Joe: The Only Boy in the World

Joe: The Only Boy in the World


By (author) Michael Blastland

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  • Publisher: Profile Books Ltd
  • Format: Paperback | 256 pages
  • Dimensions: 132mm x 199mm x 17mm | 182g
  • Publication date: 11 January 2007
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 1861979444
  • ISBN 13: 9781861979445
  • Sales rank: 1,123,131

Product description

An exceptionally haunting memoir that also shows us what it is to be really human. In a hardware store, Joe sits on a display toilet amidst the throng of customers and wees, smiling serenely. He thumps crying babies. He is amazed when the car he runs in front of actually hits him. Joe is ten and mentally disabled. He's funny, fascinating and maddening, and this memoir tells his moving story, but also argues that until we know Joe's life, we can't understand our own. Through philosophy, psychology and medical research, the author explains how we are mind-readers, how we make sense of other people and how we understand guilt and innocence, and shows that Joe sets our humanity in sharp relief. But in that case, is Joe part of it? The author who asks that outrageous question is Joe's father.

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Author information

Michael Blastland makes current affairs programmes for Radio 4, including Analysis and More or Less. He lives in Hertfordshire, often with his daughter Cait, and less often and less quietly with his son Joe.

Review quote

"No less than a voyage into the deep places of the human spirit and a vision of what lies beneath conventional notions of sanity and aberration" Ruth Rendell "Blastland has performed a remarkable service in baring his family life for us" Simon Baron-Cohen (author of The Essential Difference), Guardian "An uncompromising philosophical inquiry...stands out as a work of rare enlightenment" Sunday Telegraph "Vividly engaging. If you want to know what classic autism is like, close-up and personal then read this book" Uta Frith, PhD, University College London and author of Autism: Explaining the Enigma "Compelling. Read it. Enjoy it. Learn from it. It will haunt you." Bernard Rimland, PhD, consultant for Rain Man"