É Read ↠´ The Boy Who Fell To Earth by Kathy Lette í The Boy Who Fell To Earth is the thirteenth novel by Australian author, Kathy Lette Lucy s marriage to Jeremy is perfect he s rich, intelligent and attractive she s witty, funny and attractive But when their son Merlin is diagnosed, at the age of three years, as autistic, Jeremy runs off with his lover, a buxom TV chef, and the divorce is poisonous Lucy is left, financially disadvantaged, to raise her special needs boy with minimal support.
This may all sound very depressing, except that Lette has such a clever turn of phrase that the book is filled with humour, much of it, of course, black As Lucy describes her frustration in dealings with the bureaucracy of the social service world and the education system, as well as single parenthood of a special needs child, she elicits many laughs and the odd lump in the throat Merlin is definitely the star of this book of the boy and less of his mother s sex life or bemoaning the lack thereof would have gained this tale a higher rating A funny and very witty read.
When I first heard about this book, I had high hopes for it, as I have a daughter with high functioning Asperger s Though admittedly Kathy Lette s novels have never really interested me much not my sort of reading choice I wish I had followed my first impression of her work rather than give this a chance, unfortunately.
The story follows Lucy, the single mother of Asperboy Merlin It traces their abandonment by Merlin s natural father and Lucy s exploits, or should I say sexploits in her attempts to get back into the dating game, spurred on crudely by her globe trotting widowed mother and her sister The aim is no doubt to show the trials of raising a child on the autistic spectrum, and the particular difficulties of being a single parent, and Lette uses humour to keep the subject matter getting a little too deep and depressing.
However, this is part of the weakness of this book I like humour but Lette writes this as if she s composing a stand up routine There are similes, metaphors, wisecracks and sarcasm thrown into every paragraph, to the point that it stops the reader being able to identify or sympathise with Lucy and Merlin This is a shame because I think a subject matter like this does require some gravity or pathos and not just cheap attempts at humour I increasingly disliked everyone in this entire novel except poor Merlin Anyone would have lost the plot living with them.
Additionally, if Lucy is meant to be portrayed as a sympathetic character, Lette has failed miserably She talks constantly of how much she loves her son but doesn t properly inform her army of lovers of his difficulties and when he puts his foot in it and talks inappropriately she just feels embarrassed rather than protecting him I have a child who at times blurts out things that are best left unsaid and try to gently steer her away from a topic of conversation if it is inappropriate What we see with Lucy is her just sitting there and indulging her own embarrassment rather than shielding her son How on earth people can accuse her of being overprotective of her son is beyond me.
I am sure a lot of people will like this book, particularly fans of Lette s, but as a sympathetic portrayal of living with autism it just doesn t cut the mustard, which is surprising as Lette s son has Asperger s Perhaps the subject matter was too close to heart for her to write with any sincerity and meaning.
As a mom of an 8 year old boy on the autistic spectrum, I could really relate to Lucy s constant anxiety about her son and how the rest of her life takes a back seat to being there for him It also gave me insight as to what I am in for during his teenage years Coincidentally, I am also an English teacher, like Lucy, so I related even Some readers said they felt she focused too much on how Merlin s condition affected her life but if you have never been there you cannot fathom how it really does take over your whole life However, in the end you would never change a thing about your wonderful, quirky, special alien child One thing I found annoying was how easily she accepted Jeremy back into her life, because one thing I have learned is that if my boy isn t acceptable to you, you can get knotted and never come back This really was a light hearted, yet heart breaking read for me and I will recommend it to many because it is a wonderful way to educate people and create the much needed awareness around autism Another book I recommend for these reasons is House Rules by Jodi Piccoult.
Very disappointed, unfortunately and I don t say that too often, do I The focus of the book settled on the mother s struggle, rather than the son s condition the son was diagnosed with Asperger s Of course I understood her problems, but she lacked my sympathy She was incapable of responding to others normally, every aside and response was ironic and sarcastic albeit sometimes amusing Her snark was exaggerated The education authority s inability to pick up the boy s condition was remarkable considering he displayed obvious signs This meant the poor boy was submitted to a main stream education for twelve years which must have been a nightmare of failures and bullying, despite his obvious intelligence are teachers so blind The mother also subjected him to situations which he obviously wasn t equipped to cope with, with devastating results I d rather have read a book about the boy s development, his successes rather than anecdotes about his behaviour This book in no way gives encouragement to parents of children with Asperger s.
Didn t actually finish it Even though we were reading it for book club Hated the style Couldn t get passed the many awkward similes in the first chapter It irked and irritated me too much Just not my thing.
There s a line somewhere in the fourth chapter that sums up this authors writing style perfectly words streamed out of him like traffic, a collision of stories and tangential, lateral lunacy I hated this book The author writes like she s hypermanic Each and every paragraph is jammed full of so many glib one liners, analogies and metaphors that it begins to lose all meaning There were moments that I had to stop and ask myself what the fuck she was even talking about The main character is so bitter and sarcastic it s beyond a joke It s honestly no wonder her husband left her I found myself rolling my eyes at her twisted version of events and the onslaught of one liners that seemed to fall flat often than not was just pitiful I stopped reading it There just aren t enough reading hours in ones lifetime to waste on this shite.
Meet Merlin He S Lucy S Bright, Beautiful Son Who Just Happens To Be AutisticSince Merlin S Father Left Them In The Lurch Shortly After His Diagnosis, Lucy Has Made Merlin The Centre Of Her World Struggling With The Joys And Tribulations Of Raising Her Eccentrically Adorable Yet Challenging Child, If Only Merlin Came With Operating Instructions Lucy Doesn T Have Room For Any Other Man In Her LifeBy The Time Merlin Turns Ten, Lucy Is Seriously Worried That The Pope Might Start Ringing Her Up For Tips On Celibacy, So Resolves To Dip A Poorly Pedicured Toe Back Into The World Of Dating Thanks To Merlin S Candour And Quirkiness, Things Don T Go Quite To Plan Then, Just When Lucy S Resigned To A Life Of Singledom Once , Archie The Most Imperfectly Perfect Man For Her And Her Son Lands On Her Doorstep But Then, So Does Merlin S Father, Begging For Forgiveness And A Second Chance Does Lucy Need A Real Father For Merlin Or A Real Partner For Herself My Thoughts I could write reams on why I enjoyed this book and there is so much that the blurb doesn t tell you about the highs and lows of life with an autistic child as Lucy tries to raise her child and stay sane and author Lucy Lette should know as her 21 year old son, Julius, was diagnoses as having Asperger s high functioning autism when he was a toddler In an interview Kathy said there is a lot of Julius in Merlin but the book is fiction and not a memoir In amongst the hilarious one liners and slap stick skits are poignant statements such as Mothering a child on the autism spectrum is as easy as skewering banana custard to a mid air boomerang said in jest but striking deep in the heart There is also a standout scene that highlights the dangers these trusting children can get into as Merlin is waylaid by a paedophile in a nearby park brought up to be polite and not ask questions he is ill equipped to understand what was going on Lucy battles with the education department to try and get her son into a special school only to be told time and time again that her son was just naughty Lucy also has to field questions from the literal mind of her son such as if there is a happy hour in a bar is there a sad hour There were also some very hairy questions, usually at the most inappropriate times like telling his grand mother that he had heard she had two faces so why she was wearing the face she had on today I loved this book I loved the humour, I loved the message The Boy Who Fell To Earth goes a long way to understanding what the parents and carers must be going through and to help and encourage them rather than talk about them behind their backs.
There is no question in my mind that Puberty Blues by Kathy Lette is an important piece of modern Australian literature And I did laugh out loud when I read Foetal Attraction and Mad Cows I probably smiled during Dead Sexy and How to Kill Your Husband but I honestly can t remember After reading Lette s latest release, The Boy Who Fell to Earth, I have resolved to leave Lette out of my reading future re readings of Puberty Blues excepted You see, the problem is I ve heard the jokes before All of them.
Read my full review here I struggled between 2 and 3 stars for this book, and I m sorry to say I didn t really enjoy it though the basis of the plot was good The problem I had with it was the story centred around Lucy, Merlin s mother, and her struggles to get herself a man, her hatred of her ex husband, who deserted Merlin and Lucy when Merlin s diagnosis was announced.
and men in general, plus the continual sarcastic jokes, whatever the situation The one liners got a bit tedious after awhile I felt extremely sorry for Merlin, who was diagnosed with autism at a very young age, and then asperger s as he got older The major problems he had at school, and Lucy had getting the education system to actually acknowledge that he had a disability, instead of saying he was just acting out, and naughty , were heartbreaking I would have enjoyed of a focus on Merlin, his life and struggles, his development, successes and achievements, as he was a likeable youngster, who gave trust easily and was betrayed continually.