Last seen wearing trainers is a book about a girl called Katie, her brother Tom, her mother Lydia and her mother’s friend Grace. Katie and her mother aren’t very close, they fight often—especially when her mother has been drinking. Katie’s brother Tom is autistic; everybody around feels that he doesn’t understand what’s going on, but he does—maybe better than they do. Grace is Lydia’s old friend who looks after Tom and gives Lydia moral support.

Katie meets a man called Joe. They become friends and grow close. But sometimes they act like more than friends. Katie wants them to have a relationship, but Joe seems unsure. As their relationship develops Joe becomes interested in Katie’s family. She tells him about how she fights with her mother, how her dad died and about Tom. Joe seems to think that they should punish her mother for getting angry at her and sometimes even hitting her. Katie and Joe decide to run away together for a while to scare Lydia.

When Katie runs away, Lydia thinks that she’s at her friends house it takes a day for her to realise that Katie’s gone. Lydia then calls the police and they go out looking for her. Tom is the only person who knows where Katie has gone because she told him—but he can’t talk so it’s impossible for him to tell them where she is. Except through his drawings….

I think Last seen wearing trainers is a brilliant, adventurous book. It really shows you what it would be like if you were autistic and unable to communicate properly with other people. I would give it 9 out of 10-

LAST SEEN WEARING TRAINERS by Rosie Rushton (2002). Andersen Press, London. €9.25 paperback. ISBN 1 84270 216 5.


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