Customer Reviews: Rex: A Mother, Her Autistic Child, and the Music that Transformed Their Lives
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on October 27, 2008
"Rex", by Cathleen Lewis, is the remarkable testimony of what a mother's love, determination and faith can accomplish in spite of overwhelming challenges. This inspiring story, infused with pure grit juxtaposed with artistic prose, is a beautiful book about a remarkable child with an amazing gift to share. Read it and pass it on. A perfect Christmas gift in the spirit of love!!!
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on October 24, 2008
I just finished "Rex" by Cathleen Lewis, about a mothers complete devotion to her child who was diagnosed with a large brain cyst at birth then 6 months later with blindness due to an underdeveloped optic nerve. It is so completely moving and keeps you right in the moment with both of them. The transformations that occur in their lives are charged with so many emotions, which are expertly conveyed by the writer. With every small success Rex has, a new roadblock seems to be thrown down. To say it is inspirational is a tremendous understatement. This is a fantastic book for anyone to read. Enjoy!
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on November 10, 2008
This is the story of the transforming power of love, specifically a mother's love for her child. It is the story of the awesome gift of music and its healing power. It is the story of rediscovered faith with all of the strength and hope that only faith can offer. Cathleen's son has autism and is blind. She tells her story of overcoming tremendous odds to reach her son and help him overcome so many of his hardships through his gift of music. I cried but also felt tremendous joy. This book will touch your heart.
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on April 2, 2009
I recently finished the book Rex by Cathleen Lewis. I thought this was an excellent book about an amazing story. Rex is a boy that was born with an unfortunate variety of problems that left him blind, and incredibly sensitive to both sound and light. The amazing thing is that through all this, Rex has become an incredible piano virtuoso and can play pretty much anything after hearing it only a few times. You may have seen Rex and him mom Cathleen interviewed on 60 minutes in the last few months. I think that part of the story that is even more amazing than Rex's story is the life changes his mom goes through as Rex is born and grows up. The book is written by Cathleen Lewis, Rex's mom, and so there is a lot of insight into her struggles as a mother that wants nothing but the best for her child and has to come to terms with the fact that her son is not going to be like all the other kids. Another great aspect is the spiritual journey that Cathleen goes through; the anger and arguments with God, the pleading and reasoning, and then realization that God was still going to use Rex for amazing things, just not the same things that she originally expected.

Overall, this was an excellent book about a very true story, and I would highly recommend it.
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on September 16, 2011
I read this book in about 5 hours taking two days. I found it to be a very interesting book and I enjoyed reading it. I didn't agree with a few things Cathleen did, but then I haven't walked in her shoes either with a boy that requires 24/7 care.

As an older mother, Cathleen had an adorable baby boy, Rex, who was born with a cyst in his brain. Then, when Rex was six months old, his parents learned he was blind. After another surgery, at the age of 1 year, to put a tube into the brain cyst, Rex became quite different and Cathleen learned he was autistic (until the surgery, he had seemed to be a normal blind child--right after the surgery, he became autistic. Did the surgery cause the autism, or was it a coincidence? That seemed to never be addressed). Then when Rex was two, his Dad left the family, so Cathleen became a single mom with lots of problems to cope with. HOWEVER, I consider that Rex was pretty lucky, as his mother was able to take full time care of him. She noticed that music calmed him, and then later found out that he could just hear a piece of music, and play it on a small piano. The became his way of communicating with people and learning things at school. In the meantime, Cathleen learned that God is always there but doesn't always answer the way we want him to--she changed her outlook on religion completely.

This was, to me, a fastinating book partly because I have always been interested in genius savants. It seems amazing what they can do--way beyond the normal. This account of Rex goes from just before he was born to when he was about the age of 12. If possible, I would like to know how much he develops past this age and what his life is like as a young adult.
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VINE VOICEon February 20, 2011
I really enjoyed this book! Before reading this book I had seen Rex and/or Derek Paravicini (who is also mentioned in the book) on a 60 Minutes spot. When I saw this book available on sale for my Kindle, I had to try it out.

I found this book very interesting. I connected with this book more than the typical my-child-has-a-disability memoir that I've read. As a Speech-Language Pathologist who works in schools, I could identify with the author's struggles of getting Rex help within the school "system". She struggled to get him the appropriate help that he needed throughout elementary school, and honestly, is probably still struggling with that today. But, she didn't give up on the school. She didn't pull him out to home school him or put him in a special school and while I'm sure she may have wanted to scream or even give up, she doesn't seem to have done either of those things. It's refreshing to hear about a parent of a child with a disability who truly is their child's advocate. So many parents simply send their children off to school assuming that the school can fix their child, it's their job.

I also found Rex to be truly fascinating. I loved hearing his story of how he came out of his shell with his piano. But, even more interesting to me was his first words and how his communication came about. I loved hearing about his interactions with peers, adults, and with Derek Paravicini when they met. When I got to that part at the end of the story I watched the 5 part series on youtube and it helped to bring the whole book together.

Cathleen Lewis did a great job telling her story of her life with Rex thus far. She didn't come off as someone who wants pity or anything like that. I thought it was well written and put together. At the end of the the book, she suddenly got very religious in her writing. I found this part to be a bit distracting from the overall information in the book. That's just my opinion.

As for the Kindle edition, there were a couple of unclosed quotation marks and some spacing issues where some words ran together, but they were minor and probably just due to the formatting or programming that goes into conversion. Not a big deal.
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on July 30, 2011
I loved this book! A TRUE story of a mother's unconditional love for her child. I loved reading when Rex made another mile stone.

This book shows what a mother can do to make the life of her child better.

I was a little upset that it didn't seem that Rex's father wasn't in the picture more. I think he should have been there cheering Rex on also.
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on November 17, 2008
Cathleen Lewis tells a truly remarkable story of motherly love coupled with faith and steely determination. This well-written book is a page turner, you simply can't put it down as you travel with her through the depths of the challenges and the highs of the victories as they unfold. To me it was the story of both hope as well as an account of what patience, love and determination can bring to the life of a child who otherwise might never have blossomed. Bravo to Cathleen Lewis!
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on February 13, 2013
When I read a book and don't have to skip pages you know it's a good one. I was so grateful to be able to read such a deep feeling book. I am forever in debt to the author of this book.

Amazing story about amazing people. The child wasn't the only hero in this book, there were many. But the most special was the dedicated and ever alert Mother. She read the signs and acted upon them. She fought for her child. She knew what he could do.

I would recommend this book to anyone, not just only those affected with Autism. This is one of the best books I've ever read.
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on April 4, 2009
I worked with special needs children for six years and I can tell you right now that it was never a picnic. Taking care of the children can be absolutely painstaking, but when you see the random glimmer of a smile or hope spread across their face, it all seems worth it. This was the background I had coming into Rex, and now, seeing it from the perspective of a parent, I was touched. Imagining the heartache of discovering your child is blind, only to find out later he's also autistic... my God. Questioning God, as Lewis did, would likely be the first thing I would do and possible the last time I would ever consider God again.

But their journey is far from over, and the promising effect Rex had on other children, special needs and not, was so thrilling. Yet, while the story was amazing, Lewis' writing was simply average, nothing too outstanding. She can hold her own against young authors, with some basic, yet sublime, imagery, but I doubt I would buy another novel from her. This is the story of Rex, however, and it is one definitely worth reading, especially for the millions of parents who have to power through a traumatic event similar to that of Lewis.
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