Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Horse Boy - Rupert Isaacson

Subtitled: A Father's Quest to Heal His Son

I really enjoy a good biography or memoir and The Horse Boy did not disappoint.

When Rupert and Kristin's son Rowan is diagnosed with autism, they try everything they can think of to help him. Nothing seems to be bringing their boy back to them. Until the day when Rowan runs into a neighbouring pasture at their home in Texas and straight at a horse named Betsy. Hot on his heels, Rupert is terrified that his son will be injured. Instead, the unexpected happens - Betsy puts her head down in submission to the boy . Rupert, a former professional horse trainer, encourages this interest. Father and son begin riding together. Rowan's behaviour is markedly changed during interaction with the horse.

In addition to horse training, Rupert is "the founding director of the Indigenous Land Rights Fund, a non-profit organization that helps threatened and displaced indigenous tribes obtain tenure of their ancestral land." He has participated with the shamans of Botswana in healing ceremonies. (He's also an award winning author)

Could these two seemingly disparate interests help his son? He believes that they can. Kristin, Rupert, Rowan and an entire film crew set off to Outer Mongolia and Siberia. Much of the journey will be on horseback to visit the shamans of these areas and see if they can help Rowan.

And that's as much as I'm going to give you......

I listened to this in unabridged audio format. The reader was the author himself. And I don't think the story would have has as much impact for me if it been anyone else. Isaacson was born in England. I enjoyed his accent. His heartache, anguish and happiness are conveyed through his voice. Life with Rowan and all that goes with it is projected through his narrative. The screaming, the repetitiveness, the coping mechanisms employed by both Rowan his parents. The love for their child. I was so caught up in this story and the possibilities that were offered.

The Horse Boy has been made into a film and is a Sundance 2009 selection and has won other awards as well. Definitely one I want to watch. The Isaacsons have started a foundation in Texas that pursues the horse/autism connection.

Watch this great video to get just a taste....

This one goes on my best of 2009 list. Highly, recommended.


Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

I love a good memoir - I will def add this to my to-read list.

I should listen to more books. I do many 2-3 hour drives by myself to my parents' lake cabin & I bet that would make the time go by so much faster.

Thanks for bringing this book to my attention. So much to read, so little time!!!

Dar said...

I'm glad to hear that this is good. I won it on audio a while back but haven't listened to it yet.

bermudaonion said...

I agree with you - no one could have read this as well as the author. I really want to see the documentary of this one but it won't be showing near me.

Myckyee said...

I've seen this book around and it looks interesting. Great review!