There's a Problem With Dad by Carlos Alba
|There's a Problem With Dad by Carlos Alba|
|Category: General Fiction|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: A brilliant look at the problems suffered by people on the autistic spectrum - and those around them. Highly recommended.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 312||Date: May 2021|
|Publisher: Ringwood Publishing|
|External links: Author's website|
Life is different for George Lovelace and he can't really understand why. He's always done everything he ought to: steady worker, husband and father - and a father who was always there for school plays and sports days. So why is he never quite in tune with those around him? Why does he upset people? Why is someone with such a good mind unable to progress at work or to relate to his colleagues? Why does he make so many breath-taking gaffes? It's almost become a cliche these days to suggest that someone who is a little different is 'on the spectrum', but George Lovelace has all the symptoms of Asperger's Syndrome: high-functioning autism.
When we first hear of him, his son, Melvyn, is telling his sister, Roz, that there's a problem with their father. He's being interviewed by the police about a possible sexual assault on a seventeen-year-old girl. George denies it: he danced with the girl at Melvyn's firm's annual do but it went no further than that. You might wonder if there's been some misunderstanding but then your mind slips back to the day of his wife's funeral when he asked another woman out on a date outside the church. Hmmm.
Whatever happened, George cannot ignore the process, although he can't see why not. After all, he knows that he's innocent, so why should he need to go any further? Then an earlier sexual offence emerges: his bluntness with a colleague leads to him being convicted and losing his job. So far as George was concerned, all he'd done was tell the truth but when you're different, how do you prove that you're innocent?
Carlos Alba has the Asperger's sufferer to perfection and neatly picks up on how the traits emerge in following generations. Roz - journalist Rosalind Boucher - lives in London, in a flat which looks as though she's just moved in. It's not a 'work in progress', though - it's just the way she lives. The more you see of Melvyn, the more you will think that he, too, has Asperger's. All are undiagnosed but I'm not certain how this would help as there's no treatment. The characters are all superbly drawn and stay in the mind long after you've finished reading.
It's a brilliant plot too: with a neat twist that I didn't see coming, despite all the clues being there. It was a great read, which I finished all too quickly and I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
I first encountered Alba's wring when Kane's Ladder landed on my desk. It's another great read but There's a Problem With Dad is his best book yet.
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