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Best Boy

by Eli Gottlieb

Best Boy by Eli Gottlieb X
Best Boy by Eli Gottlieb
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  • First Published:
    Aug 2015, 256 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2016, 256 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Bradley Sides
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Diane S.

Best Boy
As soon as you start reading you enter the mind and thoughts of fifty something Todd Aaron, an autistic man who has lived at the Payton Living Center for a good portion of his life. The wonderful and sometimes strange ways he looks at things and people. One cannot help but take this character to heart. He is trusted at the Center being the oldest resident there, and is usually quite content with things with a few exceptions. His new room=mate at the cottage who tries repeatedly to give Todd, what he calls the volts. Also the new employee of the center who he calls, "Mike the Apron" who reminds him of his abusive father and who he finds frightening. He has a wonderful caretaker called Raykene, and though employees and residents come and go, she has been with him for quite a while. A new love interest for Todd as well, and all these things together spiral out of control until Todd takes to the road.

This novel is sometimes sad, as when Todd remembers his mother, now dead, who circled him with love and created a feeling within him to which he wants to return. His relationship with his brother is difficult, he doesn't understand Todd and Todd doesn't understand him. So we also get a firsthand view of the prob;ems in a family where one is different. A novel of memories, how we cherish them, how they still have the power to heal or hurt.

A very good story, of course I don't know how realistic the portrayal of this autistic man is, not having had any personal knowledge of autism or what it entails. I did however, read in an author interview that indeed Gottlieb does, having a brother with autism who has been living in an institutionalized setting since the age of eleven. Another character I will not forget.
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