Shtum by Jem Lester

Shtum

Jem Lester

Jonah is ten and profoundly autistic, no speech & getting harder to manage. He needs full time care at a residential school but parents Ben & Emma must fight the council and an army of experts to get him into the school of their choice. Maybe if they pretended to split up they would have a better chance?
This book shows ordinary people trying to cope in extraordinary circumstances. Jonah cannot speak and all those around him keep "Shtum".

Extract

So the day unravels like any other: bath running, Jonah standing half-sodden while I open the windows, remove the bedsheets and spray the mattress cover with disinfectant. The sheets I ball together with his reeking pyjamas. The aromatic nappy and the soiled wipes get tied in a plastic bag, and in he hops-the bubble-covered water turning to consommé on contact. I clean him vigorously, showering off the stubborn bits, and dry him with his navy towel-any other provokes a tantrum. Dressed, I shoo him along the corridor for breakfast.

Parallels
  • The curious incident of the dog in the night-time by Mark Haddon
  • A boy made of blocks by Keith Stuart
  • Home by Kate Hughes