A BOY BEYOND REACH by CHERI FLORANCE.
An extraordinary story of a mother's love, a scientists discovery and the rescue of a young boy from his mental jail.
As a scientist and therapist, Dr Cheri Florance had the skills and training to help her patients to overcome speech and hearing difficulties. But nothing could prepare her for her toughest challenge -- her own son Whitney. From birth, he appeared unable to hear, seemed incapable of making any sounds, and was indifferent to those around him. Although the diagnosis of autism seemed to fit, Cheri could not accept the life that such a condition predicted for Whitney. The authorities begged her to institutionalize him and in defying them she jeopardized relationships and her professional reputation. But she saw something in Whitney that no one else did -- a boy who was trapped by his inability to communicate.
In Cheri Florance's intense search for answers, she not only found her son but discovered something profound about the way the brain works and how we learn. This is a story that will resonate with any parent who has struggled to help a child.
...... Outer back cover.
FIRST SENTENCE (Preface): On an unseasonably warm day in December, my sons William, 17, and Whitney, 15, and I strolled through the gates of Columbia University in upper Manhattan.
MEMORABLE MOMENT (Page 44): ... On the surface, he simply appeared to be a child who wouldn't obey. Thus, I got no sympathy from people when we were out in public and Whitney misbehaved. I only got lectured or reprimanded. No one considered that there was anything wrong with Whitney that a tough parenting approach wouldn't fix. I seemed to be a bad parent.
MY THOUGHTS: Such a disappointment, starting out as an interesting and informative read A Boy Beyond Reach soon became a chore to read.
Concerned that it might prove a difficult and jargon-filled read, I need not have worried as in this respect this was a book obviously written by Cheri 'the mother' as opposed to Cheri 'the clinician' and as such was an easy enough read.
Alas if only the rest of the book was written by Cheri 'the mother'.
Expecting this to be a book largely about Whitney - and in many respects it was - it just seemed that the further I read the more this became about Cheri and her endeavours, her successes, her prowess as a clinician.
Becoming increasingly repetitive, apart from Whitney becoming a year older I might well have been re-reading the same segment in which the author educated not only her son but also any other professionals who came into contact with him thus 'saving the day' again and again.
A difficult book to review in that I really didn't warm to Cheri and didn't agree with many of the decisions she made and whilst its ok to comment on a fictional characters failings to me its totally different and can amount to character assassination to do so with an actual person so suffice to say this wasn't a book I particularly enjoyed and there are better examples of this genre out there.
KEEP IT OR NOT?: Ex-library stock, this won't be gracing our shelves.
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