My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I read Kids Like Us almost entirely in one sitting during a long car journey over the Christmas period and to my surprise absolutely loved it. I had been apprehensive about whether I would enjoy this book after reading the first page and struggling to get into the writing style. However, after a few pages I was completely on board and charmed by Martin’s unique voice and way of looking at the world.
Kids Like Us follows Martin, a 16 year old boy on the autistic spectrum as he spends a summer in France with his family and experiences a mainstream school for the first time.
I don’t have much experience with people on the autistic spectrum, but from the little knowledge I do have, Martin’s voice seemed to be a very sensitive and authentic portrayal. His obsession with the French novel “In Search of Lost Time” was so cleverly interwoven within the plot of the book and I liked that we actually got to learn a lot about that text whilst reading this story.
I found the book slightly difficult to follow in places because it was written from Martin’s point of view which I felt gave me a tiny insight into how difficult it must be for some people on the autistic spectrum to follow the everyday conversations of people who are not on the spectrum. Martin’s confusion with using pronouns correctly is just one example of the issues people on the autisitic spectrum face.
The love storyline was not my favourite aspect of the story as I didn’t like Gilberte/Alice, or the other kids Martin made friends with in France but I did like how it highlighted Martin’s personal development throughout the Summer. I also really liked the gradual discovery of where Martin’s Papa was. This storyline was for me the most touching. Reading about their close relationship and then finally realising what had happened and why he was no longer around was very interesting.
I found this book really warm hearted, touching and insightful. If you loved The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, I recommend this book to you.