Holiday Gift Guide - Book Review - Seeing Ezra

If you are looking for a book for someone in your life who as been touched by Autism Spectrum Disorders, or you enjoy reading parenting stories about dealing with extraordinary circumstances, then I recommend that you check out Seeing Ezra: A Mother's Story of Autism, Unconditional Love, and the Meaning of Normal

From the Publisher:

When Kerry Cohen’s son Ezra turned one, his babysitter suggested that Ezra may be “different”—a comment that set Cohen’s family on a path that ultimately changed their entire world. Every year, 1 in 110 children are diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder; that year, Ezra became one of those children.

Seeing Ezra: A Mother’s Story of Autism, Unconditional Love, and the Meaning of Normal is Cohen’s soulful, beautifully written memoir of her fierce love for her autistic son. Seeing Ezra follows Cohen and her family as they navigate the often rigid and prescriptive world of therapy, from tests and evaluations to vitamins and programs specifically targeted at autistic children. As Ezra becomes a toddler and they further explore treatment, Cohen is unsettled by their experiences: At home, Ezra is playfully expressive, sharing profound, touching moments of connection and intimacy, but in therapy he is pathologized and prodded to behave in ways that stifle his unique expression of autism.

It soon becomes clear that more is at stake than just Ezra’s well-being; Cohen and her marriage are suffering as well. Ezra’s differentness, and the strain of pursuing varied therapies, takes a toll on their relationship—Cohen’s husband grows depressed, and she pursues an affair. It isn’t until they abandon the expected, prescriptive notions about love, marriage, and individuality that they are able to come back together as two parents who deeply love their little boy.

My Review:

As a mom who recognized my son's differences before his therapists did and pushed for testing for him, I don't know the anguish of having someone else help me along with the diagnosis, but reading Kerry Cohen's story helped me to understand the process that my husband went through when we got the Autism diagnosis.

Reading Ms. Cohen's story, I found myself nodding in parts, and reading with interest how our paths as Autism moms were similar in places and where we'd taken different routes - sometimes ending up in the same place and sometimes finding out new places for me to explore with my own child.

I found Ms. Cohen's writing style to be candid, forthright and amazingly open as she shared her journey into the Autism world.  I would recommend this book for parents, grandparents, friends and even older siblings who are part of the sphere of Autism.  What she put down in words for all to see is part of the struggle that we all have as parents, to make sure our children have the best life they can and as a member of the Autism Army I know that our path has the most questions and the fewest answers... by sharing her story she opens up the opportunity to evaluate our own feelings and relationships and for that I thank her.