Matthew Pickering has always known that he is different. Loud noises never seem to pierce other people’s ears the way they do his, or bright lights burn their eyes as intensely as they do his own. Other people are not stared at in the same way as him, or mistreated to quite the same extent, simply for being themselves. Although the word ‘autistic’ may mean very little to four-year-old Matthew, it is set to take on great meaning for him throughout his teenage years, and into his adult life.
Facing judgement and discrimination from society is an everyday occurrence for Matthew, but when those whom he loves the most seemingly turn against him too, his life begins to take a dramatic downwards spiral.
With a whirlwind of emotions he doesn’t even understand controlling his unusual and violent behaviours can anything, or anyone, save Matthew from himself?
Publisher: Kindle Direct 2012
Reviewer: Lindsey Philipson
“Those who cannot see” is a novel about a young boy, Matthew Pickering who is diagnosed as autistic. Although fictional in content, the author has drawn from her own experience of having an autistic sibling which gives a wonderful dynamic to the story.
The focus of the book centres on Matthew’s life and that of his family, as they cope through the years with Matthew’s autism. Throughout his life, Matthew is subjected to varying degrees of ignorance from “those who cannot see” and the book shows how his autism affects not just him but also the impact it has on his family’s dynamic. Matthew’s family are initially divided over his condition; his mother and sister are incredibly protective of him whereas his father struggles to cope, thinking he is acting like a spoilt brat and his mother is too soft on him. Matthew also encounters a lot of bullying from various people during his life too; from his peers at school and later on in his adult life. The author uses these themes of prejudice and ignorance to highlight the unawareness which people have of autism but to a positive effect; as each time Matthew overcomes them in his own unique way. But whilst there are a lot of sad moments in the book, there are also times when Matthew’s literal approach to life makes for laughter and when he falls in love, it is just so heart-warming.
What a beautifully crafted book. I loved how the author uses her narrative to reflect the different character’s in the novel, particularly so with Matthew; here her prose is detailed and very literal; you can imagine how Matthew would speak and interpret the world around him. Additionally, I loved how she also employs the use of a chronological time frame to her plot and utilizes this to veer from the past to the present, to give more depth to the story.
I really loved this novel; it was by turns funny and sad, but has a real message of hope and positivity. The characters were wonderful and the story flowed throughout. I would heartily recommend this book.