The boy who ate stars ISBN: 9781405211291
Published by Egmont, 2004
A most unusual short novel with powerful messages. 12 year old Lucy and her parents have just moved into a flat in Paris, and outgoing Lucy has decided she wants to get to know all the neighbours. An unexpected encounter on the 5th floor introduces Lucy to Marie, her seriously autistic son Matthew, and Maougo, the Russian woman who lives with them and looks after Matthew. 'Looking after' is hardly the right term, though. Matthew and Maougo have an intense internal relationship that helps her handle his sudden spells. Lucy learns much about autism through Marie, as do we, and she becomes fascinated with Matthew. A small, highly pampered dog comes into the story too, and Lucy's liberation of him into a 'real' dog parallels her and her friend Theo's growing friendship with Matthew. Music and rhythm are important to Matthew, and when the little dog must be rescued because he has taken his new-found freedom too seriously, it is Matthew with his special drum who finds the way. The style is poetic, flowing, and we come to know Matthew as well as anyone will ever do. Lucy announces she wants to teach autistic children when she grows up, and we believe she will do it well.