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Saturday, January 24, 2015

The Cottage Park Puzzle...Review

About the book:
When two teenagers are found beaten in the quiet town of Cottage Park and another boy is standing over them holding a baseball bat, it seems like a simple task to convict the perpetrator. There’s just one problem: he’s severely autistic. This poignant tale of one town’s journey to forgiveness and love will stay with you long after you’ve finished reading.

Having a child on the autistic spectrum, I am drawn to stories about individuals with autism. I thoroughly enjoyed The Cottage Park Puzzle. Corky is severely autistic and my son is high functioning, so there are few similarities, but I thought that Richard Siddoway's portrayal of Corky was incredibly accurate. As he has an autistic grandson, his personal experiences helped shape Corky's character, I'm sure.

I liked seeing different perspectives as it brought depth to the story. Some characters I liked more than others. I can understand how a parent would be angry and scared when their child is severely injured, but Edna's character was simply horrible. She was unlikeable on a good day and her behavior toward Corky was akin to an 18th century witch hunt. The contrast with the behavior of the other parents was like light and dark. I also didn't like Karen, the principal and her absolute conviction to find someone to blame for Corky's behavior and because I loved Mr. Calderwood, Corky's teacher, I really hated that she focused that unfounded blame on him!

I did appreciate that there were people in the community who rallied behind Corky and his family and questioned whether the boy could actually have committed this behavior.  His teacher, Mr. Calderwood was fantastic. Having an advocate for your child like Mr. Calderwood is every special needs parent's dream. Our son is mainstreamed, but has an extended resource room and teacher who is amazing. These teachers don't get enough recognition or acknowledgement for what they do, day in and day out.

The story moves quickly and the resolution isn't quite as surprising, but satisfactory and teaches us a great lesson about judgment and forgiveness.

Thanks to the author and Cedar Fort for the opportunity to review this book. You can learn more about Richard Siddoway here.  You can see other reviews and tour stops here. You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 1/15

* * * *
4/5 Stars


  1. This must be a very emotional read. Interesting.

    1. It was compelling more than emotional. But for someone who is familiar with autism, it could be a fascinating read.

  2. My son is high functioning autistic, or Aspergers, and I get a bit wary about reading books featuring folks with this condition, as it is often poorly portrayed. But since you said the author has a relative living with it, then I can take a chance on this. Thanks for introducing me to a new title and author.

    1. My son is high functioning Asperger's as well, but I thought the portrayal of a severely autistic boy was very accurate. I'll be curious to see your views on it.