galvoja ir mąsto tik apie žaidimą. Norėdamas nuraminti Semą, Keith pats prisijungė prie žaidimo. Ir tai buvo geriausias sprendimas jo gyvenime, mat žaidimo dėka tėvas ir sūnus vėl rado bendrą kalbą. Jie kartu žaidė, kūrė, vaikas pradėjo pasiilgti tėčio.Iš pradžių maniau, kad tai tikra istorija, tačiau beskaitydama suvokiau jog tai tik istorija paremta tikrais faktais. O tie faktai yra tokie : sunki vaiko liga išskyrė tėvus, o "Minecraft" grąžino sūnaus ir tėvo ryšį. Visa kita buvo gan banalu ir nuspėjama. Autorius bandė parašyti šeimyninę dramą pasiremdamas liga, tačiau mano galva, žymiai įdomesnė knygą būtų buvus TIK apie ligą ir vaiko pokyčius. Visi tie santykiai, meilės, draugystės buvo banalu ir nereikalinga. Visa tai kaip žaidimas keitė Semą ir kaip jį privertė mąstyti, bendrauti - buvo tikra ir įdomu. Skaitydama "Kaladėlių berniuką" papildomai domėjausi "Minecraft" ir kaip jis veikia autizmu sergančius vaikus. Pasirodo tai yra faktas: žaidimas ne vieną vaiką privertė labiau atsiskleisti. Ši tema buvo žymiai įdomesnė nei "kas ką myli" ir "kas ant ko pyksta".

  • I read novels
    2019-03-06 16:45

    Truly a brilliant story, so very different from what has ever been written before. Keith Stuart is a very gifted writer. The author Keith Stuart was inspired by his own experiences with his son to write this book. The true story behind A Boy Made of Blocks is that when Keith's son Zac reached the age of two, his wife read that most children have a vocabulary of around fifty words. Zac could only say ten. Once Keith Stuart's son was seven he was officially diagnosed as being on the autism scale. Keith writes for a living about video games, he has often written about Zac and Minecraft for the Guardian. The story of A Boy Made of Blocks is about Alex and his wife Jody who have split up and have a beautiful baby boy Sam. Sam is diagnosed as on the upper end of the autism spectrum and Sam has speech therapy. Jody can't work because Sam needs his mum constantly. On the days that Dan has Sam, he seems to dread taking Sam out as he is so difficult and Dan is useless at managing him. Both sets of parents do love Sam, but Dan doesn't understand him like his wife Jody. I thought it was brilliant how Sam loved to play Minecraft. Minecraft isn't really a game in the strict sense of the word it's like Lego. It lets you build stuff, destroy stuff, dig massive holes, chase farm animals and kill monsters. I recommend A Boy made of Blocks as it is a heart warming story of family and love.

  • Espe
    2019-03-07 17:42

    Alex no está pasando por su mejor etapa, su mujer Jody acaba de pedirle una separación de prueba porque llevan un tiempo que discuten por cualquier cosa; tampoco logra conectar con su hijo Sam, al que considera prácticamente un problema por lo difícil que es tratar con él y entenderle, ya que está dentro del espectro del autismo; la relación con el resto de su familia no es la mejor por un hecho del pasado que les marcó a todos y trabaja en un lugar que en principio era de paso, porque no es lo suyo y no le llena. Con todo esto encima se traslada a la casa de su amigo Dan, donde tendrá que empezar a evaluar su situación y lo que puede hacer para arreglar su vida y a sí mismo, mientras encuentra la manera de acercarse a su hijo a través de un videojuego, Minecraft."-La vida es una aventura, no es un paseo. Es por eso que es difícil."Me atraía mucho esta novela porque intuía que sería una historia de emociones y me enseñaría algo más sobre el autismo (del que sabía más bien poco), y aunque se ha alejado algo de la idea que tenía sobre ella, me ha parecido una maravilla como Keith Stuart retrata el tema y nos acerca a una familia que está en sus horas más bajas. Vamos, viendo cómo se desarrolla todo a través de Alex, el padre de familia y el mayor protagonista, es su historia y como tal vemos sus sentimientos, miedos y preocupaciones.Aunque el libro es una pequeña obra de arte, hay momentos que se hacen un poco lentos o monótonos, porque es una historia de personajes, donde la acción y las aventuras no tienen ninguna cabida y se trata más de explorar lo que les pasa en sus vidas, los efectos que tienen los unos en los otros y ese tipo de relaciones humanas. Reseña completa:

  • Egor Mikhaylov
    2019-03-24 17:45

    Расхваленный дебют британского журналиста Кита Стюарта о том, как сложно растить сына-аутиста, если ты — тридцатилетний британец, строящий свою жизнь по лекалам персонажей Ника Хорнби. Увы, драйва Хорнби здесь как раз и не хватает. Стюарт строит книгу с той же осторожной скрупулёзностью, с которой его герой строит лондонский Тауэр в «Майнкрафте»: точно по лекалам, камешек к камешку, сюжетный поворот к сюжетному повороту, ни на секунду не позволяя непредсказуемости прорваться в мир романа. Формально сюжетные повороты здесь есть (ровно в тех местах, где им положено быть, ни на страницу раньше или позже), но каждый из них вы предугадаете раньше, чем автор произнесёт «расстройство аутистического спектра».Героев ровно столько, сколько нужно, они проработаны ровно настолько, как нужно сюжету. Если один из персонажей должен выполнять функцию «старик, который ни с кем не общается, но в итоге окажется аутистом, который на несколько страниц подружится с сыном главного героя, чтобы главный герой вспомнил об этом в следующей сцене и забыл до конца книги» — можете быть уверены, ровно столько вы об этом персонаже и узнаете.Казалось бы, опыт жизни с сыном-аутистом должен помочь автору расцветить книгу подробностями, но нет. Даже аутизм сына аутистичен ровно настолько, чтобы помочь герою пережить Нравственное Перерождение, но не слишком докучать в процессе.Выходит роман, сделанный из кубиков. Очень аккуратный, но имеющий такое же отношение к хорошему роману, как компьютерная модель Тауэра к Тауэрц реальному.

  • Joanne Robertson
    2019-03-05 16:35

    I picked up a copy of this book as it was recommended for fans of The Rosie Project which I really enjoyed. But then it sat on my TBR pile as I wasn’t sure I would be grabbed by the storyline when I read the blurb. But you know that thing where you kick yourself because you’ve had a BRILLIANT books sat right next to you for weeks and you hadn’t realised how much you would love it and that it would take over your life? Yep, that!!! As soon as I started reading I knew that this book was going to be something very special indeed and it’s probably going onto the list of my most favourite books EVER!I have a friend who’s son has been diagnosed on the autistic spectrum and I always have so much respect for  her. It is so demanding being a parent anyway but having a child with autism seems to need such a huge strength of character and organisation that exceeds anything I can imagine. So I could understand totally why, at the beginning of this story, Jody has asked Alex to leave the family home. To have your partner not give the same dedication day in day out that you do, no wonder she took the difficult decision to do it on her own, she practically was anyway. And I have to say I was backing her 100% as Alex seemed such a self absorbed loser that I thought she’d do a far better job of parenting Sam on her own. But then when Alex goes to live with bachelor mate Dan, we start to get a clearer picture of how the past has affected the Alex we see now. He adores Sam but hasn’t been able to share the same connection as Jody, he has always been holding back, that is until Sam discovers Minecraft. Now having a family full of girls, I know ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about video games therefore had to spend time familiarising myself with Minecraft so I could visualise what Sam saw. I was then able to get more out of those very poignant and heart wrenching scenes where father and son bonding brings on unexpected changes in both their lives.I don’t think I have ever read a book before where I laughed out loud so much at a one sentence, then laughed even more at the next only to be fighting back the tears by the end of the chapter. I adored Sam, what an amazing little boy he was, showing a courage and determination any parent would be proud of. His relationship with his father and how it was developed was brilliantly brought to life by the sharply humorous style of writing. And I felt a great affinity with Alex once I realised what had happened in his past as I then understood why he reacted as he did in certain situations. His journey to reclaim the relationships in his life made for a bittersweet comedy drama filled with wonderful characters that I didn’t want to let go of.So be prepared to run the whole gauntlet of emotions here with tears and laughter sometimes coming so close together you dont know which is which! Be prepared to meet the most amazing little boy who will leave a lasting imprint in your heart. And be prepared to leave this book feeling magically uplifted with a warm fuzzy glow that sees you smiling at complete strangers! I couldn’t put it down once I started and then I didn’t want it to end. I just adored every last word I managed to squeeze out of this amazing book and I cant recommend it highly enough.I will end by saying that I hope someone snaps up the film rights to A Boy Made of Blocks as it would make one of those wonderful, feel good films that British cinema seems to do so perfectly. I already have it cast in my mind if anyone needs me to get the ball rolling!

  • Nani
    2019-02-27 19:04

    Once in awhile, I break out of my comfort zone and read a book from an author I've never read before.#ABoyMadeofBlocks was recommended to me by my cousin.Inspired by the writer's true life experience, this book shares the heartwarming story of a father, who struggles to connect and bond with his son, who has autism. Alex is at the crossroad of his life. Temporarily separated from his wife, Alex needs to pull his family together, and learn to accept his son's condition. Through the (accidental) Minecraft sessions with his son, Alex discovers that Sam, his son, is about to teach him more about life than he could ever expect.A truly brilliant, excellent debut novel by Keith Stuart. I may have shed a couple of tears reading this, but I truly enjoyed the book. It is easily the best book I've read this year!

  • Claire
    2019-03-02 12:43

    This book for me was such a whirlwind of emotions and I also think probably the most important book I'll read this year so so important to me and it just had such an emotional impact on me I found myself sitting reading at 11pm crying my eyes out not with sadness but with joy.I really connected quickly with Sam mainly because my 5 year old son is also autistic like Sam, although not on the same scale but there was so many moments throughout this book that I saw the same sort of traits in Sam as my little boy has. It was just so moving to find a book that speaks about autism and it's affects how it moulds a family life, this story is just so unique. Keith Stuart does a fantastic job of portraying what autism can be like. I have to admit I didn't like Alex at first he was quick tempered he had no time for Sam or patience to stand back and just try and learn how things might be for him. But as the story progresses you start to see him change. There is a few other threads to this story about other characters which really just added more to the story I honestly just wholeheartedly loved this book it just touched my heart.This book captures so much into 416 pages it was so heartwarming I couldn't recommend this book enough I highlighted so many parts it's a book filled with so much emotion I cried, I laughed, and beamed with pride and joy with Alex, Sam and Jody because I truly do believe that life is an adventure, not a walk. That's why it's difficult.My thanks to the publishers who gave me a copy of this book via netgalley as part of the book blog tour in exchange for a honest review.

  • Ellie M
    2019-03-18 18:56

    I don't have much knowledge of Minecraft except that it's a computer games based on blocks and it's quite popular with pre-teens. In this novel I learned a lot about Minecraft and how it allowed for the relationship between a Dad and his autistic son to develop and grow through a shared interest. In the novel the relationship between the boy's parents is struggling, partly because of their son's autism, and partly because the Dad is spending time working to support the family. The parents decide to have some time apart and when the Dad finds himself made redundant and with a lot more time on his hands he also finds himself in a position where he is in charge of his son, without the aid of his wife. An introduction to Minecraft is enough to unlock a world for his son, and for the Dad to find a shared passion. This story is fictional but the author is a Dad of a son with autism and therefore has first hand experience of parenting a child on the spectrum. This is evident from the novel and the references to behaviour patterns. I found it a fascinating read from that point of view, but also a heartwarming read and a lovely portrayal of father and son relationships and shared passions.Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC.

  • Nigel
    2019-03-11 15:54

    In brief - I did really enjoy quite a lot of this book. I just felt some parts were a bit contrived/cheesy - making it 4 on reflection.In full -This book is the story of Alex, his son Sam, his wife Jody and also about other members of his family and friends. In part it is based on the author's own experiences with his autistic son which I think lent a validity to the book. The main focus is on Alex's relationship with Sam - initially not really a relationship at all - more a train wreck. At the start I didn't find Alex a very likeable character, blokey with no idea how to deal with the problems in his life. My views changed as I read on - he is actually quite like many of us - we get things wrong at times even with the best intentions.I was increasingly drawn in to Alex's life and his problems particularly as they become more apparent. I guess a vital aspect of the story is that the online game Minecraft. It is key to Alex's changing relationship with Sam. Never having played it I found it fairly interesting simply as a "game" and very interesting in its effect on both of them. The book follows changes in Alex's relationship with Sam and other people in his life.I do find myself a little unsure about how I really felt about this book. On the one hand I was really drawn in to Alex's story for much of the time. His vulnerability both in terms of himself and the rest of his family were both endearing and remarkably easy to identify with. On the other hand some aspect of the storyline seemed contrived and rather obvious.Note - I received an advance digital copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair review

  • Laura
    2019-03-16 21:03

    Alex is struggling in life. He has been made redundant, his marriage is deteriorating and beyond that his relationship with his only son has become increasingly overwhelming. Standing between Alex and his son Sam is a villain and it's name is autism.Drawing on the authors own personal experience as a father of an autistic child, this was a touching read about the daily challenges associated with nurturing a child on the spectrum. There were some heartfelt moments and I felt the author gave great personalisation to autism and emphasised that it is something which can be managed, working in partnership with the child's quirks and need for order and routine.I was a little bored of the descriptions of the game of Minecraft, the game which brings father and son together. Having found that the author is a games reviewer wasn't a surprise. Alex and Sam become immersed in the game and I felt too much of the book was dedicated to the many missions and builds the two shared. Overall; quite different to my usual genre. Historically I have found the Richard and Judy book club picks very hit and miss, but this one sat neatly in the middle for me. I didn't love it, but it wasn't a complete bore either.