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The Boy Who Fell To Earth

3.27  ·  Rating details ·  1,482 ratings  ·  260 reviews
Meet Merlin. He's Lucy's bright, beautiful son - who just happens to be autistic.

Since Merlin's father left them in the lurch shortly after his diagnosis, Lucy has made Merlin the centre of her world. Struggling with the joys and tribulations of raising her eccentrically adorable yet challenging child, (if only Merlin came with operating instructions) Lucy doesn't have roo
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published March 1st 2012 by Bantam Books (Transworld Publishers a division of the Random House Group) (first published January 1st 2012)
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3.27  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,482 ratings  ·  260 reviews

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Sep 20, 2012 rated it it was ok
Reading this book is like being cornered and repeatedly splattered with paint balls! The one liners are RELENTLESS. Oh for an assertive editor!
I waited patiently on a long list of library requests to read this and was bewildered and disappointed. Great subject - dealing with an autistic child but what strange execution. I have worked with Autistic young adults for a decade and they do not let out this stream of thoughts and ideas like Merlin does. They usually quietly struggle to interpret and f
The Boy Who Fell To Earth is the thirteenth novel by Australian author, Kathy Lette. Lucy’s marriage to Jeremy is perfect: he’s rich, intelligent and attractive; she’s witty, funny and attractive. But when their son Merlin is diagnosed, at the age of three years, as autistic, Jeremy runs off with his lover, a buxom TV chef, and the divorce is poisonous. Lucy is left, financially disadvantaged, to raise her special needs boy with minimal support.

This may all sound very depressing, except that Let
Susan Roebuck
Mar 21, 2012 rated it liked it
Very disappointed, unfortunately (and I don't say that too often, do I?). The focus of the book settled on the mother's struggle, rather than the son's condition (the son was diagnosed with Asperger's). Of course I understood her problems, but she lacked my sympathy. She was incapable of responding to others normally, every aside and response was ironic and sarcastic (albeit sometimes amusing). Her snark was exaggerated. The education authority's inability to pick up the boy's condition was rema ...more
Sam Pope
Mar 06, 2013 rated it did not like it
When I first heard about this book, I had high hopes for it, as I have a daughter with high-functioning Asperger's. Though admittedly Kathy Lette's novels have never really interested me much - not my sort of reading choice. I wish I had followed my first impression of her work rather than give this a chance, unfortunately.

The story follows Lucy, the single mother of Asperboy Merlin. It traces their abandonment by Merlin's natural father and Lucy's exploits, or should I say 'sexploits' in her at
Jun 15, 2012 rated it really liked it

As a mom of an 8 year old boy on the autistic spectrum, I could really relate to Lucy's constant anxiety about her son and how the rest of her life takes a back seat to being there for him. It also gave me insight as to what I am in for during his teenage years. Coincidentally, I am also an English teacher, like Lucy, so I related even more. Some readers said they felt she focused too much on how Merlin's condition affected her life but if you have never been there you cannot fathom how it real
Feb 10, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
There's a line somewhere in the fourth chapter that sums up this authors writing style perfectly: words streamed out of him like traffic, a collision of stories and tangential, lateral lunacy.

I hated this book. The author writes like she's hypermanic. Each and every paragraph is jammed full of so many glib one liners, analogies and metaphors that it begins to lose all meaning. There were moments that I had to stop and ask myself what the fuck she was even talking about.

The main character is so
Cathy Smith
Jan 30, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Didn't actually finish it. Even though we were reading it for book club. Hated the style. Couldn't get passed the many awkward similes in the first chapter. It irked and irritated me too much. Just not my thing.
Mar 20, 2012 rated it did not like it
There is no question in my mind that Puberty Blues by Kathy Lette is an important piece of modern Australian literature. And I did laugh out loud when I read Foetal Attraction and Mad Cows. I probably smiled during Dead Sexy and How to Kill Your Husband but I honestly can’t remember. After reading Lette’s latest release, The Boy Who Fell to Earth, I have resolved to leave Lette out of my reading future (re-readings of Puberty Blues excepted). You see, the problem is I’ve heard the jokes before. ...more
Jun 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: woman-s-fiction
My Thoughts: I could write reams on why I enjoyed this book and there is so much that the blurb doesn’t tell you about the highs and lows of life with an autistic child as Lucy tries to raise her child and stay sane; and author Lucy Lette should know as her 21-year-old son, Julius, was diagnoses as having Asperger’s (high-functioning autism) when he was a toddler. In an interview Kathy said there is a lot of Julius in Merlin but the book is fiction and not a memoir. In amongst the hilarious one- ...more
I struggled between 2 and 3 stars for this book, and I’m sorry to say I didn’t really enjoy it though the basis of the plot was good!

The problem I had with it was the story centred around Lucy, Merlin’s mother, and her struggles to get herself a man, her hatred of her ex-husband, who deserted Merlin and Lucy when Merlin’s diagnosis was announced..and men in general, plus the continual sarcastic jokes, whatever the situation. The one-liners got a bit tedious after awhile.

I felt extremely sorry f
Jul 28, 2012 rated it liked it
Make no mistake, this is chick-lit. This is a Kathy Lette book. Folks expecting a deep analysis on life as the mother of a child with autism written by someone who knows will be disappointed. That is not to say that the book has no substance at all; the frustrations of being a parent of an autistic child are made plain but in some ways only scratch the surface. The truth would be too painful and that wouldn't be any fun to read!

Kathy Lette's style of amusing one-liners run through the book whic
At first I thought this sounded like a witty recounting of a mother of a boy on the autism spectrum. As it continued, though, the laugh-a-minute one liners started to grate (it turns out more is not always better…), as did the speech attributions of “he punned…”, “she joked…”, “they bantered…” etc, as did her recounting of her sexual exploits interspersed with her antipathy toward men. When her antipathy turned into adoration, things took even more of a downward slide.

I did enjoy the insights in
Sep 19, 2012 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: no one
Recommended to Rebecca by: someone who really liked the book
A complete waste of time....I think Kathy Lette has used up every one liner she can possibly think of when writing this book.

The book attempts to show a mother who will do anything to protect her son from harm, yet gives him his own key to the house, lets him walk to and from school in which he constantly gets picked on and beaten up and a whole heap of other nonsense that contradicts the main focus of the book.

Kathy Lette's over sarcastic quips mixed with a boy suffering with Asperger's doesn't
Oct 14, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Kathy Lette is known for her scandalous and hilarious chick lit, but turned her gaze toward the story of a mother raising a child on the autism spectrum - something she personally discusses in her own experiences with her son.

So while I was expecting the Lette humour, I was keen to know the insights she could provide - along with her trademark humour and accessibility, which would be a welcome break from many stories where a young person on the spectrum is just thrown in to make the story seem e
Oct 13, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: books-i-despise
I hated this book, from the pathetic beginning to the tedious end. I literally despised every.single.character in this godawful book, from the desperate, witless, pathetic Lucy, the misogynist, vulgar Alfie, Jeremy the prat.. Oh and everyone else, even Merlin made me want to bang my own head off the ground!! Seriously, what is with the authors need to make every damn sentence into a comedy sketch?! None of it was funny, it was a frustrating and desperate read and lacked amusement! Is this what p ...more
Dec 22, 2015 rated it did not like it
this is pure shit Kathy take it back
Clair Scholten
Aug 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
I have read various reviews of this book and you can really tell who has experienced autism close up.I think Kathy really gives an open and honest account of what it is to be a parent dealing with a child with autism.Sometimes you have to make light of situations to manage and I felt that she balanced this nicely with the more serious side of things. Well done!
May 24, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Full of ableist jokes, a woman who shouldn't be a mother to anyone, and a stuck-up family who'll pay to get rid of an autistic child, The Boy Who Fell to Earth has to be one of the worst books I've ever read.

We start off with Lucy telling her son right to his face that she wishes she never gave birth to him, then watches as he runs out onto the road and gets struck down by a car. You'd think this is the worst thing that could happen in the book, but you'd be wrong.

Every character is shallow an
Matt John
Jun 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
Kathy Lette writes from experience. Like her own child, Merlin is Lucy’s intelligent and autistic son. He can rattle of cricket scores from every match over the past twenty years but can’t remember how to dress himself. With Merlin’s father fleeing from the family home not long after the diagnosis, Lucy is left to raise Merlin on her own and Merlin becomes the only man that Lucy has room for in her life. Written with the quick wit you would expect from Lette. Despite not being a factual read, th ...more
Apr 30, 2012 rated it it was ok
Lette writes a timely, some would say cynical, story about a woman with an apparently autistic boy. The boy starts out as profoundly autistic, downgrades to mere Asperger's syndrome by adolescence, and by adulthood is simply a prat. Inbetween, in the other 80% of the novel, the woman goes through a series of relationships, before settling on the type of completely repellent Australian that features in all of Lette's novels.
May 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Fabulous story. Full of humour; a human interest subject that will warm your heart and inspire your soul but not sentimental. Thoroughly recommended to those who are interested in relationships and those of us who can relate to non-conformist social behaviour.
lucy  black
Aug 27, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: novel
cheesy, cheese with cheese. Once I stopped cringing at all the meno tragic sex jokes the underlying story was ok.
Melinda Elizabeth
Oct 21, 2018 rated it liked it
If only this book cooled it with the puns and incessant one liners, it would have been far more enjoyable.

Written during the great Asperger's renaissance that we've all had to suffer through during the past few years, The Boy Who Fell To Earth is the story of a single mother and her autistic son, and their struggles to live a normal life.

I can't say that there's much more to the story than that, and whilst a bit of humor here and there made the beginning of the book enjoyable to read, before y
Sep 02, 2018 rated it liked it
This was probably a 3.5 for me. I found the first part of the book a bit full on but half way through the book (when Archie arrived) it became more of a story and less of a list of anecdotes about Merlin's behaviour.

What it did raise for me is how difficult raising a child with Asperger's is and the lack of support for parents.
Kylie Purdie
Oct 13, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013-read
I've never been a big fan of Kathy Lette as an author. Apart from Puberty Blues, I have never managed to finish one of her books. I read this on the recommendation of a friend who has a young child with high functioning Autism. I mention this because it did colour the way I read the book.
I don't have a child with special needs. I have taught children with a variety of special needs - either physical, intellectual of behavioural. I have many friends who have children with autism, ranging from yo
Hannah Wingfield
Jan 01, 2013 rated it did not like it
This book joins the Fifty Shades Trilogy in being awarded one star (and both of them only get that because What Hannah Read doesn’t have a zero star rating). I wondered whether that was perhaps too harsh, but I honestly can’t think of a single thing to recommend it. Admittedly, this book is way more “chick lit” than my usual choice of reading material, but I gave it a try anyway – partly because I try to keep an open mind about genre (especially as “chick lit” is such a dismissive and sexist ter ...more
Jun 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I did enjoy this book. I have a teen with Asperger's, and did have many 'Been there done that" moments in the story. Perhaps 'when' you read this book is important, I needed, and enjoyed the continual comic relief. I liked that it was not all about Merlin. Having someone else revealing there inner thoughts, thou not always matching my own, was comforting when you have felt no one else understands the stresses. I also feel that it is about Lucy NOT truly excepting her son for who he is until the ...more
May 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant book about a mum with a son who has Aspergers (it's fictional I think)and the mum's quest to meet someone. The authors knowledge of Aspergers is impressive and she handles all situations with a healthy dose of humour which is peppered with poignancy throughout. I read the book on the recommendation of Ruby Wax (yes, the comedian/mental health campaigner) and I am more than happy to recommend it to others too.............loved it and couldn't wait to get back to it everytime I put it do ...more
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Judy Bartkowiak
Feb 17, 2013 rated it liked it
An annoying book, I felt. The plot was great and compelling. I wanted to know how things turned out so I kept on reading it. The characters were well drawn albeit a bit cliched. What I found really irritating was the continuous sarcastic dialogue. No-one actually spoke in what I'd call a normal way, they were all making nasty comparisons, witty metaphors and so on. I found it very hard to read. I think it was supposed to be funny and it would possibly have been if only one character had done it, ...more
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Is she for Merlin or her? 3 13 Jul 07, 2017 03:39AM  
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Kathy Lette divides her time between being a full time writer,
demented mother (now there's a tautology) and trying to find a shopping trolley that doesn't have a clubbed wheel.

Kathy first achieved succés de scandale as a teenager with the novel Puberty Blues, now a major motion picture.

After several years as a singer with the Salami Sisters and a newspaper columnist in Sydney and New York (collec