Review: The Real Boy by Anne Ursu

The Real Boy - Erin Mcguire, Anne Ursu

The Real Boy by Anne Ursu has been well publicized by the middle-grade and YA book blogging community and I am glad that I took their recommendation to read this book.

While Ms. Ursu never comes out and says it, if you look carefully Oscar has many attributes common to youngsters with Autism such as a love of routine, tapping his feet/humming/stimming, losing his words in times of extreme stress, needing to be taught social scripts, and an extraordinary visual memory. The power of this book is that these items are not artificially stressed or brought to our attention, but rather they are just woven through the descriptions rather like clues for those who are looking. It is subtle enough that if I wasn't sensitized by raising 2 young men with Aspergers, I might have missed it. The strength of this sweet story is that Oscar is a real 3-dimensional hero with a story to live. In the end The Real Boy rightfully focuses on Oscar's abilities (rather than any disability) and his unique way of looking at the world saves the day.


I also want to give a shout-out to Erin McGuire's magical pen and ink illustrations.  Erin shared part of the process of creating the cove for the Real Boy on The Nerdy Book Club 
I just read the first few pages to my 4th grader and I hope that I hooked him into sharing Oscar's life as well.  He hasn't shown any interest in the "issue" books about autistic youngsters, but loves fantasy.  I hope he enjoys the well crafted story about a boy that is just a little like him.