My daughter brought home a number of books from her school library and I was pleased to see one was Fragile Bones: Harrison and Anna by Lorna Schultz Nicholson.
This book revolved around two high school students involved in a Best Buddies program, which seeks to match neuro-typical students with those who are not. In this case, the students are Anna and Harrison.
Anna is a star student who is pushed by her mother to focus completely on her education and her future. Harrison is a student with Asperger’s (autism), who would rather be watching Grey’s Anatomy.
You might wonder what “fragile bones” has to do with autism. Harrison is obsessed with anatomy, especially the bones of the human body. When he is stressed out, he recites the bones of the body.
One of the things that I liked about it is that each chapter was either from Harrison’s or Anna’s perspective. There was often overlap so that you could observe both of their perspectives of the same event.
Those in the autism community may complain that Harrison is a stereotype of autism. Yes, this is true. But all novels, TV shows and movies deal in stereotypes. It is the only manageable way to tell a story.
I have not met anyone quite like Harrison, but there were definitely aspects of his autism that I could recognize.
It was a good treatment of what such a Best Buddy relationship could look like. We see development both in Harrison and Anna, in their relationship and in their own personality.
I appreciate this book and what it attempts to do. It is a good way of introducing young readers to autism and the importance of developing friendships with people unlike us.