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Ghost Boy: The Miraculous Escape of a Misdiagnosed Boy Trapped Inside His Own Body Paperback – November 19, 2013

4.7 out of 5 stars 1,846 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

'It is a deeply affecting and at times shocking book... The Diving-Bell and the butterfly but with a happy ending' Sunday Times 17/7 'Deeply moving' Mail on Sunday ']Pistorius] is almost fealess in the way he confronts emotional reality' Catherine Deveney, Scotland on Sunday --Catherine Deveney, Scotland on Sunday

About the Author

Martin Pistorius was born in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1975. An unknown illness at the age of twelve left him wheelchair bound and unable to speak, and he spent fourteen years in institutions. In 2001 he learned to communicate via computer, make friends and change his life. In 2008 he met the love of his life, Joanna, and immigrated to the UK. In 2009 they married and in 2010 he started his own business. He describes himself a Geek with a wicked sense of humour and a love of technology. He loves animals, is a keen photographer, enjoys watching cricket, Formula 1 Grand Prix and films, listening to music, spending time with friends and, most of all, being with his wife.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (November 19, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400205832
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400205837
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.8 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,846 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,605 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
When Martin Pistorius was 12 years old, he came home from school with a sore throat. Over the next two years, his mind and body shut down, until he was left a quadriplegic who could not speak. Then, around the time he was 16, his mind started coming back to life. He tells his story in the book, Ghost Boy.

As Martin becomes more aware, he realizes that he has little to no control over his limbs and that he has no voice. All he can do is smile and move his eyes and head. He tries to use these signals to let everyone around him know that he is conscious and aware, but, as he states in the book, "They'd been told long ago that I was severely brain damaged, so when the young man with stick-like limbs, empty eyes, and drool running down his chin occasionally lifted his head, that's what they saw."

Martin spends the next decade in his unresponsive body, without a working voice. His days are spent at a day care facility while his parents work, but his father picks him up every evening to take him home to the family. His mind is active, and he spends much of his time developing elaborate fantasies to escape the horror of being trapped inside his own body; it's the only way he keeps from going mad.

Then a new caretaker enters his life and has a hunch that Martin is aware. She convinces others around her, and they take him to be evaluated for an alternative communication device. He passes the evaluation, and a new life is opened for him.

Martin speaks of his faith in God; that while he couldn't explain it, he knew that God was with him and he wasn't alone. His courage and strength is inspiring, as is the love of his father and mother and the woman he ends up marrying. I couldn't put the book down.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
At first glance one would think this was a one-dimensional tale of a boy who had been silenced learning to find his voice once again. But this book is so much more. By the end, we weep when he weeps and leap for joy when he does. We feel the love he has for his family and friends, and feel as though we have taken the long journey from darkness into the light with him. This is an excellent, must read book. Martin has a beautiful voice, and I thank him for taking is along on his journey.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I will never look at a disabled person in the same way again. Affirms again, my belief in a "right to life". How terrible a fate for this man if people had given up on him. His father's devotion and love toward his son gave rise to unselfish virtue on his part. His caretaker (Virna) who treated him as though he was present (in which he was) and acknowledged his personhood with love and respect, really makes one think twice about the value and dignity that every human person possesses because of who they are and not by what they can or cannot do. Truly an "eye opener". Thank you Martin for sharing your story. :)

*One caveat: Book not recommended for the faint of heart as it explicitly covers the heinous sexual, emotional and physical abuse suffered by the author at the hands of healthcare workers.
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Format: Paperback
Thank you Thomas Nelson via Booksneeze for providing me with a copy of this book!

Martin was a normal, active boy until age 12 when he became ill. His parents took him to see many doctors and they had many test run, but no answers were to be found for his increasingly worse condition. Eventually he was without use of his body or mind. By the time he was 14, it seemed his death was inevitable. Yet Martin’s mind came back – he was finally aware again. His body remained still though and thus begins Martin’s journey as the self-dubbed, “Ghost Boy”. He could see, hear and comprehend all that was happening around him, but he was completely unable to communicate it.

This book is the story of those years as Martin’s mind awakened, but his body did not. In his own words, haunting, yet uplifting, he shows readers what it was like living in a body that refused to help him. He speaks of days in care centers where unimaginable things happened, of days with his parents when he longed to comfort them, but couldn't, of nights when his demons revisited him and left him sleepless.

Martin also shares his triumph. Of finally meeting someone who really saw him and knew he was more than just a shell of a body – knew he could understand what was happening all around him. Through that care worker his hopes were lifted and he worked long and hard to overcome the undiagnosed illness that had left him without speech, without movement, without a life – at first.
Martin is a faithful Christian and he does speak of God and how He is the only one who heard him for so long. However, the story and Martin’s miraculous life is mostly left to speak on its own. His strong, calm, and resolute faith are clear, but not overly stated or gratuitously gushed. I found it struck a nice balance.
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As someone who has worked with people with all types of disabilities for over thirty years, I was drawn to this story. The author and his wife were interviewed on Public Radio and I bought the book based on hearing just a little of their story. It is very well written, and a compelling plea for dignity, equality and independence.
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