The Extraordinary was a book that really brought a story to life for me. It felt like a real person’s story, as if it was a memoir, and yet it’s fiction. The characters are incredibly realistic, making the reader connect with them with such emotion, you want to reach through the pages and save them at times.
The story revolves around a family going through some troubling times. Our narrator is a teenage boy who is autistic, and has always connected with his father in a special way. When his dad returns home after serving in the military, he’s not the same, and we see through the son’s eyes how this affects the entire family.
This was a very emotional story that had some tough topics, but they came together to tell a wonderful story.
Where to Find This Book:
Wes Scott, a teenage boy on the autism spectrum, tells us in his own words about his struggles to cope with a chaotic, confusing, and scary world—while his family tries to handle both living with an autistic child and a Marine father who returns from Iraq debilitated by wounds and suffering PTSD.
Wesley Scott is a teenage boy with autism. He lives within his own intimate realm of sensory overload, dysfunction, sometimes violence, and fear of the outside world. He describes himself as the only actor on a stage without a script. We learn through Wes’ own words that he is a deep, thoughtful young man…but no one knows it.
Wes is unable to connect with anyone other than his father, a captain in the Marine Corps. He in turn adores his extraordinary son, his “Ex-man,” as he fondly calls him. When Captain Scott ships off to fight in the Middle East, Wes is confused and senses foreboding in what it all means, although he cannot express it to his family, friends, or teachers.
With his father overseas, Wes finds himself further isolated in a world of “Ords” (his dad’s term for the ordinaries, unlike his “Ex” son) and a stranger in his own family. His mother is distant and cold, his high school brother resents the inordinate attention his autistic brother constantly steals from him, and his twenty-something sister has chosen to move away from it all to Manhattan. The burden on the family gets exponentially worse when Captain Scott returns home wounded. The family tries to cope as best they can, but when his father succumbs to PTSD, Wes must somehow make sense of all that has happened—which is difficult for a teenager under normal conditions, let alone one on the autism spectrum who’s suddenly lost the only family member who ever really bothered to know him.
The Scotts seem on the verge of unraveling and Wes finds himself in a bewildering land of family turmoil. How will Wes come to understand this tragedy? And how will the family ever come to fill the void left by a father who understood what the rest have yet to discover…that Wes is an extraordinary young man indeed. And that all of us, no matter how much the world seems to scorn our existence—or has simply forgotten our pain—have something extraordinary to offer and make that world a better place.
Extraordinary is not just the title of this book—it’s a description of the beauty within the pages.
Just the Facts:
The Extraordinary by Brad Schaeffer
Genre: General Fiction
Page Count: 240 pages
Publisher: Post Hill Press
Pub Date: August 31, 2021
Brad Schaffer was born in Baltimore, MD but grew up in a suburb of Chicago. After attending the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, he lived in Chicago where he embarked on his dual career as both a commodities trader and author/novelist. He currently resides in New Jersey.
His prolific and eclectic writing can be found in the pages of the Wall Street Journal, New York Daily News, National Review, Daily Wire, and other well-read publications. His interests as reflected in his articles encompass a wide swath from business, to science, education, the arts, history, politics, social issues, and general day-to-day living. He is also an accomplished guitarist and pianist and can be found playing in local New Jersey clubs with one of several rock bands in which he has played over the years.
He is the author of two novels “Of Another Time And Place” (2018) takes place in World War II Europe. It is a study of the conflicts that good men confront when compelled through national loyalty and indoctrination to fight for morally reprehensible causes. “The Extraordinary” (2021), deftly tackles two sensitive subject matters, autism and PTSD, and the impacts they have on not just those who have these conditions but also the families who support those they love while trying to cope with the stresses they induce. https://www.bradschaefferauthor.com/
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I was provided a gifted copy of this book for free. I am leaving my honest review voluntarily.