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The Horse Boy: A Memoir of Healing Paperback – Bargain Price, April 2, 2010

4.5 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Isaacson's astonishing memoir reveals how, inspired by these rare moments in the saddle, he began a quest through Mongolia to heal his five-year-old son....  Isaacson's journey to heal his son is just that, a healing, not a cure. But he wouldn't want it any other way. While the author's purpose was to draw Rowan out of his autism, he came to realize the overlooked gifts it entails. The Horse Boy will leave readers with a new appreciation for autism and the healing techniques of other cultures; like Rowan, they, too, will be changed forever." (Bookpage )

"Everyone who is fascinated by the human-animal bond should read this totally engrossing book."  (author of Animals in Translation Dr. Temple Grandin )

"Rupert Isaacson has conjured a non-fiction journey that reads like an epic novel. It is a book of endless amazements. The world of Mongolian shamans, the details of adventuresome travel, the mysterious world of autism--all are all amazing. Soon, you realize that the world of horses is mysterious, too--and, yes, amazing. By the time you are in the grip of this book, you'll see love, marriage, and parenthood as a realm of magic, profound power, and further amazements. The Horse Boy can change the way you see your life, and it's a terrifically good read at the same time. It feels like a classic." (author of The Hummingbird's Daughter and The Devil's Highway Luis Alberto Urrea )

"In this intense, polished account, the parents of an autistic boy trek to the Mongolian steppes to consult shamans in a last-ditch effort to alter his unraveling behavior.... Isaacson records heartening improvement in Rowan's firestormlike tantrums and incontinence, as he taps into an ancient, valuable form of spirit healing." (Publishers Weekly )

"A colorful real-life adventure with inspiring results." (Good Housekeeping )

"Isaacson charts his son's progress and regressions with an endearing tenderness....  Readers also follow the rare moments when Rowan expresses affection for his father, who is honest and humble throughout. And the author's chatty and self-deprecating storytelling adds a welcome buoyancy to a weighty experience.  Meanwhile, Mongolia makes a fetching backdrop for this father/son love story....  Rooting for Rowan through all this... makes The Horse Boy an unexpected page turner." (The Cleveland Plain Dealer )

About the Author

Rupert Isaacson was born in London to a South African mother and a Zimbabwean father. Isaacson's first book, The Healing Land (Grove Press), was a 2004 New York Times Notable Book. He has travelled extensively in Africa, Asia, and North America for the British press and now lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife, Kristin, and their son, Rowan.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Back Bay Books; Reprint edition (April 2, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316008249
  • ASIN: B0057DA1TK
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,261,360 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I couldn't put this book down. I felt, as though I was living the story. My son has autism and this book brought so much insight into my world. I look at my son in a completely new way. I have more hope and understanding for my child. This is a must read and my favorite book ever. This book was extremely inspirational & fun to read!
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Excellent account of how much parents love their children in general and how far parents will go to try to help children with special needs. All the while, these parent maintain a very realistic perspective. Compelling reading.
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Format: Paperback
Rupert Isaacson has written a terrific travel story, coupled with a highly personal narrative. For me the combination worked incredibly well, probably because it combined two of my favorite forms of non-fiction. I listened to the audio-book format narrated by Issacson. I can be leary of author narrated audio books but in this case it really works. In fact, it was probably essential. I can't imagine that anyone could have done Issacson's son's voice so well as the father. Listening to "Horse Boy" confirmed that my favorite genre of writing these days is personal narrative, especially when it has the journalistic sensibility of Isaacson's writing combined with skillful attention to descriptive detail. Such books inspire, inform and satisfy.
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This book tells the story of the healing of an autistic boy who went on a horseback riding adventure in Mongolia to receive healing sessions from the shamans. As it turned out, this ancient way of healing that he received from the shamans was more helpful than any western medical treatment. The horses also played a huge role in the boy's healing. The book was colorfully and beautifully written (with some humor). I was mesmerized and could not put it down. It comforted me and gave me an escape from the chaos of my own life. I highly recommend this book to anyone who has a relative who is autistic, who is open minded and intrigued by the ancient knowledge of the shamans, who loves horses or who just wants to be entrenched in a good book.
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Horse Boy is informative, exciting, and a flowing read. I have a son with autism, and I could relate to the daily strange circumstances a family is in with autism! I especially liked the combination of humor and "tragic" reality. I can't wait for my bookclub to discuss it!
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Format: Paperback
Science understands little of how our minds work. Autism is a malfunction of the mental system about which there is no clear knowledge of cause, treatment, or outcome. There are no experts in the field and most evidence is anecdotal. Among those who have studied the syndrome there are conflicting opinions on all counts leaving the parents of children so affected to fend for themselves leading to a pragmatic, if it works lets keep doing it, approach. Dealing with a growing energetic six-year-old who refuses to be toilet trained, throws screaming, flailing tantrums for hours, and cannot communicate his/her needs, fears, desires is beyond exhausting. It obviously takes over one’s life. Little wonder 80% of parents’ marriages end in divorce.

One facet of the syndrome is an affinity for animals which is mutual in this case a bond being forged between boy and a particular horse. We’ve read of horse whisperers but here we have a boy who communicates with animals on a non-verbal level. His parents travel to the ends of the Earth to ride horses and find Shaman whose own people have largely ignored whose prayers and rituals work an uncanny healing. There is no cure for this condition but anything that can ameliorate the stress and help parents and child cope is welcome. Reading the book will take you along for the ride.
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Format: Paperback
I had to read this book for my bookclub and I m glad I read it. The book is so touching, fascinating and moving, and definitely makes you sympathize with this little boy and his father's quest. I thoroughly respect the father for his love for his child and the struggles he went through to help his son heal. I met similar parents to those of this little boy who did what they could to help understand what their two children go through.

This book is well-written and is a must-read for those who know nothing about autism or having a child who might be less able than others to live their lives normally. The journey the parents took to heal their son was incredibly described in the book and makes the reader engage more with the story. It makes you put yourself in their shoes and see what they went through in their journey.

One more reason why I loved this book is because I worked voluntarily with down syndrome children in Kuwait and could more likely relate to what those children go through and how special they could be. They definitely need special care and treatment for they might be easily wounded emotionally.

Must-Read.

Naj
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A great inspiring book about the highs and lows of having a child with an exceptionality. Great read and great story.
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