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Following Ezra: What One Father Learned About Gumby, Otters, Autism, and Love From His Extraordinary Son Paperback – September 6, 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: NAL Trade; Original edition (September 6, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451234634
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451234636
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #668,819 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Following Ezra is a revelation. I could not put it down. This inspiring memoir of a father raising (and being raised by) his autistic son is a great lesson about patience and the blessings that can come when we let our unique children lead us."
--Rabbi Naomi Levy, author of To Begin Again and Hope Will Find You

"A riveting account of raising one special boy, Following Ezra is a powerful story for parents of any child. This inspiring book shows us that seeing meaning and depth in our children's idiosyncrasies is crucial to raising strong, secure and resilient kids. Tom Fields-Meyer has written a beautiful, funny, tender book."
--Michael Gurian, New York Times bestselling author of The Wonder of Boys

"Anyone who is raising a child with special needs should read Following Ezra. It shows how warmth and humor--yes, humor--can help not just the child, but the family, more than most of us could ever imagine."
--James Patterson, New York Times bestselling author

"The moving, fascinating story of a father's journey toward understanding and hope."
--Daniel Tammet, New York Times bestselling author of Born on a Blue Day

"Following Ezra is an unsentimental, beautifully written memoir about a boy whose limitations and gifts are as extraordinary as his impact on the reader's life. Like Ezra himself, this book is by turns funny, painful, poignant and scrupulously honest."
--Rabbi David J. Wolpe, author of Why Faith Matters

"I trust the parent who yields to wonder and celebrates the unexpected. Love is the river that runs through this book. Dignity and grace light each page."
--Beth Kephart, National Book Award finalist for A Slant of Sun, and author of Undercover

"When Tom Fields-Meyer's son Ezra was diagnosed with autism, the author decided to forego mourning for the child who might have been, and concentrate instead on the delightful kid he had. Following Ezra is at once a meticulous description of what it is to parent a child who has autism, and a salute to the kid whose mind takes both of them to mysterious, profound, and silly places we so-called typical adults can scarcely imagine."
--Carolyn See, author of Making a Literary Life, and grandmother of a child with autism

About the Author

Tom Fields-Meyer is an author and journalist. A former senior writer for People, he has written for dozens of publications, including The New York Times Magazine and The Wall Street Journal. A native of Portland, Oregon and a graduate of Harvard, he lives in Los Angeles with his wife and their three sons.

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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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Thank you both for this wonderful contribution.
SUSAN GARSON
Following Ezra is an amazing book about how a father's love for his son transforms all expectations about parenting.
Constance
This is a book all parents and grandparents should read.
Sheila Goldman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By AK on September 6, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Following Ezra" is a most extraordinary book -- much like the teenager mentioned in its title. Tom Fields-Meyer is a wonderfully gifted writer who has delivered a heartfelt AND humorous memoir of his journey watching his autistic son grow up. The book is fully of touching moments and hilarious ones. I am blessed to know the amazing Fields-Meyer family, and this book truly captures Tom's gentle, wise, observant, patient, paternal and sometimes exasperating journey through parenting Ezra. Ezra is an exceptional boy, who never fails to ask me if my dog, George, is still dead. There are a lot of books out there about autism. And while this book obviously deals with autism, it's really about a father trying to figure out how to reach his son and how to honor who he is, while never losing sight of the two things that matter most in parenting -- love and laughter.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By TGL on October 17, 2011
Format: Paperback
First, full disclosure. I am acquainted with the author and his son, having worked with them on a publishing project. I expected to enjoy the book in part because of our acquaintance, but very soon realized that our association was irrelevant; I was riveted to the book just as much as if I'd picked it up at random, because it's a beautifully-written story with a powerfully universal message. It doesn't matter if you don't know anyone with autism (I don't), or don't even have children (I don't). Ezra's autism, and the author's approach to it, have a lot to teach all of us. For example, it made me realize that The Social Contract, which allows us to live together in relative harmony, is a dauntingly complex and contradictory arrangement when seen through the eyes of a literalist. It made me appreciate Judaism for it's emphasis on memory, community and healing a broken world. And it made me realize that we're all a bit autistic - it's just a matter of degree. But, most importantly, it made me realize the healing power of patience, creativity, family and community. So, don't read it because it's a story about autism. Read it because it's a well-crafted, moving story, period. As full of humor, insight and drama as any fiction, but with the authenticity of truth.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By J. Kronenberg on October 6, 2011
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I read an article in the Wall Stree Journal by the author, in which he essentially summarized his book. I immediately picked up my iPhone, went to Amazon, and ordered a copy of this book. It arrived two days later. I read it in immediately in one enraptures sitting. For me, this book is one of those rare "game changers": I have read lists of symptoms and strategies until I glaze over, but this loving memoir makes autism "real" for me. And it makes me see how special their worlds are, and how much we can learn from their out of the box view of the world. This is an extraordinary book!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Constance on September 6, 2011
Format: Paperback
Following Ezra is an amazing book about how a father's love for his son transforms all expectations about parenting. Vivid, engaging vignettes about his unique son and how he deals with all of the unexpected journeys of parenthood provide all of us with perspective we can use. Even though the story is about a son who has autism, it applies to all parents and how we should love our children. Great tips on how to handle sticky situations, how to laugh at absurdly uncomfortable situations and how ordinary activities take on incredible meaning. One minute you're squirming in an awkward situation, the next you're laughing out loud. I read it in one night. This book is the zen of parenting. A must-read for all.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Deborah A. Musher on September 20, 2011
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Following Ezra is a beautiful, inspirational book for every parent. Fields-Meyer teaches us to embrace, accept, and love our children for who they are, not who we want them to be . . . and this is a poignant lesson for any parent, whether or not he/she has a child with special needs. An easy read that flows beautifully, I'm recommending this one to all my friends.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By MLR on September 6, 2011
Format: Paperback
I loved this book. "Following Ezra" is a wonderful, uplifting story about the evolution of one parent's relationship with his autistic son. As author Tom Fields-Meyer notes, it's the book he would have wanted to read when he learned his son Ezra had autism. But this book is much more than that -- it's the book all parents should read when they learn they are becoming parents. With love, humor and a true desire to let Ezra lead him, Fields-Meyer teaches us all that what our children need most is parents who love and appreciate them no matter what challenges they may face. I found myself laughing out loud on one page and shedding a tear the next as the author traces the triumphs, disappointments and revelations that come with raising a boy like Ezra.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By JG on October 6, 2011
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This is an amazing book about an amazing father and son. It tells the story of how a loving father learned how to help his autistic son -- and moreover, how his son helped him. The lessons are so global -- for any parent or nonparent (like me). Reading it was fun, fast, and meaningful. Buy and read it. I promise you'll be glad you did.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Marty Holthaus on October 4, 2011
Format: Paperback
If you are looking for books about autism or books on parenting, in general, I would highly recommend starting with Following Ezra: What One Father Learned About Gumby, Otters, Autism, and Love From His Extraordinary Son. It is one of the best parenting books I have ever read. As someone who has trouble finishing a book from start to finish, I could not put this one down. Every evening after work, my wife and children already asleep, I would sit down with this book and read another chapter or two. Like others who have commented here and elsewhere, I was sad to come to the end. The story (and its characters - the writer and his young boy) are that compelling. Tom Fields-Meyer not only teaches us what it is to live with autism - and what autism is, he offers parents of autistic children (and, truly, parents of any kind of child) what it is to listen and learn and be open to the special gifts that each of our children have to offer. By nature, I parent in an overly controlling way. As I spent time with this book each night, I found myself relating to my two boys in a much more relaxed and patient manner. For that I am forever grateful.
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