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Imprint: Profile Books
Pages: 224
Subject: Biography & Memoir


The Only Boy in the World

Michael Blastland

Paperback(Out of stock)
9781861979445 (11 Jan 2007)

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.


Michael Blastland has written a beautiful and deeply thoughtful book about his 10-year-old son Joe.

- Simon Baron-Cohen, The Lancet

Joe is a book that deserves to be read. It will speak loudly not just to those interested in autism, but to anyone who is fascinated by the full range of what it means to be human.

- Tim Hall, Catholic Herald

From this careful, serious book emerges a man with a quick wit and far-seeing eye for what makes life so peculiar... Joe...stands out as a work of rare enlightenment.

- Melissa Katsoulis, Seven

If you read just one book about an autistic child this year, you would do well to make it this one.

- David Newnham, Times Educational Supplement

His honesty is in keeping with a compelling, brave and highly readable book that never verges on the sentimental.

- Julie Wheelwright, Independent

Additional Information

Imprint: Profile Books
Pages: 224
Subject: Biography & Memoir