Monday, 16 January 2017

Blog Tour: Keith Stuart's "A Boy made of Blocks."

The Hopeless Romantics Book Blog are pleased to be a part of the Blog Tour for Keith Stuart's "A Boy made of Blocks."
Amazon UK:


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.

Review: Surj 

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. 

Author Bio:

Keith Stuart is games editor at the Guardian. He started out as writer and features editor on the highly influential magazine Edge before going freelance in 2000 to cover games culture for publications such as The Official PlayStation Magazine, PC Gamer and T3, as well as investigating digital and interactive art for Frieze. He also writes about music, film and media for the Guardian and is a regular on the Tech Weekly podcast. 

He is married with two sons and lives with his family in Somerset. 

Twitter: @keefstuart

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