Reviewed by Rita G. for Readers' Favorite
Holden Harris is a prisoner of Autism. He is bullied and rejected at school. Ella reaches out to him. She stands up against the bullies at the school including her own boyfriend. She befriends Holden and asks the whole community to reach out to him in support.
When I see Karen Kingsbury’s name on a book, I know I am in for a real treat. Karen Kingsbury is a trail blazer. She tackles issues that few others have the courage or talent to take on. In her latest book, Unlocked, she tackles Autism. She describes Autism as a prison. I have a friend who is an Autism Specialist. In her opinion prison is the perfect description for the disorder. When I discussed this book with her she agreed with the way Kingsbury portrayed the main character Holden. Each Autistic individual is different; they respond differently, and will react differently. Most Autistic children are affected by music.
In this book, Kingsbury has taken on three themes that need addressing: Autism, Suicide, and Bullying. That is a broad spectrum of topics, and yet she manages to pull all three together successfully. There are bullies in every school, whether we are willing to admit it or not. As a community we must do something to prevent bullying. This is an issue I feel strongly about. Recently, a friend's daughter tried to kill herself because of bullies. (I will step off my box before I begin to preach). Kingsbury did a fantastic job of describing bullies.
I found the relationship between the mother and father a strange one. The father cannot accept his child’s disability, so he is gone for years working on a boat. He returns and is welcomed back with open arms. I’m not sure this one part is realistic, but then with faith anything is possible.
This book has strong Christian overtones. Miracles are mentioned many times. I found the theme of miracles and faith to be quite comforting. Unlocked brought tears to my eyes. Make sure you have tissues close at hand. As usual Karen Kingsbury has touched my heart.