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.
Michael Blastland has written a beautiful and deeply thoughtful book about his 10-year-old son Joe.
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.
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.
If you read just one book about an autistic child this year, you would do well to make it this one.
His honesty is in keeping with a compelling, brave and highly readable book that never verges on the sentimental.