“Have you ever seen one of those movies in which someone wakes up as a ghost but they don’t know they’ve died? That’s how it was…” – Martin Pistorius
We put the title on our book club’s future read list and I set out to find an advance copy of my own. I was so fortunate to receive a free advance copy from NetGalley.com in exchange for my honest review.
Without question, Ghost Boy is one of the most inspirational and engaging books I have ever read. It is almost impossible to believe that this gifted human being was kept from us because he had no method of communicating with the world. This riveting story is told with candor and poise revealing what it was like to be trapped inside his own unresponsive body and the changes in everyone’s lives as he makes his slow entry back into the world of the living.
Martin, a native of South Africa, tells his story from his point of view. The book opens in the day care center where he is strapped upright in a chair and pushed in front of a television for hours and hours mentally tortured as he is force-fed Barney and Teletubby reruns.
When he was 16 years old he began to have spurts of “daylight” and it scared him to learn that he was no longer a little boy but now a half-grown man. Over time he regains full cognitive abilities but has no way to tell the world he had come out of the darkness. Unaware of his ability to see and hear everything around him, he hears intimate conversations never meant to be shared with him. He is physically abused and sexually violated by insensitive and abusive day care workers. He sees the hardships and strain his care places on his family and has no way to express his appreciation and love.
Hope flutters to life when a day care aid first realizes that he understands what is going on around him. You feel the frustration as he struggles to find the best way to communicate. And you feel the deep love of his family that surrounded him in his darkness and while rejoicing in his “rebirth” struggles to forge a new relationship with Martin.
Please, pick up a copy of this book. It will enrich your own life and will open your eyes to the lives of others in your community. You will never disability in the same light again.