Imagine that it’s 835am and there’s no breakfast on the table. (You always have breakfast at 830am).
Imagine that you love creating a perfectly straight line of perfectly round, white rocks.
Imagine that you love to count how many tiles there are on the kitchen floor.
Imagine that you cannot speak.
Imagine that you are autistic.
For Love Anthony is, fittingly, about not only a boy with autism (or an autistic boy, depending on your perspective), but also the myriad ways in which humans, autistic or not, may just be a little bit ‘different’.
The novel begins, after a crucial first and final meeting between Anthony and Beth, with the same Beth Ellis, a housewife on Nantucket, making a life-changing discovery. The discovery is simultaneously agonising and liberating, and leads to her rediscovering her love of writing.
Meanwhile, Olivia, recovering from not only her son’s death, but also her failed marriage, has a similar path to self-discovery to make. Initially, much of our knowledge of her is gained through flashbacks to her past. However, the more the novel progresses and the more she gets closer to reaching some sort of ‘closure’, the more we see her engaging with a new passion: photography. It is through this new passion that the worlds of Olivia and Beth collide, and the result is both spookier and sadder than you could ever imagine.
I cried my eyes out at the end of Love Anthony. If you have half a heart, you will too. Especially if you have a small boy tucked up in the next bedroom.
Many thanks to @bookminxsjv at Simon & Schuster for the review copy.