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Imprint: Profile Books
Subject: Biography & Memoir


The Only Boy in the World

Michael Blastland

eBook (ePUB/MOBI)?
9781847654007 (26 May 2011)

About the book

An exceptionally haunting memoir that also shows us what it is to be really human. In a hardware store, Joe sits on a display toilet amidst the throng of customers and wees, smiling serenely. He thumps crying babies. He is amazed when the car he runs in front of actually hits him. Joe is ten and mentally disabled. He's funny, fascinating and maddening, and this memoir tells his moving story, but also argues that until we know Joe's life, we can't understand our own. Through philosophy, psychology and medical research, the author explains how we are mind-readers, how we make sense of other people and how we understand guilt and innocence, and shows that Joe sets our humanity in sharp relief. But in that case, is Joe part of it? The author who asks that outrageous question is Joe's father.

About the author

Michael Blastland was born in Glasgow. A journalist all his professional life, he started on weekly newspapers before moving to the BBC where he makes current affairs programmes for Radio 4, such as Analysis, More or Less and the historical series Why Did We Do That? He lives in Hertfordshire, often with his daughter Cait, less often and less quietly with his son Joe, when he's at home.


This is the best written, most thought-provoking book on autism I have read in years, suitable for anyone with an interest in humanity. Go out and buy it!

- Communication Magazine, Autumn 2006 issue

It's certainly my book of the month

- The Bookseller

A far superior piece of non-fiction, both poignant and amusing, and instructive without ever becoming preachy

- Scotland on Sunday

Blastland is likeably honest

- Julie Myerson, Daily Telegraph (Books)

A moving story... Blastland has performed a remarkable service in baring his family life for us.

- Simon Baron-Cohen, Guardian (Review)

Additional Information

Imprint: Profile Books
Subject: Biography & Memoir