The paperback of my latest novel The Boy Who Fell to Earth is out today and I’ve been thinking a lot about the best way to describe it. It’s basically a romantic comedy with a pinch of social satire and a soupçon of heartbreak. My friend, Emily Mortimer, who hopes to get the book filmed, says it’s got a flavour of Being There, Silver Lining Playbook and the The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, only told from the mother’s point of view. (She’s my friend, so she has to say these nice things!)
LUCY is a teacher in her early twenties with a brash sense of humour. JEREMY is a handsome but rather serious upper class English financier. Though opposites, they fall in love and are blissfully happy … until they notice that their son is different. Aged 3, Merlin is diagnosed with autism. This is a diagnosis which drags you into the dark. Lucy is heartbroken to hear her child so labelled but feels a protective lioness type love… Jeremy leaves her for a younger woman and a career in America.
In public, Lucy uses humour to fake an air of insouciance, joking, “When a woman marries, she should pause and think – is this the name I want to see on my monthly maintenance cheque?” but at home she is desperate, writing Jeremy begging emails. But soon one thing becomes clear- it is Lucy and Merlin against the world…
Much of the comedy in the book comes from Merlin’s candour. When he turns 9, Lucy’s mother and sister convince Lucy that the boys needs a male role model. Lucy is cajoled into dipping a poorly pedicured toe back into the world of dating. For the next five years, in a series of funny vignettes, we see Merlin accidentally sabotaging Lucy’s potential romances. People with aspergers have no filter: they say whatever they’re thinking. Subsequently all fledgling romances are ruined when Lucy’s son points out that her date’s chin looks like “upside testicles”. Or reveals to another man that his Mum’s sister finds him a bit “two faced” adding, “But if so, then why are you wearing that one, when it’s all wrinkly and crinkly and old?”
Basically, every social scenario involving Merlin leaves Lucy sweating more than Paris Hilton playing scrabble. Finally Lucy tells her mother and sister that she’s given up men for good. “No more relationship roulette! It’s just me and Merlin, forever.”
….Enter ARCHIE, the most perfectly imperfect man on the planet.
I’m not telling you any more, or I’ll spoil the book. Except to say that as the story progresses we realize that Lucy has come to need her son just as much as he needs her, possibly to the detriment of them both. The question is, which one of them is the ‘savant’ and which one the ‘idiot?’. As well as being a comedy romance, I do hope the book shines a light into the world of autism and helps us all to be a little more understanding of people who are different.
Read the second instalment of Kathy’s The Boy Who Fell to Earth feature tomorrow…
What do women really want in bed? Breakfast. Oh, and a good book. If you’re looking for a funny, frivolous yet feisty new read, do slip between my covers. Satisfaction guaranteed.
Here’s a selection of scribblings in which I peel down to my emotional underwear – a psychological striptease that occasionally reveals all.
I think women are each other’s human Wonderbras – uplifting, supportive and making each other look bigger and better.
If he wants breakfast, tell him to sleep in the kitchen.
Men think monogamy is something you make dining tables out of.
Many marriages break up for religious reasons – he thinks he’s a god and she doesn’t.
Love prepares you for marriage the way needlepoint prepares you for round-the-world solo yachting.
Boys will be boys, and so will a load of middle-aged boys who should know better.
Ladies who lynch.
No wife ever shot a husband while he was vacuuming.
I think therefore I’m divorced.
All husbands think they’re Gods. If only their wives weren’t atheists.
Happy wife = happy life.
I couldn’t ask for a better husband… as much as I’d bloody well like to.
Statistically, 100% of divorces begin with marriage.
Marriage is nature’s way of promoting masturbation.
Marriage is a fun-packed, frivolous activity – only occasionally resulting in death.
It’ll be an amicable split. You’ll both get 50 % of the acrimony.
A new invention is required. The monogamous husband. Patent Pending.
How Do I Hate Thee? Let me Count the Ways.
My wedding vows didn’t say To Love, Hoover and Obey.
I’m Having my period so can therefore legally kill you.
You are going to enjoy this marriage, even if I have to divorce you to do so.
A happy marriage is like an orgasm – many of them are faked.
All this emphasis on women faking orgasms, but what about men faking foreplay?
Why do men like intelligent women? Because opposites attract.
Why don’t women tell jokes? Because we marry them.
What does a woman really want in bed? Breakfast.
For women, life is full of lies – I mean doctors maintain that wrinkles don’t hurt.
Legal aid cuts prove that the Tories believe a person is innocent until proven destitute.
Sexist men are so stupid it makes you want to take the ‘men’ out of Mensa.
If a man ever tells you that women fall at his feet – it’s only because he gets them drunk first.
A woman must always fight back. Never just lie back and think of Canberra.
The best cure for menopause is the toy boy diet. A case of having Your Beefcake and Eating It Too.
I don’t fake orgasms. I’m faking being six foot one and seven stone.
Trophy wives tarnish quickly and then get left on the shelf.
Lawyers work 24/7. The partners of lawyers suffer from a bad case of subpoena envy.
Most shrinks should book an appointment with themselves.
The question on the minds of most women is – why doesn’t chocolate go straight to your boobs?
Don’t fall for a man’s puppy dog look… Just get him wormed.
It’s been so long since a man has touched me, not even medical science will want my body.
My top tip for keeping your youth? Lock him in the pool house.