Chase Connor has written a lot of superb novels, but so far, A Tremendous Amount of Normal is easily my favorite. Connor has an easy-flowing style that is just at the right side of lighthearted and enjoyable read, funny, but with tearjerking moments.
A Tremendous Amount of Normal follows the day to day life of Noah and his older brother Will.
Noah is normal. Will tells him so. But kids at school call him a retard. A lot of people call Will a fag.
Together, the brothers create their path in life and reshape what the word ‘normal’ means.
There is school for Noah and college for Will, and then there is Mom, who never finishes cleaning the house.
The chapters are divided into Noah’s, Will’s—and later—Manny’s perspective, and we see how each character interprets their daily life differently.
All characters are incredibly loveable, but there is something special about Noah. He experiences the world in his very own way, and it is a delight to get a glimpse into the inside of his mind. Though a quick-witted and smart young man, his Asperger’s uniquely interprets his surroundings. Sometimes this is done in good humor, but at other times heartbreakingly naive, though it never undermines the character’s perceptive nature.
Mr. Connor did a great job, writing a fully fleshed-out character on the Autistic spectrum. Noah’s interactions are done realistically, offering a great introspective of what living with this diagnosis may be like. There is also no shying away from genuine, but perhaps more difficult subjects, such as Noah’s sexual desires, sense of attractions, and relationship goals.
What I liked best was that I could love his character simply the way it was. There are no ‘trying to fix broken pieces’ or unrealistic attempts to ‘improve’ the existing, often challenging’ situation between the brothers. Love does not need fixing or improving. It’s just there. Free for all who are willing to open their hearts to it.
Despite the occasional heartbreak, I would call the novel a lighthearted and tremendously enjoyable read. I was unable to get the book out of my hand and finished it in one session.
Please also find my YouTube review below: