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Seeing Ezra: A Mother's Story of Autism, Unconditional Love, and the Meaning of Normal Hardcover – August 30, 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Seal Press (August 30, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580053696
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580053693
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,107,275 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review


"Bravo to Cohen for giving us such a deep, rich tale of motherhood."
— Vicki Forman, author of This Lovely Life

"What is the experience of mothering an autistic child? And what is the experience of negotiating the world's reaction to that autism? This is a book to think with, a brave meditation on love and acceptance.Not just for mothers—this is a beautiful story about being human."
— Ariel Gore, founding editor of Hip Mama, and author of Bluebird: Women and the New Psychology of Happiness

"Cohen writes an intense and penetrating story. Her honesty is gripping and heartbreaking, her struggles are laid bare for the reader and her perseverance—on behalf of her child—is inspiring. Seeing Ezra is an important book."
— Jennifer Lauck, author of the memoirs Found and Blackbird

"Seeing Ezra is a love story and a portrait of Ezra as Ezra, with all the simplicity and complexity that entails. It is a story skillfully told by a mother who understands her son for who he is and for what he brings to the world on his own terms."
Robert Rummel-Hudson, author of Schuyler's Monster: A Father's Journey with his Wordless Daughter


About the Author

Kerry Cohen grew up in northern New Jersey, right across the George Washington Bridge from Manhattan. She has two master’s degrees, one in writing from the University of Oregon, and one in counseling psychology from Pacific University.

After publishing her first memoir, Loose Girl: A Memoir of Promiscuity, Cohen received thousands of messages from girls and women who felt that in telling her story, she had told their own shameful, unspoken story as well. Following that experience, her work as a counselor has primarily concerned adolescent girls and sexuality, relationship issues, and addictions. Her next book on the “loose” issue, Dirty Little Secrets: Breaking the Silence on Teenage Girls and Promiscuity, is forthcoming in September 2011.

Cohen’s writing has been featured in The New York Times’ “Modern Love” series and the Washington Post, as well as numerous anthologies, literary journals, and periodicals. She has appeared on Dr. Phil, Secret Lives of Women, The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet, and the BBC, as well as in Marie Claire, the UK's Daily Mail, South African People Magazine. She currently maintains a blog for Psychology Today.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

More About the Author

Kerry Cohen is the author of seven books, including the bestselling Loose Girl: A Memoir of Promiscuity and Seeing Ezra: A Mother's Story of Autism, Unconditional Love, and The Meaning of Normal. Three more books: The anthology Spent: Exposing Women's Complicated Relationship to Shopping; The Truth of Memoir: How to Write about Yourself and Others with Honesty, Emotion, and Integrity; and Girl Trouble: A Memoir are forthcoming. She has appeared on Dr Phil and Good Morning America, and has had her essays featured in The New York Times Modern Love series and The Washington Post. She has a psychotherapy practice and lives with the writer James Bernard Frost and their four children in Portland, Oregon.

Customer Reviews

It's a quick and pleasant read.
Meredith Zolty
It's nothing I agree with and it sounds like she's in denial, though I think she admits that much.
NatomaMommy
It always helps me to read about how other moms are dealing with challenges.
A. Chambers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A. Chambers on September 8, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I'm learning that the more personal a book is to me, the harder it is to review it. Seems like it should make it easier, but it doesn't. I don't totally agree with Ms. Cohen on some things, but that doesn't make the book any less impactful. I finished this book four days ago, but I couldn't find the words to write a review.

At first, I found it hard to relate to her because when she first started seeking help for her son, she didn't want anyone to think badly of him, so she didn't tell the doctors and therapists everything they needed to know to properly evaluate him. I'm a straight-up kind of gal, and I figure that even if the "experts" don't have all the answers, they can't help us if they don't know what's going on. Eventually, though, she moved past that. She came to a point at which she could tell the doctors everything, but she didn't hesitate to get up and walk out if their needs weren't being met. That's my kind of mom.

The question Ms. Cohen keeps repeating in her book is one that I think every parent of a special-needs child faces. It doesn't matter what your opinion is on alternative therapies, or curing autism. The most important thing is: Where is the line between helping him with the areas where the world feels hard for him and negating who he is?

There is some foul language in this book, but don't let that stop you. It always helps me to read about how other moms are dealing with challenges. Not only do I usually learn something, it helps me to not feel so alone. (No matter how much support we have, I think sometimes we all feel like no one else knows what it's like.)

I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Meredith Zolty on October 3, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Cohen's story is less about her son and his challenges than it is about her - as a mother, as a wife, as a woman - learning to understand and accept her sudden recruitment into the autism parenting army. It's a quick and pleasant read. I found myself making little check marks in the margins as I found Cohen putting words to feelings I had experienced over the last couple of years raising my own son on the spectrum. Frustration at sitting outside a party: check. Anger at strangers giving unsolicited advice and unnecessary pity: check. Seeking an escape route from this strange new life? Father with Aspie tendencies? Husband depressed because he wants to move? Check check check.

Cohen has few kind words for the parade of professionals responsible for conducting diagnostic testing; how can someone who has never met her son pretend to know anything about him without treating him like a data point, she argues. Seeing Ezra chronicles her internal journey to a place where she feels comfortable enough with herself to stand up to all the therapists who want to make her son "normal." She bristles at the idea that something must be done to fix her son, because she has never seen him as broken. He is perfectly Ezra.

I recommend Seeing Ezra, especially to ASD parents and to therapists who may need to be reminded that the kids they are working with are, first and foremost, kids - kids who like to play and laugh and who need nothing more than love.

Thanks to the generous folks at Seal Press, my blog, The Ryan Files ([...]) will be giving away a copy of Seeing Ezra to one lucky reader. To enter, go to the blog's Facebook page and write "Love is normal" on the wall. I will select a winner at random on 10/18/11. Good luck!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By vsquared on August 26, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Although someone's personal experience cannot be judged the same as a novel, still it felt as though this story never really got off the ground and stayed mostly the same throughout. I finished the book, but didn't feel the better for it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ullanta on March 5, 2014
Format: Paperback
I am tempted to write some disclaimer about how everyone's experience differs and that one shouldn't judge the emotions and responses of others in difficult situations. But... then I think about this mother describing a scene where she she brings her newborn baby on a picnic in the course of an extramarital affair, where she drinks while nursing (descussing how she thinks the baby might be getting "a little tipsy, too"), then gets into the car with the baby and goes for a drive while "a little tipsy." This woman prejudges every medical or therapeutic professional she interacts with to the point that there's no chance that anything could possibly meet with success. But most problematically for me, reading this book has such a sense of anger, bitterness, and recklessness that it leaves me feeling grimy. In evaluations sessions, she walks in, delivers an ultimatum about how the evaluation will be the way she wants or they'll leave, decides everyone there has an agenda that will not benefit her son, and then sits there in the evaluation saying "He fails" at this, then "he fails" at that, then "he fails" at the next thing; the fact that he's "failing" upsets her so she ends the evaluation. Repeatedly. This is a great misunderstanding of the concept of evaluation, and this notion of "failure" is something SHE is bringing into the situation, and into her son's life. It hurts to read. I was shocked to find out that the author supposedly is trained as a psychotherapist - she certainly doesn't seem to have understanding of basic concepts involved in therapy (or basic teaching). She goes to doctors to discuss her sons frequent illness and extremely limited diet, but always prejudges the doctor and gets to a point where she storms out...Read more ›
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