Review: ‘The Boy Who Fell to Earth’ by Kathy Lette

A book full of banter, heartache and happiness, ‘The Boy Who Fell to Earth’ is a heartwarming read for all.
Although a little simplistic in style, the underlying issues of this book benefit from this simplicity: life isn’t shown as a trial full of misery, but a technique to be mastered, even when we feel like giving up. In fact, the subject of autism and the challenges raising an autistic child brings, shines in this witty writing style, as Merlin becomes integrated within so many lives, instead of being entirely singled out, showing that special needs do not need to be isolated from society to be understood.
The one niggle I have over this book is Lucy’s determination that a man will cure her Merlin-woes. As much as Archie (a standard loveable rogue) does benefit Lucy’s family, it seemed a little shallow of Lucy to pursue a relationship for this reason alone, which doesn’t fit with the portrait of a survivor we are presented with. Having said that, Lucy is a wonderful character: she represents every woman out there who, instead of falling down into a fit of reverie, picks themselves up and gets on with life, knowing that she has to maintain momentum otherwise she’ll stop entirely.
Some of the storylines did seem a little forced into place (Phoebe’s revelation as to her foul temper being one of these), but the Jeremy portion is incredibly satisfying to read! Because this is a book built on banter, the characters can come across as quite similar to one another – it’s hard to distinguish who’s talking at times!
The final credit to this book is Merlin: although he does sometimes get pushed away from the forefront of events, he remains consistent, demonstrating the true nature of autistic children, rather than a Veronica-esque notion that their impulses can be ‘changed’. This was refreshing to see: Merlin was shown as his own character, and not who others wanted him to be.
Overall, this is an enjoyable and easy read, and definitely worth delving into.

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