On the shelf: ‘The Horse Boy: A Father’s Quest to Heal His Son’, by Rupert Isaacson

the-horseboyOn the Shelf Book Review

The cover of the book caught my eye at first. The horse, with its eyes closed, letting out some sort of loud neigh up to the sky — the little boy with his arm reaching up so high, and the man with his head back, mirroring the horse, looking at the boy — What on earth was this all about? At the end of the book I recalled Hamlet speaking to his friend: “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 5

The rates of autism are skyrocketing, while it remains a puzzling conundrum for doctors, parents and society. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, which is part of our government’s National Institute of Health, lists many Autism Spectrum Disorder associations. There are lots of ideas as to the why, what and how of dealing with autism, and the protocols can be quite different. In the meantime, parents struggle to provide the best life for their child.

It’s inspiring (that’s too weak — amazing is more like it) to read a story like this one, where the parents have literally gone to the ends of the earth for answers. Most parents of an autistic child will not be able to pack up and travel through Outer Mongolia, on a quest to find the Reindeer People, whose Shaman was reputed to be an exceptional healer.

But many of the experiences, and discoveries that the Isaacsons made might be applicable closer to home. Along with the fascinating trip through Mongolia on horseback, the author shares parts of what is known” or being postulated about autism, and this new science is worked into the story. A certain experience creates a type of brain stimulation, that can help injured areas, and one would not need to go to Mongolia to recreate this.

This book has great writing, science, travel and humor; and since autism can be so challenging (often heartbreaking), the beauty, humor and spirituality contained herein is wonderful. “Code Brown!!”

I took the audio version on an 8-hour trip and found that I never got tired of wondering what would happen next, and I am a person who can only take about 10 minutes of poor writing or dullness. Life is too short to waste on mediocre books!

So you won’t have to worry about the will it be interesting enough for a whole book?” factor. As soon as I finished I hoped there would be a sequel someday; a follow-up on what is happening with Rowan and his family, and Betsy.