Best Boy

  • by Eli Gottlieb
  • Narrated by Bronson Pinchot
  • 7 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

For fans of TheCurious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime comes this landmark novel about autism, memory, and, ultimately, redemption.
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.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

A Sad, Gritty Reality of Adult Autism

This is a well-written, well-narrated book that shows us the sad, unfortunate reality of a life lived on the Autism spectrum. It is a somewhat uneventful study of a man in his 50's who has been in residential care since the age of 11. He has continued to mourn his reality and wants desperately to back to where he grew up. His only contact with the outer world is his younger brother who visits him regularly but infrequently.

I am not new to autism/fiction, having read a bunch of other books that I really enjoyed. There was something missing for me in this story, however, and I am reluctant and embarrassed to admit it just may be the utter reality and truth of this story. It was a bit depressing with not much of a reward for me all the way through to the end and with almost no humor along the way. Real life--there you have it.

As this book IS fiction, I am wanting a bit more than the day to day sadness of life in lived in residential care. However, if you have a loved one in such a facility or with such a mental condition, this book will be quite an eye opener for you and could be a very memorable read.

If you loved this book and are looking for more, or if you wished it could have been a little more lighthearted, I have a few other books by different authors to recommend. I really loved 600 Hours of Edward and its sequel, also The Eagle Tree, and then, Marcelo In The Real World (a bit more YA-oriented but still enjoyable.) Three different authors, three different takes on the subject. All of these books dealt with Aspergers/Autistic spectrum young men who had more positive experiences in overcoming some of their longstanding problems. I found these characters more endearing, more fun. (Probably not as realistic as Todd Aaron in Best Boy and all not in residential care, like Todd.)

This is definitely worth reading if the subject interests you. Go for it!
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- Kathy

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...
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- Gillian

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-24-2015
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.