The Watchman, written by Matt Langford, is an excellent book that takes a look at how a sixteen year old boy with mental disabilities perceives the world around him. Although Adam’s special need is never really divulged it is quite easy to figure it out if you’re familiar with it at all. The author has incredible insight into how Adam’s mind works and he gives very plausible reasons for the sometimes seemingly violent actions that Adam performs. Adam hears words in a different way than the rest of us do and this is often used in the book which, for me, made it hard to understand a couple of words and their meanings. This became a bit difficult because one of the words was Adam’s favorite drink and I still have no idea what it is. The title of the book refers to Adam’s need to hold a “watch” many times each day so he can observe the family and community’s comings and goings. Crumbling family relationships and changes to his environment greatly disturb him and he tends to lash out in response to them.
This has become one of my new favorite books. Having worked with children and young adults with special needs I was fascinated by the insight the author provided into Adam’s mind. I would imagine he must have some experience of his own in his background to be able to write so well about Adam’s thoughts and feelings from his viewpoint. The ending was heartbreaking and a tissue was needed which for me is a sure sign of a well is written book. A must read for anyone dealing with a disability.