It’s hard enough to be a good parent, but that multiplies when you have a disabled child. Kate’s six-year-old son Sam has autism, meaning, for example, he struggles with being out of routine, impulsive behaviour, a lack of safety awareness and communication with other people. She loves him dearly and allows his difficulties to help guide her to solutions, but that isn’t enough to take away the condition, meaning every day still has all the usual challenges of parenting on top of this.

Of course, this added dimension means Kate has to find a partner who is understanding and flexible with regards to her child’s needs. Put off men by an abusive relationship from which she is still in hiding means that while Sam is at school she works part time but often feels lonely. One day Sam absconds to a neighbourhood garden, which introduces Matt, a decent guy also recently out of a relationship. Could Matt provide a future of happiness for them all? The chances look slim, especially when Matt’s ex-girlfriend comes on the scene and Kate’s ex-boyfriend also turns up, leaving her and Sam in danger.

This book is a really good read, especially the second half, and that comes from someone who expects a lot from romance being a major storyline. The story is engaging and definitely is supported by the author’s own experiences of caring for a disabled child It feels very real and emphasises the good as well as the bad aspects of being a carer to a child, which are often overlooked. Kate’s love shines through the pages, as I can only imagine does for the author’s love for her child. The characters work and feel authentic and while this book was pure entertainment for me as I didn’t personally learn anything new, others will, and I enjoyed the time we spent together greatly.

Helen Corton 4/3

Picking Up the Pieces by Jo Worgan
Urbane Publications 9781911331629 pbk Nov 2018