This book mostly appealed to me because I have a brother with Asperger’s syndrome. I have read The Curious Case of the Dog in the Nightime and House Rules by Jodi Picoult. Both these books affected me deeply and educated me on my brother’s condition. I was keen to see if this book did the same.
When I requested this book for review I didn’t realise it was the second in a series although it was very easy to grasp the storyline immediately and I don’t think I necessarily needed to have read the first.
The storyline is summed up pretty much in the first chapter. A human called George is trying to kidnap the two sons of the love of his life who married his ex-friend. We (the readers) are immediately filled in on the situation which is going on with the aliens who want to use the DNA of the two Asperger’s brothers to gain entry to earth and destroy it. It’s very fast past and action filled from the beginning with perhaps a slight leaning toward an immature writing style. For me there also seems to be a little too much emphasis put on the condition for example the way that everytime one of the brothers speaks ‘avoiding eye contact’ is tagged onto the end.
There seems to be a lot of immediate introduction without much explanation for a lot of things such as the ‘unique powers’. Maybe that’s due to me not reading the first book. There’s a lot of time that gets zipped away as well, they drive for four hours with nothing happening, they switch on the radio and after a couple of hours decide to get back on the road. I feel those parts could be filled with something more engaging for the reader. at times it felt almost like a paint by numbers of understanding Asperger’s syndrome ‘he knew how difficult it was for her to emotionally connect with someone and bring them into her comfort zone’. This just didn’t feel right for me. Although it’s correct information it again feels a little immature as if it’s forcing the reader to feel and see what the narrator wants rather than showing us in a different way.
So overall what did I think to the book?
In some ways I found it disappointing, it didn’t do for me what the other two did. It was quite monotonous and one dimensional with the characters doing this, then doing this, then doing that and then doing this. I couldn’t no matter how hard I tried connect with the characters or the story. Maybe I should have read the first book beforehand but according to most reviewers who loved the book this wasn’t necessary. Maybe it was written this way intentionally as a lot of People with Asperger’s do enjoy monotony and routine so that could explain the structure and it might just be me not connecting with it.
I did like the general idea of people with Asperger’s having superpowers and being portrayed as heroes rather than just people with a ‘condition’. However I don’t think this book was for me. As far as I can see from other reviews it’s a bit of a marmite book you either love it or hate it and unfortunately for me it was the latter.