Brought to you by OBS reviewer Sammy
*Beware of possible Spoilers*
Set in Pittsburgh in the early 1900s, The Leap Year Boy is the story of a working class family and an extraordinary boy named Alex Miller, born in the family’s home on February 29, 1908. What makes Alex so remarkable is that even though he’s full-term at birth, he weighs just two pounds one ounce, and is nine inches long.
Despite his size, Alex is perfectly healthy. However, his body grows at one-fourth the rate of a normal child—so that after one year, he’s the size of a three-month-old—but his mind grows much quicker. Eventually, so do certain parts of his body and his ability to do various and unusual things with them. As Alex’s special abilities become apparent, those around him see him as both a miracle child and a freak of nature—a freak to exploit.
How Alex saves himself from the designs of others—his religious fanatic grandmother, who sees him as the new Messiah; his money-grubbing immigrant doctor, who wants to put him on display; his unstable nanny, who believes Alex is her lost child; and his father and father’s mistress, who are eager to tap Alex’s commercial potential—is at the heart of the novel. Ultimately, a family that has been fractured by ambition and circumstance rediscovers loyalty and love, thanks to Alex’s courage. (Goodreads)
The writing in this story is spectacular, absolutely 5 stars, story was interesting, the reason for 4 stars was the abrupt ending. I would really like to know what happens to Alex. I noticed that it has Sci-fi and fantasy tags and I had it on my tags, too. However, after reading the story, there was only really the one thing that would have made those tags appropriate. When Alexs’ arms grew so much overnight, then later his legs. Super light on the sci-fi/fantasy, but a great story and well worth reading.
If you are looking for a book with likeable characters, this book doesn’t have many and yet I found myself liking or at least understanding each character at times. The author has fleshed out the characters in such a detailed way, that even the most unlikeable character had some redeeming quality. I won’t get into the wacky folks, because they are all so well written by the author , that I would just be bumbling about trying to describe them.
With full disclosure, I think that Alex will have a much bigger impact on other readers, but my life is and has been full of working and being around children and adults that have very unique features, macrocephalia , microcephlia, missing limbs or extra limbs, learning styles that are very much outside of the norm. One other thing I think that the parents would not have told people so openly how old Alex was when they were outside of their own neighborhood, in those days, it would have been something they would have kept secret when they could. Those were the times.
This story is not a happy story, but it does delve deeply into how people are and what they are capable of doing in certain situations, the author does an amazing job of finding something admirable in people that are selfish beyond the pale. I highly recommend this book for anyone who loves excellent writing, history and wonderful story telling. For Young adults and up.