Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Horse Boy - Rupert Isaacson

The Horse Boy
Rupert Isaacson
Little, Brown and Company
Copyright: 2009
978-0316008235 product description:
When his son Rowan was diagnosed with autism, Rupert Isaacson was devastated, afraid he might never be able to communicate with his child. But when Isaacson, a lifelong horseman, rode their neighbor's horse with Rowan, Rowan improved immeasurably. He was struck with a crazy idea: why not take Rowan to Mongolia, the one place in the world where horses and shamanic healing intersected?

THE HORSE BOY is the dramatic and heartwarming story of that impossible adventure. In Mongolia, the family found undreamed of landscapes and people, unbearable setbacks, and advances beyond their wildest dreams. This is a deeply moving, truly one-of-a-kind story--of a family willing to go to the ends of the earth to help their son, and of a boy learning to connect with the world for the first time.
This is a book I've seen on the shelves since it first came out. I thought it looked interesting then, but I finally had a chance to read it over the last couple of days. I'm really glad I did. The author's experiences in this book sucked me in and kept me captivated to the point of staying up past midnight three nights in a row so I could read more of the story.

It was more the part about the Mongolian nomads that caught my attention in the book blurb, but Rupert's experiences with his son caught me almost right away and I had to know how it turned out for them. I was captivated by their experiences, both the highs and the lows they went through, and overjoyed by the successes of the story.

The family's experiences are just that, the experiences of one family dealing with autism. There is no suggestion that what worked for them will be as effective for others. Regardless, it is a great read. Apparently it's going to be coming out as a movie as well, if it hasn't already. Not that that's exactly a surprise, given the mentions of the camera crew in the book.

While The Horse Boy is categorized as a biograpy, it's equally aplicable as travel writing. Everything is vividly described to the point where I could almost see and feel the landscapes they were travelling through. I wouldn't have minded seeing more about the lives of the Mongolian nomads, but that's not the focus of the book, which was the boy, Rowan.

I recommend this as a great read, whether or not you're interested in the experiences of a family dealing with autism.

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