book blog · book review

Best Laid Plans by Kathy Lette

34445173TO-DO LIST
1) Buy hummus
2) Pay Pilates teacher
3) Find prostitute for son…

As a crossword-addicted English teacher, Lucy never expected to be arrested for kerb-crawling. But her autistic twenty-year-old son Merlin is desperate to lose his virginity, and a prostitute seems like the only option . . . only Lucy picks up an undercover policewoman instead.

Let off with a suspended sentence, Lucy resigns herself to the fact that her son will never have sex, let alone find love… until the morning she miraculously discovers Merlin in bed with a girl.

But is tough, tattooed Kayleigh just taking Merlin for a ride? If so, why? And what has brought Lucy’s snake of an ex-husband wriggling back into their lives?

As all her best-laid plans for Merlin’s happiness chaotically unravel, will Lucy ever be able to cut her son’s psychological umbilical cord and start to live her own life? And will the funny, quirky and marvellously magical Merlin ever find real love?

*Synopsis and photo from Goodreads


*Thank you Random House UK, Transworld Publishers, and NetGalley for the copy in exchange for an honest review.

Lucy has always been protective of her 20-year-old soon to be 21 son, Merlin, who has Asperger. Right after finding out about Merlin’s condition, her husband bailed out on them and went out with much younger girls instead and completely forgot all of his responsibility towards their son. Lucy was left alone to raise Merlin on her own and she makes it a point to give her best every time. She wants nothing more than to see him happy. So when Merlin started going on about not having a girlfriend ever and still being a virgin at 20, Lucy tried to calm him down and even asked friends for help. But she got alarmed when he started sounding desperate and she was left with no choice but to go kerb-crawling. That is an action or practice of driving slowly along the edge of the road in search of a prostitute. A pretty drastic move for an English teacher. But like Merlin, Lucy is also desperate. Only, she was caught by an undercover police. Luckily, though, she was let off with just a warning and a promise to be on good behavior. However, her sleazy ex-husband is suddenly crawling back into their life, determined to take Merlin away from her. Not only that, she also finds her son in bed with a girl. She should be happy. But how can she be sure that Kayleigh is not just taking Merlin for a ride? It looks like the promise of good behavior won’t be easy after all.

I really like the premise of this book. It is the first time I’ve seen one that tackles sex which involves a person on the spectrum. It sure is intriguing. Also, it is well-written and I like how the author attacks the issue with humor. It is definitely hilarious. However, I feel like it gets over the top with the humor that it appears so comical and well…silly. There were times I feel bored especially when the characters started showing off their linguistic prowess and spewing unfamiliar words and I have to stop and look for its meaning. A few words are fine but that’s not really the case as there’s a lot of them. But then, that’s just me.

As for the characters, they are sure an interesting lot. From Lucy, who’s willing to do everything for her son, to the point of looking for a girl for him to lose his virginity with. To Merlin, who’s such a fascinating character despite being misunderstood and taken advantage of by many because of his condition. Even Lucy’s sister, Phoebe, is a delightful one with her unwavering support to her sister. I can’t say the same to Jeremy, though. He’s Lucy’s ex-husband and Merlin’s father and he is just detestable, manipulating people to get what he wants. In the end, Lucy’s character development is wonderful and is something where we can glean a thing or two about motherhood and letting your offspring be free at some point.

Regarding with the Asperger syndrome, I am not knowledgeable with said condition but knowing that the author herself has an experience in dealing with autism, I assume the book gives a close representation of the illness. And despite the silliness, I appreciate how the author tried to normalize autism by incorporating sex in the story. A dilemma that is experienced by some people in reality. And reading such books give awareness and deeper understanding of autism.

So, overall, Best Laid Plans is a crazy yet fun read. Despite my issues, I still kind of enjoyed it. And if this kind of book appeals to you, I’d say go ahead and take a shot at this one.

RATING: 3.5/5




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