‘The Bubble Boy’ by Stewart Foster is an incredible story which will take you on an emotional journey filled with sadness, hope and joy. Meet Joe, like many 11 year old boys he is football and superhero obsessed but this is were the similarity ends. Joe can’t remember a life outside of his hospital room. His medical condition means that life beyond his own ‘bubble is potentially fatal and the thought of ever leaving seems an impossible dream. ‘Bubble Boy’ by day, ‘Superhero’ by night – only in his dreams can Joe fulfil his ambition and overcome his frustrations. There is a marked contrast to his every day life of routine and caution versus the danger he faces in his dreams, saving the world from numerous disasters. But one day someone enters Joe’s life and the balance of normality is shifted and suddenly his world changes in a totally unexpected way.
Prepare to meet an amazing cast of characters as we watch in intricate detail Joe’s every day life where people encompass him in this bubble in a desperate attempt to protect him from the outside world. You find yourself deeply empathising with his sister Beth who is struggling to balance her own life whilst ensuring Joe is not left alone. Their bond is heart wrenching as they both try to put the other first ahead of their own needs and desires, both desperately trying to protect the other. Henry – his only real friend another ‘Bubble Boy’ who lives in America – offers Joe a glimpse of a different future as NASA scientists develop pioneering technology to allow him the chance to go outside. Henry represents hope and empathy and their relationship and dependence on each other is incredibly poignant. But for me it’s the nurses who support Joe, Greg and Amir who make a real difference to his life. ‘Not all superheroes wear capes’, they each provide an invaluable life line to Joe. Whilst Greg provides a constant for Joe to rely on, it is Amir with his eccentric theories and crazy schemes which bring a new light into his life.
I found myself totally engrossed with this beautiful, uplifting story it made me laugh, cry and I was utterly compelled to keep reading, hanging on to the belief that there has to be a happy ending for Joe. Never before have I experienced such an emotional attachment to a character, I was literally cheering him on and had a real physical reaction to each of his highs and lows. This is one of the books where I really struggle to do it justice and put into words how much I have enjoyed it. For every sentence you read in this review there are four more sentences which didn’t make the cut as they didn’t capture the effect this book had on me. Stewart Foster has created a character who will steal your heart and possess your thoughts, you will get completely lost in this fantastic tale.
Thank you to Simon & Schuster for sending me a copy of this book to review.