For fans of TheCurious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime comes this landmark novel about autism, memory, and, ultimately, redemption.
Sent to a "therapeutic community" for autism at the age of 11, Todd Aaron, now in his '50s, is the "old fox" of Payton Living Center. A joyous man who rereads the encyclopedia compulsively, he is unnerved by the sudden arrivals of a menacing new staffer and a disruptive, brain-injured roommate. His equilibrium is further worsened by Martine, a one-eyed new resident who has romantic intentions and convinces him to go off his meds to feel "normal" again. Undone by these pressures, Todd attempts an escape to return "home" to his younger brother and to a childhood that now inhabits only his dreams.
Written astonishingly in the first-person voice of an autistic, adult man, Best Boy - with its unforgettable portraits of Todd's beloved mother, whose sweet voice still sings from the grave, and a staffer named Raykene, who says that Todd reflects the beauty of God's creation - is a piercing, achingly funny, finally shattering novel no listener can ever forget.
©2015 Eli Gottlieb (P)2015 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
SciFi/Fantasy and Classics to History, Adventure and Memoirs to Social Commentary—I love and listen to it all!
This is a really good book... if you haven't listened to "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time." It's hard not to draw a comparison between the two, but the latter truly captured the voice of a person on the spectrum while this rather... mimics? it. It also has a few things that seem to be lifted from it, as in: Todd goes off on a journey by himself and has to deal with the "real" world for a bit.
But if we're judging the book on its own merits? Good story about a man who yearns for love and to belong, a man who has to have things just so lest he be subjected to the "volts" from his own brain and soul. A man who, because he feels longing for a woman, a girlfriend (a troubled, troubled individual named Martine who is used to flaunting the rules of whatever institution she's in), will go off his meds just to make that connection.
This also does a brilliant job of med depictions: They're necessary, but boy, at what a cost!
One of the weakest points, and I feel bad for saying this because I think Bronson Pinchot is one of the most talented narrators there is, is the narration. I suggest listening at x1.25 speed because, even then, Todd's "voice" is so slow and halting that one thinks that he has intellectual delays when he doesn't. What merits the 4-star narration is that Pinchot does a truly, truly remarkable job with bringing every single character to life, with their own identities, their own wants, their needs and dislikes. The man rocks.
There are a few twists, and a turn at the end that make this a worthwhile listen... very much so!
I just wouldn't spend an entire credit on it...
Reader and Writer from Colorado Springs carefully disguised as a financial advisor all these years. Who knows what lies below a snowy rooftop?
Sensitive and delicately written, beautifully performed
A window into the autistic mind. Humanizing.
Also exciting, with a tense plot point that unfolds in the middle of the book.
You got to love Todd, The 50 something hero of the book, who has been institutionalized for his disorder since he was 10 years old. Surrounded by people, good and bad, he wanders through life almost silently with a rich interior dialogue that reveals a perceiving intellectual mind beneath the complex brain disorder that has been so misunderstood throughout his life.
Great read. Don't miss it!
Bronson Pinchot reads this book as if he were Todd... and everyone else as well. I am going to look for more books he has read.
I do not know where Eli Gottlieb gets his information but reading this book, as a "normal" person (or at least, mostly so) this seems like a look into the world of Todd, an adult man who is high functioning but on the autism spectrum. His use of language seems totally authentic. He is a sympathetic character- very likable.
I am overwhelmed at how I feel after reading (listening to) this book. I could relate to the way the author and narrator "saw their thoughts" - I followed right through the descriptions and felt the same way "as the journey took me there".
I guess that since my "read" before this, was Ekhart Tolle and a passage is mentioned (in that read) regarding differentiating between conscienceness and ego, stating (something like) "I am the one who sees my thoughts" as being that of conscienceness" - my mindset was ripe and ready for the effect that this book had on me.
Coming onto my retirement immediately (June 2016) - I was aware of my very first volunteer "urge" - wanting to have an autistic friend - thinking that I might be able to relate on some level. Which reminds me of another quote from that book (quoting 14th century poet Hafez) "I am a hole in a flute that Christ's breath moves through - listen to this music."
After listening to this in Audible, I cannot imagine that it would have been quite the same if I had read the book in my "alone head" without the diction and expressiveness of Bronson Pinchot. I almost feel that I know both Bronson and Eli. Wonderful gifts.
Retired CFO, Army wife, Mom of five, Grandma of six, two sons who served in combat, love to read books that reflect my values and faith, love mysteries, historical, military stories, and books that don't waste my time . . . if it doesn't have an ending that was worth the wait, I'm not a happy camper.
As the mother of a grown daughter with autism, this story caught and held my attention throughout . . . in a world that is cruel and hateful, full of individuals that deem themselves higher than others, this tale of Todd, one boy, so different than the rest, yet with a unique beauty and innocence that few ever chose to recognize, reveals so much of what is wrong with our society today . . . and maybe always has been . . . of great interest to me was Todd's relationship with Raykene, his one on one staff member, who was always supportive and able to calm him . . . also how Todd knew immediately that "Mike the Apron" was to be feared . . . it is uncanny how the instincts of people with autism are heightened . . . and just how "on target" they are . . . and parents who truly love their special kids learn their "triggers", what calms them, and to trust what their child is telling them through their actions and facial expressions . . . and they learn the purest form of love ever . . . and a trust that knows no bounds . . . my favorite part of the story is when Todd finally gets to visit his childhood home . . . this book is a treasure . . . enjoy it . . . and if you've never had the experience of loving and being loved by a person with autism or special needs, you are missing out . . . the world does NOT revolve around you . . . it is so much bigger than that . . .
Well written books fiction books are hard to find. So many are written with an uninformed or ignorant view. It is nice to see that this book shows hope for Todd who has learned to successfully live his life in his group home. He was also able to function relativally well in the outside world. This can be real life for so many. A real book of hope, even though it is fiction.
I was so touched when Todd found "His Momma" under the stairs in his old house. He now had her with him always. Stuff of tears.
Excellent with Todd, but not sure with his brother. I think he needed more emotion to reflect the tension of his true emotion he was trying to hide.
I think the name was perfect.
Be willing to take a chance on books like this, you just might find a gem.
i enjoyed every moment, tho i did listen at 1.4 speed.
so many beautiful turns of phrase as i found our complex thinking reduced to the simplest interpretations of everyday things. and i learned a lot about how autism affects that interpretation, and how difficult it is for both sides of a relationship. very real and endearing.
It was a snapshot of the life of someone that lives with Autism. I would have liked some of the family explored a bit more.
I would have liked to know more about how the main character viewed his family.
Easy to follow each character.
I have a sister with Special Needs and any story about this topic tugs at my heart strings. This story is amazing. The narrator drew me in so much that the characters seemed very real and not just part of a story. It also gave me insight into this particular diagnosis.
Great "listen". Will wait a few months and listen again.
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