My Son's Not Rainman: One Man, One Autistic Boy, A Million Adventures by John Williams
|My Son's Not Rainman: One Man, One Autistic Boy, A Million Adventures by John Williams|
|Reviewer: Louise Jones|
|Summary: A doting dad writes about his experiences parenting an autistic son in this touching story.|
|Buy? maybe||Borrow? maybe|
|Pages: 256||Date: September 2016|
|Publisher: Michael O Mara|
|External links: Author's website|
In 2012, stand-up comedian John Williams was encouraged by his work colleagues to write a show charting his experiences as the parent of an autistic boy. After registering the domain name: My Son's Not Rainman, he also decided to write a blog to share his funny anecdotes and experiences. After a shaky start (I had a handful of followers. Three of them were my brothers), the blog eventually went viral as it increased in popularity with parents who felt a connection with John and 'The Boy'. This book fills in some of the gaps in the story, starting with 'The Boy's' early childhood and ending, appropriately, on his thirteenth birthday, when he suddenly became 'The Teen'.
The story is an emotional one, but the primary emotion, rather than being a negative one, is love. John's love for his son is overwhelming and all-encompassing. His son is his world. The pages pour forth with expressions of absolute adoration for this child and the message is strong and positive. The author is always focusing on things that can be done, rather than those that can't. Some of the most touching scenes in the book are the ones where John goes the extra mile to keep his son happy, whether this is making magical coins appear from a tree in the park, or inventing imaginative games like 'Park Keeper' and 'The Ride of Your Life'.
Although the blurb on the back cover promises ...warmth care and passion, not to mention laugh-out-loud humour on every page the book also visits some quite dark places. I think this is important to mention, because the blog itself is very humorous and John is a comedian, therefore readers may expect the tone of the book to be lighthearted comedy. Quite early on in his son's life, John had a serious mental breakdown that resulted in him spending the two years in different hospitals. He also talks about the breakup of his relationship with his son's mum. The subjects are dealt with sensitively and appropriately, and I found it interesting, but I would have liked the blurb on the book to have been less misleading.
That's not to say that there aren't plenty of funny moments in the book. The chapter about dismantling the sofa made me chuckle, but my absolute favourite has to be the Christmas scene where John, dressed as Santa, decides to bring his son to work with him, dressed as an elf. The resulting scenario is absolute comedy gold and I keep reading it out loud to people, trying to hold my laughter as I read.
There's an interesting quote at the end of the book, where John is asking people for their opinion of his show. They reply that maybe it needed more jokes, some sections sounded cruel and others overly schmaltzy. This perfectly summed up my opinion of the book too. I would have loved more humour, because the funny parts of the book were VERY funny, but too few and far between. I felt sad when I read that John wasn't interested in attending autism support groups because he didn't want to chat to other people about their children, I wanted it to be all about mine. I think that readers, especially autism parents, may feel alienated by statements like that. However, I did, on the whole enjoy reading the book and thank the publishers for my review copy.
Those with an interest in autism may also enjoy Toby and Sox: The Heartwarming Tale of a Little Boy With Autism and a Dog in a Million by Vikki Turner.
You can read more book reviews or buy My Son's Not Rainman: One Man, One Autistic Boy, A Million Adventures by John Williams at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy My Son's Not Rainman: One Man, One Autistic Boy, A Million Adventures by John Williams at Amazon.com.
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