To Whom It May Concern (For Him #3.5) by A.M. Johnson
Release date: February 17th
Beautiful. That’s the only way to describe this novella.
When I’d finished it last night, I had this happy, glow-y feeling in my chest. Serene and content in a way I seldom am right after finishing a story.
Writing-wise, I don’t think I need to explain Johnson’s style. Her writing is always top-notch with the occasional poetic undertone. I love it.
Synopsis: The read is told through dual POVs. Clay’s and Syrus’. The first is an author, who’s hardly written a word since his parents died a year earlier. The second is a narrator of audio books, a recluse of sorts, who happens to love Clay’s latest novel. Both have these jagged edges from hurt and anxieties, and they fit together like pieces of a puzzle.
What’s really interesting about this read is that I didn’t fall for it right away. I was even a bit put off from what I perceived as a story written by someone who didn’t actually know the topic she was writing about (which is a pet peeve of mine).
Now, it doesn’t say outright that Syrus is on the spectrum, but as someone with a close relative with autism, it was glaringly obvious. And even though each autistic person is unique, and what us neurotypicals view as quirks and deviations from “normalcy” manifest in wholly different ways for different individuals, I initially felt that Johnson grossly misrepresented Syrus. Like cultural appropriation, but on a group of people defined by outsiders by their diagnosis. And in some ways, I still don’t think that Johnson fully understands the character that she herself created. But, despite that, I ended up adoring this story.
Because I came to realize that, for me, it was more than enough to view Surys’ and Clay’s story as two people who weren’t perfect, but were perfect for each other. A story about hope, and about love not being reserved for a select group.
So that was the feeling the story left me with. Hope. And it was beautiful.
However, I won’t lie. If you have personal experience with autism, this book might not be for you. Or you’ll adore it. It could go either way.
* A free e-copy of this book was kindly provided by the author *