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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.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Gillian on 04-27-16
Good but with a Couple O' Caveats...
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...
50 of 58 people found this review helpful
By Verl on 10-26-15
The most moving book I've listen to in years
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!
36 of 43 people found this review helpful