October 16, 2015

Review: Ghost Boy: The Miraculous Escape of a Misdiagnosed Boy Trapped Inside His Own Body by Martin Pistorius

Ghost Boy: The Miraculous Escape of a Misdiagnosed Boy Trapped Inside His Own Body
Author: Martin Pistorius
Genre: Memoir/Biography
Release Date: November 12, 2013
Publisher: Thomas Nelson Publishers


They all thought he was gone. But he was alive and trapped inside his own body for ten years.

In January 1988 Martin Pistorius, aged twelve, fell inexplicably sick. First he lost his voice and stopped eating. Then he slept constantly and shunned human contact. Doctors were mystified. Within eighteen months he was mute and wheelchair-bound. Martin's parents were told an unknown degenerative disease left him with the mind of a baby and less than two years to live.

Martin was moved to care centers for severely disabled children. The stress and heartache shook his parents marriage and their family to the core. Their boy was gone. Or so they thought.

Ghost Boy is the heart-wrenching story of one boy's return to life through the power of love and faith. In these pages, readers see a parent's resilience, the consequences of misdiagnosis, abuse at the hands of cruel caretakers, and the unthinkable duration of Martin's mental alertness betrayed by his lifeless body.

We also see a life reclaimed, a business created, a new love kindled all from a wheelchair. Martin's emergence from his own darkness invites us to celebrate our own lives and fight for a better life for others.


Ghost Boy is the raw and emotional memoir of Martin Pistorius, who was misdiagnosed when he fell ill as a preteen and had to endure the next ten years of his life trapped inside his own body and not knowing if things would ever change for him. It's an emotional roller coaster of a book - heartbreaking and tragic, but at the same time full of hope and faith.
I had seen this book around lately and thought that the description sounded incredibly fascinating. I like to read memoirs once in awhile - and this one had a pull to it that I can't explain. It felt like it was just begging me to read it. I'm so happy that I decided to give it a shot! What started out as curiosity and mild intrigue ended up being a truly moving biography that had me hooked from the beginning paragraphs. From the description itself, it's easy to gather the premise of the book - the author fell sick as a child and ended up spending the next ten years of his life mentally aware but unable to communicate due to his shell of a body. There's so much more to the story than that - it was an incredibly emotional book that had my heart breaking for Martin in one section, and then I'd be smiling because of the kindness shown to him from various staff he's encountered and his family's unconditional love and support. It was terrible to read about the time the author was stuck inside his body - he was fully alert and aware of everything going on around him, yet he couldn't let anyone know that he had come back from the darkness because his body was basically useless. It really made me stop and think about what I would do if I was in his situation - the idea seriously horrified me. I don't know how he made it through - not just a small amount of time, but an entire decade! I can only imagine how scary it must have been at first - which then led to frustration, anger, and the realization that this may be the way he has to spend the rest of his life. Alert, aware, alive - but so alone.
This story isn't meant to be one of despair, but one of hope and resilience. The parts in the book where Martin speaks of his time alert but unable to let anyone know - literally trapped inside his body - gave way to several emotions for me; mostly the horror of having to face such a thing, along with admiration for the author and his perseverance, the hope that he never lets die out, and the wonderful support of those who loved and cared about him. I found it interesting that the author claimed that he felt God with him during this experience - even though he had never been a religious person. That's another part of the book that made me stop and think for awhile.  

It's unbelievable what the author had to endure - and continues to go through on a daily basis. Yet he never gave up and continues his life today with that same kind of positive outlook and hope for the future. This is a memoir that everyone should read - it's one of universal truths and topics, so readers of all kinds will be able to relate to both the author and his story. It will definitely make you stop and think, and to be grateful for the life that you've been given - it puts a lot of things in perspective (at least it did for me). I very highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys biographies and memoirs along with anyone who wants a remarkable story full of raw emotion and undying hope.

* I received a copy of the book from the BookLook Bloggers Program in exchange for an honest review. *


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