Monday, April 13, 2009

The Horse Boy by Rupert Isaacson

thehorseboyThe Horse Boy: A Father's Quest to Heal His Son by Rupert Isaacson 357 Pages 2009 5/5 The Horse Boy tells the story of a young boy with Autism and his parents' wish to ease the burdens of it. Not to "cure" his autism, but to lessen the tantrums, the physical incontinence, the extreme displeasure at times. Rupert and Kristin Isaacson's young son is named Rowan, his middle name Besa, taken from a bushman, a shaman from Africa. Rupert and Kristin's lives are dramatically affected by young Rowan's behavior as an autistic child. They want a healing, an answer to his behavior. Rowan's father one day notices an uncanny closeness that Rowan shares with a neighbor's horse, Betsy. The horse bows down in submission when he meets Rowan and the two take to one another immediately. Rowan and his father often go for rides with the horse and it's one of the few times that Rowan's tantrums disappear. He has a connection with not only this horse, but with other animals, all animals really. He's able to recite names of animals that I've never even heard of before. Based on this closeness with horses, Rupert decides (after talking his wife into it) to try an alternative form of healing. He takes his family to Mongolia, land of horses, to visit the Shamans of the land. He paints a beautiful picture of the land itself, of the customs of it's natives, of the enchanting and strange ceremonies of the Shamans. And he paints an even more beautiful picture of his son as he works towards a healing place in a land that he seems born to visit, to inhabit. horseboyreindeerI truly can't say enough about this book. It was beautiful. I've worked with children with autism before and they are beautiful kids. But I also know of their tantrums, and that's not so beautiful. First of all, I applaud Rupert and Kristin for having the courage and the faith to try alternative forms of healing on Rowan. They are wonderful parents, the both of them. One of the things that I loved the most about their views is that they were not looking for a cure for their son. They accept his autism and don't see it as a disease, they see it as somewhat of a gift where he keeps one foot in our world and the other in another world that most of us will never know. But they do want the best life for him and they take us on this incredible journey with them to find it. This story is so heartwarming at times and at other times it's heart-wrenching. We experience the ups and downs of this wonderful little boy, Rowan. There are times when he's almost unbearably cute...sometimes even during his tantrums as he screams "GIR-AAAAAAAFE" and "FRENCH FRY IE IE IE IES". Though I'm sure it's not so cute for Rhorseboydadupert and Kristin. The descriptions of Mongolia, Siberia, and of the shamanic ceremonies themselves are literally breath taking. I lost myself in this story so many times as if it were a work of fiction. This story is not just about autism. It's about alternative healing methods, shamanism, Buddhism to an extent, marriage, child rearing, spirituality in it's various forms, kinship, and hope. It's told effortlessly, yet with so much care and attention and respect to th story itself as it came to be. Rupert Isaacson has started a fund for children with autism and a camp to help children with PDD (pervasive developmental disorder) through equine therapy. Proceeds from this book go to support that. I received a review copy of this one, but you can bet that I'll be buying a copy as well. It's released on April 14th. That's either tomorrow or today depending on when you're reading this and I hope that some of you will read this amazing and touching story. The Horse Boy has also been made into a movie that is currently touring the festival circuit. I can't wait to see this one! Here's the trailer for you to enjoy and for you to meet Rowan and some of his healers: You can also visit the Horse Boy website to learn more about Rowan and his family and to see many more pictures from the journey! Other Views and Opinions: Bermuda Onion

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