Quest to Heal His Son
audio book: 10.5 hours
*** About the Book ***
When Rupert and Kristen's son, Rowan, is diagnosed with autism, their world begins to crumble. Rowan's language skills stall, he has violent tantrums, and he doesn't seem to connect with the people around him. What he DOES connect with is are horses. When Rowan and his dad ride together, Rowan's little body relaxes and he begins to speak more and more.
Traditional autism therapies aren't working for Rowan and Rupert and Kristen are at their wits end. That's when Rupert comes up with his "crazy idea": a trip to outer Mongolia, to a culture built upon horses. Rupert has a deep respect for shamanism due to his friendship with several African shamans; he is convinced that with the help of horses and the Mongolian shamans, Rowan's life can improve.
What happens in Mongolia is both heartbreaking and wonderful, and you simply have to read to find out all about it.
*** Why I Read It ***
A while back I read a review of this book over at Stuff As Dreams Are Made On and I found it fascinating. Chris said that this was one of his favorite books this year. I knew I didn't have time to read it at the moment but I was really intrigued. So when I found it on audio at my library I snatched it up right away.
*** My Thoughts ***
This book hit me really hard, in a way I was not expecting. As I listened to Rupert talk about Kristen's pregnancy and Rowan's birth I was struck by the fact that Rowan is exactly one month older than Kiddo. Woah. This could have been MY life. From that point on, whenever Rowan's age was mentioned my mind went back immediately to thoughts of Kiddo at that same age. I would think, "While we were enjoying X, they were dealing with Y." It was a very strange and moving experience. Kiddo came in while I was listening to the first part of the book and asked me about it. I explained as simply as I could about autism and Rowan's connection with horses. His response was "That is really interesting - really sad, but really interesting."
Back to the book itself ...
This was an amazing book. What I know about autism is ... not much, really. I also don't particularly identify with belief in shamanism or similar religions. But that didn't matter at all - I still really enjoyed listening to this book.
I admire Rupert and Kristen for their conviction to keep trying, to be open minded about things that might help Rowan. They didn't simply do what the doctors said - they tried to think outside the box, and they got results.
Not only is their story interesting and inspiring, it is well written as well. Rupert was (is?) a travel writer so he is very skilled at bringing the various places they travel to life on the page.
*** About the Narrator ***
This book was narrated by the author. IF the author has a good speaking voice, I prefer that he/she narrates - it brings me more fully into the book. And in this case the author was the perfect narrator. Hearing him describe the crises and triumphs their family experienced was very moving. I highly recommend this audio book.
*** The Movie ***
Documentary filmmakers (and friends of the Isaacson family) accompanied them on the Mongolia trip and filmed much of their experiences. Some of the funnier moments in the books revolved around these guys and their loads of camera equipment.
The footage they took has been make into a film which is playing in select cities this Fall. Check the schedule here to see if your town is on the list. I'm glad to see that it is playing in Baltimore - you can bet I'll be there to see it!
Here's a trailer for it. Just to let you know, after reading this book seeing the video brings tears to my eyes.
*** Other Reviews ***
Be sure to check out these other reviews. And if you've read this book please let me know.