Like No Other Boy by Larry Center
“A touching, tender fantasy”
“Tender and Powerful and Loving”
“For many years I have been an avid nonfiction reader. Not noticing that the book was a novel, I devoured it in two settings. Mr. Center is indeed an author I will follow. Excellent.”
Like No Other Boy is a story for the ages – it follows 8 year old, Tommy, who lives with autism, and his father, Chris. Together, the father and son duo struggle to find a means through which they are able to communicate freely, without any barriers that threaten to interfere. Chris, unravelling from the aftermath of his divorce is threatened with distance between him and his son, as his ex-wife wants to take him cross-country. The divorce, in itself, is an issue for the family, as Tommy relies on the care of both of his parents collectively. To be faced with a new reality where he has to live without one of his parents could result in a greater issue.
The communication between Chris and Tommy is a major contender in this book, as it follows the father and son struggle to give each other what they need. Like No Other Boy as a title, itself, is indicative of how Tommy is indeed, like no other boy, in that we discover his fascination with chimpanzees at a visit to his local zoo with his father, and upon further unravelling, we see that Tommy may even be able to communicate with the chimpanzees.
The comfort and ease that Tommy feels around these animals is heartwarming. Center finds a way to incorporate the love and comfort that animals bring to our lives through his words, additionally bringing the emotion of each moment to life.
As readers, we witness the father and son navigate through life and we celebrate each barrier that is crossed and each battle that is lost. There are moments of happiness and sadness in equal measure, and Center does not disappoint in bringing his words to life and giving the audience a peak into the pressures of parenthood or the struggle of living with a mental illness. This book truly embarks the readers on a journey with the characters as we feel and experience each emotion with them, side by side.
About the Author:
Larry Center has a degree in philosophy and actively seeks to look at the world through a view that may not have been explored yet. He is interested in the way children use language and communicate, as well as animals, and believes that there is a possibility in there being a way for the two to connect. Such can be seen in his book, as he creates a world where animals find a mode of communication through humans in a powerful and expressive way.