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Best Boy: A Novel by Eli Gottlieb

Best Boy: A Novel (original 2015; edition 2015)

by Eli Gottlieb (Author)

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2711677,497 (3.84)16
A middle-aged autistic resident of a therapeutic community where he was sent as a young child rebels against changes in his environment by attempting to return to a family home and younger sibling he only partially remembers.
Title:Best Boy: A Novel
Authors:Eli Gottlieb (Author)
Info:Liveright (2015), Edition: First Edition, First Printing, 256 pages
Collections:Your library

Work Information

Best Boy by Eli Gottlieb (2015)

  1. 00
    The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon (novelcommentary)
    novelcommentary: Similar point of view
  2. 00
    Good Kings, Bad Kings by Susan Nussbaum (akblanchard)
    akblanchard: Both books take place inside institutions for people with disabilities.

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» See also 16 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
adult fiction (autistic man with memories of abusive father). I was hoping this would be a happier story, but it feels awfully dark (like Green Mile dark). If you are looking for a happier autistic character story, I would recommend the curious incident of the dog in the nighttime or (the much more cheery) the Rosie Project.
  reader1009 | Jul 3, 2021 |
Fifty-year-old Todd Aaron resides at the Payton Living Center where he is considered to be the "Old Fox". He is autistic and has been at the center for many, many years. Todd is a pleasant hard-working member of the center who tries to follow the rules and stays out of trouble. But that all changes when a new female admission encourages him to stop taking his medications and, when additionally, a new staff member creates trouble and puts Todd under pressure to cover for him. Todd just wants to go back to his childhood home and so he attempts to escape the center.

The narrator of this audio version of Best Boy created an excellent voice for Todd who was telling his story and the reading certainly brought life to the author's words and to Todd's autistic personality. ( )
  Rdglady | Nov 20, 2018 |
Todd Aaron, a man in his 40s, has spent so much time in an institution (Peyton Living Center) that he is known as one of their "ambassadors," assigned to give tours to incoming patients. It's never exactly stated what Todd's problem is, but clearly he is on the autism spectrum. His voice (as narrated by Bronson Pinchot) is flat, except when he is overly anxious or afraid; he doesn't like to be touched; he has some odd habits and practices repetitive gestures. Things happen to and around Todd, but he doesn't react as most people would; he has little sense of appropriate v. inappropriate and is often taken advantage of This is his story, narrated by Todd from the perspective of the world as he sees it. He takes us back to memories of the father who brutalized him, the mother who loved him and carted him off to a series of doctors and institutions, the brother who was cruel to him. We see what it's like for Todd to almost fall in love with the one-eyed Martine, to long to be welcomed into his brother's home, to fear the staff member he calls Mike the Apron.

Call me jaded, but I found this novel just a bit too sweet and many of the characters stereotypical. I stuck with it to the end, but overall, it was a mediocre read/listen for me. ( )
  Cariola | Jun 16, 2017 |
Payton Living Center was the sixth place in row Momma had taken me but neither of us knew it was the one where I'd stay forever and ever."
So begins Eli Gottlieb's novel called Best Boy, narrated by a 52 year old autistic man named Todd Aaron. Life in Payton Village has been okay for Todd, who tries to live up to the pet name his mother called him and the title of the story. Todd's experience with a manipulative staff member, his attraction to another female patient and his desire to go back home and live with his brother make up the plot of the novel and provide insights into the mind of this special needs character. Much like The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, Best Boy does a nice job of describing the emotions and triggers that affect the narrator's thinking. Evidently the author has had some personal insights regarding a sibling with autism. Hopefully he was nicer than the brother presented here. ( )
  novelcommentary | Jun 6, 2017 |
Spoilery. Other than as a sensitive depiction of the life and times of an autistic man, I can’t really see the point of the book. Sure, it’s written well and reasonably entertaining, but there is no definitive struggle or clash that needs resolving. Todd suffers the ups and downs of humanity like the rest of us, albeit in some more vulnerable ways than “neurotypicals” have to deal with. There’s a sinister staff member at the group home he resides at and there’s some tension there, but it all comes to basically nothing. Ditto with Todd’s brother and the situation about the money. Todd ends up back at the home with no harm done. As a matter of fact the two thorns in his side, the aide and his roommate are gone. He has a new understanding with his sister-in-law and has tangible evidence of how much his mother loved him before she died. The letter was lovely and touching, but I had to put aside my desire for some kind of conflict or point to the book and once I did that it became easier to deal with. I think if I hadn’t listened to this narrated by the incomparable Bronson Pinchot, I might have left it a DNF. All right in its way, but really just a thinly veiled treatise on how we should accept the “neuro-different” and how really they are just like us. Except not. ( )
  Bookmarque | May 18, 2016 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Eli Gottliebprimary authorall editionscalculated
Pinchot, BronsonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Payton Living Center was the sixth place in row Momma had taken me but neither of us knew it was the one where I'd stay forever and ever.
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A middle-aged autistic resident of a therapeutic community where he was sent as a young child rebels against changes in his environment by attempting to return to a family home and younger sibling he only partially remembers.

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Average: (3.84)
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