‘Best Boy’ a novel by Eli Gottlieb

I begin this post by thanking Norton Books for sending me this lovely ARC, it was much appreciated. Written from the point of view of a autistic man, this book was both highly unique and intriguing as I had never read anything quite like it before. I gave this novel 4 out of 5 stars, but to be fair I’d say it was more like a 4.5-it had me gripped from the first chapter, and truly feeling sorry for Todd..This novel is written from the point of view of Todd, a man in his 50s who is autistic. You see his thoughts and feelings through a series of events that take place at his home in the Payton LivingCentre, including the introduction of a new villager and the manipulation from a staff member.Throughout this novel, I found myself feeling sorry for Todd- watching him be used and threatened while he did not understand what is going on. To some degree it did cause me to think about what it must be like to be in his shoes, to know things are going on around, but never fully understanding the implications of it. However by no means was Todd not a highly intelligent character, he knew when he was in danger, and seemed to thrive off facts- in some level reminding me of myself when my Schizophrenia plays up.

Despite the rating, this book did carry some weak elements. All the characters were very vague, including Todd himself. Although you learnt everything about him mentally, and his way of thinking, I was unable to picture him due to the lack of physical description; this was the same for the other characters, but with these I also felt I lack any sort of connection with them due to each being mentioned quite vaguely. By far the best described character, and the only I felt any sort of connection with, was Todd’s mother. Although I have said this is a down side, in context of the story, it does actually make sense. Todd, as an autistic man, did not have much of a connection to other people- other than his mother- and therefore reading the story through his point of view, you also lacked the connection. Therefore, I have not taken this into consideration in my rating- with the exception of the lack of physical description of Todd.

Overall this is one of the most intriguing novels I have read, looking at the world through the eyes of an autistic man really made you stop and think what it must really be like for those out there. Its quite a straight forward read, and would highly recommend you pick it up if you get the chance.

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