Best Boy

Best Boy

A Novel

Book - 2015
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Sent to a "therapeutic community" for autism at the age of eleven, Todd Aaron, now in his fifties, is the "Old Fox" of Payton LivingCenter. A joyous man who rereads the encyclopedia compulsively, he is unnerved by the sudden arrivals of a menacing new staffer and a disruptive, brain-injured roommate. His equilibrium is further worsened by Martine, a one-eyed new resident who has romantic intentions and convinces him to go off his meds to feel "normal" again. Undone by these pressures, Todd attempts an escape to return "home" to his younger brother and to a childhood that now inhabits only his dreams. Written astonishingly in the first-person voice of an autistic, adult man, Best Boy--with its unforgettable portraits of Todd's beloved mother, whose sweet voice still sings from the grave, and a staffer named Raykene, who says that Todd "reflects the beauty of His creation"--is a piercing, achingly funny, finally shattering novel no reader can ever forget.
Publisher: New York : Liveright Publishing Corporation, a division of W. W. Norton & Company, [2015]
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9781631490477
Characteristics: 248 pages ; 25 cm


From Library Staff

Todd Aaron is an autistic man and model resident of the facility where he has lived since age eleven: now in his 50s, he still strives to be the “Best Boy” his adored late mother encouraged him to be. His stability and happiness are threatened, however, by a manipulative staffer, and he becomes o... Read More »

From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

ArapahoeAnnaL May 08, 2018

Does an amazing job of capturing perceptions as experienced by a person with autism. A kind of coming of age story at age 53. Well written and and beautifully plotted.

JCLColleenO Jul 06, 2017

This book is told from the point of view of Todd Aaron, an autistic man in his fifties living in a “therapeutic community”. The author utilizes great skill and evokes empathy in his readers as he shows us the world through Todd's eyes. Todd discusses the struggles of his daily life, his simple joys, his poignant memories of the past, and his sometimes crippling fears. But most of all, Todd's story gives readers a perspective on those who can be identified as fitting into the autistic spectrum. I found this book enlightening and heart-warming.

Apr 19, 2017

This book was an interesting look at what it might be like inside the mind of a grown man with autism. It deals with both his memories and his current day thoughts. I enjoyed this aspect of the book. However I had huge problems with the book structurally. It was just a mess of loose ends. It introduces several characters (and even partially develops them) and hints at many subplots and story threads but not a single one of them turns into anything. I waited patiently right until the last page, thinking something was going to tie together but it never did. Characters just drop right out of the story and their actions just disappear from the story line as though they never existed in the first place. I am very surprised it hasn't received more criticism.

Jun 04, 2016

Autism from interesting perspective. Interesting

Apr 21, 2016

I thought this book portrayed a caring way to see someone with autism through the eyes of an older person. So many books focus on the younger people who have this challenge. It was a surprisingly good read to me, and I really felt a compassion toward the main character.

Mar 14, 2016

A thoroughly good story about an autistic man who has been in institution since childhood. Very satisfying and understanding story

Oct 07, 2015

Very illuminating view of the thought processes of those who are not considered normal. I am fascinated by the different level of communication he has with nature and things and undercurrents in people.

madison382 Oct 03, 2015

A beautifully written book about a middle aged man living with autism. Very mesmerizing.


Add a Quote

Oct 07, 2015

A bird saying to Todd, "Home is in your head." p 146.


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number

Subject Headings


Find it at CPL

To Top